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Life After an Injury: I’m Baaack…and Better Than Ever

happy girl

Credit: pasotraspaso

Okay, so I may not be fully back from the ironic broken-bottomed running injury, but I’m leaps and bounds better than I was before. And I no longer have my sad pants on because I can run. I can really run! And at my own body weight outside, without the help of this amazing piece of technology!

Yes, through awesome treatments, twice-daily rear-strengthening exercises and the expertise of this man, I can now lunge and squat in moderation, and I’m up to running two to three miles a few times a week with little to no pain. Being “back,” is a huge relief. As I lamented in this “being injured sucks” post, I missed running and regular cardio workouts…BADLY. And while I tried to put a positive spin on the situation, I really did struggle with being on the sidelines for four months. My normal mode of dealing with stress was gone, and I had no runner’s high to lift me up after a hard day at work or after a stressful situation. Without working out, I was without my coping mechanisms.

So I struggled. Weight came on easily. I became more out of touch with my body. Intuitive eating seemed much, much harder. My massage therapist noticed that I wasn’t myself. Overall, I was just off. To remedy all of this I turned inward, somewhat logically and somewhat spiritually (I am a bit hippity-dippity, after all). I decided to take all of the free time I had (because I wasn’t working out or training nearly as much as before) and turn it into pure me time. I made it a point to meditate, not occasionally, but every night before bed. I decided to cut out mindless zone-out TV time and replace it with activities that made me feel good—writing free form in my journal, going on long, slow walks with my dog, reading a book for pleasure, trying out a new recipe. And I gave myself permission to just sit and be, something that I would rarely do pre-injury.

As I spent more time with me being purely myself, I started to ask myself some questions. Do the foods I eat really nourish me and make me feel my best? What is balance anyway (and how the hell do I get it)? Do my ambitions—fitness and career—sometimes get in the way of me really living? Yeah, some heavy stuff. And while I didn’t have the answers then (and still don’t totally have them now), I realized that while most people think I’m a total health-nut who only eats salad and is crazy for getting up early and working out, in many ways I’m still not always completely well. I work A LOT. I don’t always get my sleep. I can get stressed easily. I burn out often. I’m usually drained by the weekend. So while I may be “fit,” I’m not always well. Big difference.

women food godAfter catching an episode of Oprah that really resonated with me, I picked up the book Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything. Holy crap, it changed me. It should be a reading requirement for every woman, as it really helps you understand how past events and feelings in your life can limit you (even from a happy childhood!) and how you can overcome them. After finishing that book, I started treating myself in a whole new loving way, and I felt like I immediately lost 5 pounds of emotional baggage that had been holding me back. (Including the idea that I learned as a teenager that if I’m the people-pleasing, funny, in-shape yet not too buff or skinny girl, who is happy with everyone and everything always, I’ll be liked by everyone and never feel left out or ostracized or have mean, jealous things said about me—I’ll also rarely get a chance to be myself most of the time and look as good and as fit as I can.)

reduce stressSpiritual awakenings aside, I also started to better deal with my stress. A company called Prescription Audio contacted us and asked if we’d like to try one of their many downloads that use sound therapy to help people reduce stress, sleep better, lose weight and more. I happily downloaded their 24-minute “Chill” program, put it on my iPod and zoned the heck out. Actually, I went into such a state of relaxation that I think I fell asleep, but in such a restorative way. It was awesome. I highly recommend it for that long day when you just can’t seem to get yourself to relax. This will do it.

And I’ve been taking more time out to be with friends and family. I’m saying yes to the things I want to do. And no to the things I don’t want to do or just feel obligated to do. I’m going to bed earlier. I’m getting up before the sun rises. I’m enjoying every single sip of wine, but limiting myself to just two glasses on the weekends. I am in the process of being my best self. And I’m enjoying it all.

So, now that I’m on the mend, what has this injury really taught me? That you can’t just focus on one thing (for me: running) to feel good. You have to look at the whole picture. And your total well-being. I cursed my injury for a long time, but now I think it’s the best thing that could have ever happened to me. —Jenn

Want to try Prescription Audio’s Chill program yourself? Leave a comment within the next week, and we’ll select one random reader to win the CD. U.S. and Canada (expect the Province of Quebec due to regulations) residents only, please. The winner will be directly notified by email. Click here for official rules. G’luck!

And if you don’t win, don’t despair. Prescription Audio is giving all FBG readers worldwide 50 percent off all downloadable mp3 products on www.prescriptionaudio.com. Just enter the code “FitBottomed” at checkout. The coupon expires August 31, 2010.

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!