Having been watching a bit of golf recently and witnessing the likes of Tiger still suffering as he continues his recovery from his back problems I thought I would share my own experiences of injury from this year which has certainly changed my plans for the year. And the thing is regardless of how active or sedate your life is, injury is one of those things where it can just happen, sometimes it can be preventable and sometimes not. Either way it can have all sorts of different impacts.
Unfortunately back in February I picked one up, I was in the gym doing some squats and felt something suddenly become a bit uncomfortable. In my wisdom I thought it was just a bit of tightness and that it would be eased off by one more set at a lower weight. The answer to this question was very quickly answered with a resounding no. I had to rack the bar quickly and hobble off to the stretching mat, a lot earlier than expected and certainly not in the same mood that I had entered the gym.
My initial thoughts were I had pulled a muscle, as I had a running event coming up I quickly booked in to have a sports massage. It soon became apparent that this wasn't going to do the trick as after a couple of sessions and some stretching my conditioned worsened. I woke in the morning and virtually had to crawl out of bed, whilst putting on my socks felt more like a pensioner.
After the first couple of sessions I wanted to know which activities I could get back into hoping to be told anything. After going through a short list of some of the activities I had been doing he interrupted that I could do anything as long as it didn't hurt. Which turned out to be swimming only, cycling was out as was my running. For the first couple of months I kept thinking I could get back in time for the events that I had planned through the year. It slowly dawned on me though as training time was reducing from months to weeks and then days that the risk of re-injury became too much and that they would have to be binned as the list of incomplete's grew.
Despite the setbacks it hasn't been all doom and gloom, I hunted down new activities to keep me busy. Doing more photography, making a coffee table, improving my swimming and as I recuperated some more stand up paddle boarding.
Now a few months of physio, MRI scans, acupuncture, a few other treatments and I'm beginning to get back to running and cycling which have certainly taken on a new kind of joy and freedom of being out and about. I have "eased" myself back in with kayaking, climbing and cycling to and from work each day. Overall it taught me a lot in terms of ensuring I tackle weaknesses and really start focussing on good technique rather than just lifting the weight, running the distance or something similar. Regardless I can now start eyeing up some events to do later in the year.
So I guess the overall lesson is that setbacks can take many shapes, forms and sizes but it is how we handle them afterwards, taking them in our stride that really matters and makes the difference. Some say it makes us strong but I think it is more the knowledge that it gives you that provides you with more strength. If you would like to share your own experiences of coming back from injury then let me know.