The sultry month of July, slowly sweating by. Too much time to reflect on past mistakes and future turmoil. The momentum of the early year lost to endless obstacles and upheavals.

Just so, a serious injury seemingly stops time. As you stand still, the competition flies forward. And each day lasts two, three times as long, piling up time for you to ponder whatever the hell cursed your season this time.

This period follows those first agonizing weeks of wondering: “This has to be just a muscle strain.” “A day off and I’ll be fine.” “It’s not my turn. Surely somebody else deserves an injury more than I do.”

Then the inevitable misdiagnoses: “Ah, yes. That’s just your quad not firing correctly.” “Just walk normally. It’ll be fine with a couple days off – just probably a strain”

The eventual MRI almost inevitably shows something which, according to everyone “Could be worse.” Well, you know what? It could always be worse. It’s the fact that we’re unsatisfied with our current predicament that we’re driven to succeed, and this predicament is only worsened with injury.

But the nagging self-doubt! That is only redoubled with each new serious injury, each time you must go through the same process to return to full health. Each time, you are that much more acutely aware of just how difficult it will be to stay focused on the slow rehab, the months of exercises that can’t even be called training. You know how miserable each workout will feel, how badly it will hurt just to finish mile repeats slower than what used to be tempo pace.

But it’s not just the rehab that’s fearsome, it’s the sudden stab of fear during a hard workout once you’re supposedly “healthy”. The knowledge that it could happen all over again. The over analysis of past mistakes – “Where the hell had I really gone wrong? I improved my nutrition, was more cautious in training, always changed shoes on time. Will I be able to fix it this time around? What if I haven’t fixed things and I’m making a new mistake?”

That’s the problem with injuries. It’s not just one cause. Everything is associated with a myriad of mistakes that can seem so stupid in hindsight. “This time I was injured because of a bad shoe choice.” “This time I increased mileage too quickly” “Oh, I just fell off my bike” “I added too much intensity too quickly”

But worst are the injuries that seemingly have no cause, because those are unpreventable. Obviously we cannot cope with these unfathomable injuries, so we begin to over-analyze and attempt to sort through the mess of data accumulated prior to the injury.

But each injury and each rehab bring with them a more intense realization of just how badly you want success. How deeply you appreciate the races when the ground floats by and you know that you’re fulfilling your potential. Because for those of us who crave challenge and competition, nothing else captures that intense satisfaction of those moments of complete exhaustion and exaltation.

I’m finally in the process of finishing my rehab for a stress fracture in the neck of my femur. There’s still a ways to go, but over the course of this injury I’ve spent enough time over-thinking to make progress in areas that will improve my chances for consistency and, ultimately, success.

How it began: In late March, almost directly before my first scheduled race in South Africa, I was training surprisingly well. I was coming off a hill block and finished my first tempo thusly:

Inline image 1
It was about a week after this that, while descending on highland valley road, my rear tire exploded around this corner:
2014-08-15 21.15.51
Normally this an awesome descent. That day, not so much.
After taking a few days off running and gradually returning to training, the next week I ended up having a severe pain in my left hip. I had to stop in the middle of a run and walk home. After a long period of medical trial and error, I ended up with an MRI which diagnosed a stress fracture in the femoral neck.
During the first stage of my injury, when I was on crutches, I was extremely limited and had a million too many free hours in the day. I picked up some GMAT books and began studying, primarily so I wouldn’t wake up one morning and do this:
we-are-going-streaking
While I may not want to go down the business route in the next 5 years, studying kept my mind off the frustration of this injury. I ended up scoring a 780, which, at the very least, won’t keep me out of the top tier MBA programs. Like the one this guy went to:
 Since I performed well, I feel I’m obliged to offer some free business ideas: A fold away toilet desk, an alarm that sounds when you’ve left something on top of your car, an always negative pregnancy test, and a ‘slow-leaking’ bicycle tire. You’re welcome.
As part of my recovery, I’ve been working with the great nutritionist, Liz Broad, who is helping me develop a better eating plan going forward. On top of dietary changes, I found some pretty excellent calcium supplements which helped me heal quickly and will hopefully help maintain my bone health in the future.
I’m also speaking with Lindsay Thornton, who, after measuring my brain waves, is going to help me develop psycho-kinetic powers. That’s what a psychophysiologist does, right?
you_can_read_minds__by_getready777-d2xutne
Bobby McGee also looked over some videos of my running and pointed out some functional issues which I’m addressing during my rehab. I’ll be working with as many biomechanists as are willing to put their hands on me once I’m healthy. I’m trusting that Paulo and I will work through the data to determine what are the best improvements for me to make.
Kevin Pierce has been extremely active in helping me develop a rehab plan. My return to running has been very smooth and I am focused on making sure that it remains so.
2014-07-17 13.44.40
Rocking out with the Red Fox Edge on the ever indispensable Alter-G
Finally, Paulo and I are making precise changes to my training program. Some things will stay the same, but many things will change. My running will be designed to limit the impact on my body. Everything, however, will still be designed to make me a bad ass.
I wish the best to those of you suffering through injuries.
And now, for your inspirational quote of the day:
“Defeat is a state of mind, no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.  To me, defeat in anything is merely temporary, and its punishment is but an urge for me to exert greater effort to achieve my goal.  Defeat simply tells me that something is wrong in my doing; it is a path leading to success and truth.” Bruce Lee