When we were in Monterey a few weeks back, we took full advantage of their amazing maintained biking/running paths. Many of these paths keep runners, bikers, and walkers well away from traffic, but there are points where we have to cross roads to continue on the path. Luckily, where exercisers and traffic intersect, they have placed clearly marked pedestrian crosswalks. Unluckily, we could not believe the number of vehicles that did not stop for us and some even came to a dead stop right in the middle of the crosswalk blocking us from passing. Incredibly, Sean and I even witnessed one couple actually doing a three-point turn through the crosswalk (yes, a three-point turn). My point is that even on man-made exercise paths, you still need to be careful and watch for others that are not as cautious.
The day after we arrived home from our Monterey trip, I decided to do a 7 mile-run through the back roads of Murrieta. Usually I have at least one running buddy with me, but since this was an unplanned trip I was running solo. On these rare occasions Sean will ride his bike back and forth along the same route to keep me safe. He has played my protector on quite a few trips before this one without incidence. On this day, as he made a turn to backtrack and check on me, he hit a wet spot on the road, his bike slid out from under him, and he slammed against the street breaking his shoulder. He wasn't being careless...it is just that you can never be too careful when it comes to riding your bike on the road. Now poor Sean is spending his summer, one of the hottest in years, with his right arm pressed against abdomen in a huge sling.
Now I must admit that while I was sympathetic with his new injured state, there was some teasing on my part about his clumsiness and that fact that I might need to trade him in for a new model. I should have remembered that karma is a bitch. Barely over a week later I was doing some hill training in Lake Elsinore with my running friends. We were running up the massive Tuscany Hills incline, turning at the top, and then running to one of the highest points above Canyon Lake. We then ran back down only to begin the whole process again. Ironically, I had made it up and down two times and got about 5 feet from the bottom when I turned my attention away from the ground to switch off my running app that was calculating my mileage. It was then that karma and deja vu collided and my right foot once again stepped directly on a rock, and I felt the side of my foot touch the ground-- just like my 9-mile run injury. I was lucky to have Emily there, and she instructed me on the stretching, icing, elevation routine that I feel kept the impact of this injury to a minimum. While I will lose a few days of training, it was not nearly as severe an injury as last time. Despite this good fortune, I should have been more careful.
Injuries are a fact of life when you are training, but you need to be careful not to let these little setbacks get you down mentally nor set you back physically. This is not the time to wallow in the injury and let the situation push you to throwing out your healthy eating or becoming a couch potato. In the past I would have quit exercising in frustration, chalking it up to yet another failure in my attempts to get healthy. Now I just find other ways to move. If I can't run, I usually substitute swimming or biking. If even this is too much, then I will lift dumbbells or use an exercise ball to do planks, sit ups, etc. I remember years ago at a Weight Watcher meeting someone shared that they actually sat in front of their exercise bike and moved the pedals around and around with their hands to keep themselves moving. Sean has actually been doing moves like lunges and squats to keep himself in shape while his shoulder heals.
Now there are times when injuries require a person to completely rest. In these instances you need to be careful to follow doctor's orders in order to heal completely and not impede the healing process. Slowly work your way back, and you will be surprised at how quickly you will be able to recover your progress. Just be careful not to let your injury be an excuse for why you permanently quit moving altogether.
So be careful out there my friends--watch out for unobservant cars, keep your eyes on the terrain, and do not let unimportant distractions (like your music or iPod apps) keep you from being safe. And if you do happen to suffer an injury, be careful not to let it get you down--you have worked too hard to give up on your journey. Pick yourself up and point your feet back toward the road to a more flabulous you...you will be happy you did.