So, I have officially been rehabbing my lateral meniscus tear for 8 weeks now. It is my first long-term injury in my career (broken elbow in 6th grade doesn’t really count) which is sort of amazing when you look at the amount of basketball/soccer/power-tumbling/whatever I have played in my life. Needless to say, I have been pretty lucky.
Because of my lucky streak, this whole process has been a learning one. Over the course of my rehab, some recurring themes and frustrations have popped up.
Without further adieu, here are 8 things I have learned from being injured:
- It sucks. I’m sure it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out. No one likes to be injured, but until I was, I really didn’t realize how much it does suck.
- It’s hard. Sometimes during my least favorite drills in college, I would look injured teammates sitting on the sidelines taking stats and be a little envious. How nice it must have been to watch us suffer as they kept time. Boy, was I wrong. This is a different, much worse kind of suffering. I would trade with any uninjured person running suicides any day!
- Patience is a virtue. The body is an amazing thing, capable of repairing itself in most situations (except for cartilage injuries (-__-) just my luck). However, that repair takes time. Sometimes, a long time. Being who I am, I have an intrinsic need to push the limits. Taking it slow with rehab has been one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Especially, as I am not really known for my patience.
- Discipline is a must. This one sort of goes hand in hand with the previous point. Few things in my life have required the discipline that properly recovering from this injury, without surgery, has. I have been lucky to avoid any major injuries previously in my career. It takes definite discipline to get my butt to the gym every day to do mundane rehab exercises when all I want to do is get back on the court….like yesterday. Patience and discipline. Rough combo.
- Eyes on the prize. Each time I catch myself considering pushing a little bit further than I know I should, I remind myself how long it has taken me to get to the point I am. This usually helps talk me off the ledge. I will admit as I have gotten stronger (and been out longer) this is getting harder and harder to fight.
- Progress is progress, even if it is slow. Today, I ran for the first time in 2 months. How fast and how far? 1 min at 9k/hr pace, 1 min walking. I repeated that 8 times for a total of 16 minutes. Just to put it in perspective, this time last year I ran about a 42 min 10k, which is about 6:45/mile. When I think about it like that, it’s mildly depressing, but the fact that I was able to run pain free today trumps that by a long shot. At the end of the day, it is progress, and I am happy about that.
- Listen to your body. I haven’t always been the best about this in the past. I have always considered myself pretty tough, and with that comes the need to push through, even if it hurts a bit. Thankfully, this hasn’t led to anything injury-wise in the past, but now, it could set me back in my recovery. That is a risk I am not willing to take. As I ease back into running and eventually playing, it is vital that I listen to my body as I add back activities.
- You find out what you love. While I have always sort of known what activities I really enjoy, not being able to do some of them has only increased my love for them. The two biggies that I am not allowed to do at the moment are run and play basketball. Both of which, I never realized how much I would miss. If anything, it confirms that I am not ready to hang up that basketball shoes (something I had already figured out earlier in the year). That being said, I also rediscovered my love for strength. I took the 100 pushup challenge about 6 weeks ago. At the time, I could barely do 20 pushups in a row. Now, I can bang out upwards of 75 in a row. My strength training has certainly taken a backseat this past year, but this injury has reminded me of its importance, which could be a blessing in disguise.
I’m sure my learning will continue as my journey back to the court continues.
Until next time, keep on keepin’ on!