Make a Comeback

Wednesday, November 11, 2015 by Coach Denise

I have appointed myself the queen of the comeback. I’ve had more injuries than I can even count. I’ve had broken bones and expensive pieces of metal put in my back. I’ve had surgery and even cutting-edge treatments where they took bone marrow from my hip, extracted the stem cells and stuck them into my shoulder. After each one of these things, I had to get back to training after weeks and sometimes months of being stuck on the sidelines recovering from my latest injury. Now most people would think that this is a bad thing, to get injured and sidelined and have to start over. Not me. I consider myself very fortunate because I am able to make a comeback. Other people aren’t.

Now don’t get me wrong, it isn’t all hearts and unicorns. I have had many pity parties where I felt sorry for myself for not being able to do the races and competitions that my friends are doing. It sucks to have to watch instead of being able to participate. It also really sucks to have to explain why you aren’t out there like everyone else. Especially when you’ve had back-to-back injuries. Nothing like people saying “You’re injured again?”. As if being injured again isn’t enough punishment, you are forced to explain yet another injury to someone who might almost be as tired of hearing about your injuries as you are explaining them.

Here’s the thing. You really only have two viable options when you are in this situation – start back again or give up. Now the option to give up looks really attractive when you compare it to the hours of training that you are going to have to do just to get back to the level of fitness that you were prior to getting injured. Even more enticing is that no one would really blame you for giving up and you have a built in excuse.

At this point, you are probably thinking that just giving up is the best option; however, despite the challenges, it is worth it to start again. Trust me when I tell you that I’ve contemplated giving up on more than one occasion. Or even to take the suggestion that people love to give me – maybe you should take up less aggressive activities. What I’ve figured out after many hours considering just hanging up the towel is one simple truth – every day when I looked at myself in the mirror, I would know that I gave up. Even though I could have gotten back out there, I decided that it would just be easier to stay home with my excuses instead of putting myself out there again.

A lot of the athletes that I coach face much greater challenges than I even have and yet they find the strength to continue to follow their dreams. How could I possibly look them in the eye if I just gave up? Yeah, maybe I won’t beat my half marathon PR or be as strong and fast as I once was. But I will get back out there and do what I can – because I can.

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