The Injured Athlete

Injuries. Sometimes it seems like we are plagued with them Unavoidable? Sure, just don’t do anything. We are engaged in more than merely running, biking and swimming. We do it for more than just “fitness”.  For most of us, it is an expression of our desire to extend our limits. To go where we think we could go but did not know until we tried. The alternative is not to try, not to endeavor to extend our boundaries.  If you think about it, the only way you truly know your limits is to go beyond them. Then, and only then, do you know what your limits are. Those limits, of course, are for a moment in time. It is a moving target.

And once you have stepped over the limit, it’s another test of your mental toughness.
Limits change with conditioning (mental and physical) learning and preparation or lack thereof. If you accomplish something it proves that it is/was within your limits. Whether that something is going faster, further or achieving a promotion at work, in fact, you achieve only what you are capable of. How hard it was to achieve is irrelevant. If you did it, then it was within your capabilities. Again, only by going beyond that and failing or getting injured or dropping out of a race do you learn what you are truly capable of. There is no such thing in human endeavor as more than 100%. 100% is everything. Math taught us that. You can only give what you got. If you somehow give more, then you were never giving ALL that you had in the first place. You, in fact, were giving less than 100%.

So, to my point, though we never want to encourage injuries and failures, we do want to test limits. When we are injured or we fail at something, it is easy to feel down. It is easy to say, “why am I doing this” or “why try” or “I give up” or “why me”.  The fact is, we should celebrate something that so many others cannot relate to: our injuries, failures, and “did not finishes” (DNFs) are cause for a celebration of effort. You put it on the line. You tested your limits. I suggest, we celebrate and prepare ourselves both mind and body to do it all over again… even better next time.

In retrospect, I have had many opportunities to celebrate and wouldn’t have it any other way. How about you? By the way, you also do have a choice if you never want any more injuries, or never fail or never drop out: just don’t do anything. For me, I’m coming back! I’m always coming back!

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