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Injury and the Power of Frustration

by Peter Shankman
Tue, 22 Jan 2008 at 1:22 AM

Define "irony."

For me, irony is being a marathon runner, a triathlete, a licensed skydiver, a daredevil, a risk-taker and never (knock on wood) getting badly injured, other than the occasional sprained ankle.

Inadvertently cracking a rib by slamming into a closing F train door that's irony.

So I sit here with a fully fractured rib, absolutely unable to run outside for the next two weeks.

You've NO idea how this pisses me off.

How do you work out when every deep breath causes you pain? How do you do what keeps you sane, while going insane knowing you're not allowed to do it?

For me, the answer lies in slow, deliberate movements. Slow squats can be done without causing too much pain. Twenty of those are a really good workout.

Same thing with calf extensions, lunges anything that can done slowly and deliberately.

See, I know me If I get out of training for even a few days, I wind up getting fatter and depressed, and then this leads to a cycle. Last time that cycle hit, 10 years ago, I gained 75 pounds in a year and was miserable. It took close to two years to lose that weight and it was a horrible, horrible experience.

I promised myself I'd never let that happen. So, I'm not. I'm doing lunges. And I'm doing squats. And I'm stretching. And I'm eating Advil like it was candy.

Telling a sub-four-hour marathoner that he's not allowed to run for three weeks is the same as taking a dog and saying, "Don't pant." It's impossible, and frustrates the hell out of both you and the dog.

I sit here, as frustrated as a non-panting French poodle.

So perhaps the irony is this: When you're injured by something that only heals with time, frustration becomes your greatest ally in the whole world.

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