Wednesday, April 29, 2009
It Happens: Life
So what happens when something that is at the very core of your being and self-image gets turned upside down? How do you gather yourself up and carry on?
A few days ago, my little sister took a wrong step on a slippery wet field during one of her soccer games and blew out her knee. Surgery is inevitable and she is looking at months and months of physical therapy. For someone like me, this kind of injury would, well, suck. But I don't live my life around the amount of time I spend in my shinguards. I would have the surgery and do the exercises, but it would be for the health of it - not for the sake of my athletic career.
Kelly, on the other hand, is a star player who has a college scholarship awaiting her. She is merely weeks away from graduation and for her this is a huge blow. Kelly has been on the soccer field since she was four and as she has grown up I have seen just how much she relies on soccer to keep her straight. I can see that from the perspective of a lifelong runner who understands the discipline of training, pushing one's limits, and always working toward an unfinished goal. If Kelly is anything like me, she needs that daily grind of being out on the road (for her a field) working up a sweat. Running for me is my release and I know that soccer must be hers.
The upside to this whole situation is that her college has agreed to not drop her scholarship and to work with her to get her into the upcoming season. The sun has not gone down yet. Kelly is also a very healthy young girl who has more muscle and grit than most of us. Age and health are tremendous factors in recovery and she has both to her advantage. The only advice I could impart to her at this point would be; be patient.
While training for last year's marathon, I hit a huge obstacle with my own knee trouble. It wasn't near as bad as Kelly's, but it was still a major hitch in my training. Rick's aunt is a physical therapist and she quickly had me in a steady routine of stretching and strength-building exercises. They were tedious, grueling and very boring. I was going nuts not being able to hit the road and get in my training miles. It was weeks of nothing but exercises and cross-training on a bike and swimming. In the end, the physical therapy is what got me through the knee injury and back on the road. I finished my marathon and my knee held up the entire distance. So many times I wanted to give up and throw those exercise sheets out the window, but those are exactly what made my knees stronger.
Being patient won't come easy and there will be so many days you will want to give up, but hang in there Lou! You will make it through this.