The moment I fell last week I knew I was injured seriously. The next moment my thought was "this means World Cup is out". The only tears I've shed the past week were about World Cup. The physical pain is nothing compared to the emotional pain of loss. My amazing coach, Lynda Wallenfels stated it perfectly for me: "People grieve about a loss. Athletes grieve about the loss of a chance to compete as that is something they care strongly about. Going through the grieving process (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) when you have a setback it 100% normal for an athlete."
I have moments when I'm grateful that my injuries aren't any worse than they are. There are an infinite number of other things that could have happened in a crash. There are an infinite number of things and life events that are harder than a professional athlete sitting out for a few weeks. I recognize that. I don't want to downplay any one else's challenges or losses.
This is just my challenge and my lost dream. Last week it seemed insurmountable. With the loss of mobility and exercise I also lost my ability to release endorphins. The endorphins released with exercise and especially released while racing feel great, I dare say I'm addicted to them. Without them, I feel dark and depressed and hopeless. My body is trying to figure out what happened to all of those happy hormones that were being released daily.
I must admit, I'm feeling much better today. Every day I feel better and my mobility improves. I can bend down and pick up light things. I can twist a little. I'm driving again too! I sneezed yesterday for the first time, that was a mistake, I'm still another week out for a sneeze or cough.
So all of that being said, I'm working on my mental state. Gene Hamilton, my skills coach from Better Ride sent me an inspirational email while I was still in the hospital, "If you use this time wisely it will turn out to be a blessing in disguise" then he proceeded to give me some mental imagery practices to start using. He told me about Downhill master Fabien Barel and his many amazing recovery's from epic crashes. Fabien started imagery and therapy right after his tib/fib fracture then 3 months later medaled at a World Championship. Gene also wrote a great article after breaking his pelvis while riding: "Coming back from an injury".
I've had so many friends and family and people I've never met that have reached out with emails, phone calls, texts, flowers and even a care package with biking movies! It's made me realize how many people care for me and the amazing support system I have around me. It's also inspired me to reach out to others when they get injured. I didn't realize how nice it is to get a quick email of concern. Thank you so much to each and ever one of you and your support.
The best part about this is that I'll be on the road bike in a bit and rallying my mountain bike in less than 5 weeks now. That means fun blog posts about rides and races are on the horizon. Just a wee bit a patience on my part! This may also mean that I'm hitting the first World Cup in 2013, even if it's South Africa or France.