Things were moving along. I was finally back on track with some training after an injury from late last fall, albeit it was very low key. I had been taking my time and slowly re-building, and starting to feel like myself again. It had been a while since I had felt that way; it seemed like months. Pain is exhausting, and I was finally getting my energy back.
I got up early to get in a long-ish run before going into work. It was cold and dark, so I figured I’d start in the neighborhood for safety reasons. It had snowed the night before, so there was a light dusting, but the streets were clear so that’s where I stayed.
I was checking the miles off, moving well, and feeling good. Each mile that passed, I felt a little lighter, a little happier. I decided to hop on a trail to switch over to another neighborhood. My pace was right where I wanted it to be, my cadence was steady.
I had a moment of extreme gratitude. I said a quick prayer of thanks that I was able to be out there, running, while a light snow was falling. Things looked beautiful and I felt grateful to be out there doing something that I love. I thought of all of the people I knew that were injured and rehabbing. I see athletes every day that struggle with injury, that can’t be back out there just yet, and are trying to be patient and do the right thing. I know how hard that is.
Most therapists will tell you that they played sports or dealt with injuries when they were younger. They have been there, they know how tough it can be. I had my share of injuries as a competitive swimmer, and had many seasons that ended too soon due to an ever present shoulder injury. But, like childbirth, we eventually forget the pain. We forget the frustration and how awful being sidelined can be.
Just as I felt that wave of thankfulness, it happened. I had begun a downhill, and I hit a patch of icy snow. It happened so fast, I couldn’t react. The next thing I knew, I was flat on my back. I felt my skull, my shoulder blades, and my tailbone hit the ground as my hat flew off of my head.
I was stunned, but didn’t lose consciousness, thank goodness. I quickly took inventory and slowly sat up to assess the situation. I couldn’t believe that I had hit the ground that hard and didn’t black out. As I stood up, I could feel the muscles in my back begin to lock up in protest. I quickly texted my husband; I didn’t think it was safe for me to continue to run.
Things were hazy after that. The pain was always present, mostly in my tailbone and thoracic spine. I slept, I woke up, and time passed.
Fast forward to today. Now that I am thinking clearly again and am able to do some activity again, I have more perspective on what happened that morning.
Things could have been so much worse. I am relieved that I am healthy, I am alive, and am sitting here right now and typing.
I am thankful for the reminder of how precious every moment is. It only takes a second to change a life forever.
I am thankful that I can once again “see” through the eyes of my patients. Getting hurt is never anyone’s plan. Obstacles come and go in our lives, and how we choose to respond is 100% up to us. I am using this as an opportunity to learn and to once again appreciate the body’s ability to heal. And to respect that process of healing.
Stay safe, friends.
Run happy, run long.
Amy is a trail runner and triathlete, a coach, a mother of four, an Exercise Physiologist and a Physical Therapist. She lives with her husband, Dan (also an ultramarathoner and triathlete), and kids in Ohio.