guest post by Sheri Ward
I ran out of gas this week.
The energy and passion that had been fuelling my journey since January toward my first triathlon drained out of my gas tank. I was running on empty.
A couple of days ago I went to my sports doctor for the results of a bone scan I’d had. The office had called that morning saying he needed to see me that day, so I wasn’t expecting good news. The results showed a stress fracture in my ankle. The cause? Increasing my running mileage too quickly and my fairly serious osteoporosis. My physio’s previous diagnosis of a tight soleus ad gastrocnemius was totally off the mark. I’ve been trying to power walk through the pain, when what was really needed was to rest my ankle, put my feet up more often, and avoid high impact activities, such as running.
At first, I wasn’t too discouraged by this diagnosis. After all, I am still able to swim and ride my beloved bike without any pain. But yesterday, the discouragement crept in with a vengeance, affecting my passion and enthusiasm. Those voices told me, “You might as well give up!”, “What’s the point, it’s too hard”, and “What on earth were you thinking?”
I’ve struggled off and on with depression over the years. I know myself well enough by now to realize that physical activity is one of the best antidotes for sadness. But I was really struggling with this one. Maybe I needed to give in this time. Maybe I needed to let my body and spirit rest for awhile. Stop fighting it. Take an unscheduled rest day or two. Use the time to catch up on a bit of gardening.
So that’s exactly what I did. Well, mostly. I spent some time tending my garden, and in the evening, went on my first ever group ride with a wonderful bunch of women—the Velodonnas—who warmly welcomed me into their club. It was a glorious spring evening, sprinkled with laughter and chatter as we rode.
Spending solitary time in my garden was the beginning of my refuelling. A new experience with new friends who share my love of cycling filled my tank. I still need to give my foot lots of TLC, but I feel encouraged and enthusiastic once again. I’m ready to roll!