Head first into grit
Nearing the end my ride, I veer off into the berms for a little practice before finishing up. I focus on outside foot pressure as I rail some turns and pickup speed. My mind is a little hung up on technique and not focused on the trail conditions…
Before I could correct, my front tire washes out in the loose gravel and I get ejected over the bars. CRACK! Direct impact on my shoulder! “That didn’t sound good.” I said to Kula who was frantically racing around me as I lay on the trail. Jumping to my feet, I wheel my bike one-handed down the last few turns—I knew I needed to get down the trail before the adrenaline wore off. Fortunately I came upon a guy who offered to load my bike on the car for me. “Do you want me to call an ambulance?” he asked. “No, that’ll be $80 bucks! I’ll call a friend thanks.”
As usual, my best buddy Andi came to my rescue. After we waited around in the Squamish ER for a few hours, I was finally sent for X-rays. “What do you see?”, I ask the technician. “I’m not supposed to tell you.” he replies. “C’mon, can you just give me a smile or a frown?.”—blank stare—I guess he didn’t find me very humerus…
Ready, Set, Mindset
“You fractured the top of your humerus, and likely a rib too.” Damn. 6 weeks.
When injury has put me on the sidelines, things shift into a mental game. Fortunately, you get a little better at the game each time. And you begin to accept that no matter how careful you are, risk is just part of going after what you love—you have to be at peace with it.
When you fall, you have to get right back up, dust yourself off, and choose not to quit. Whether it’s an injury, illness, career setback or heartbreak, it’s hard to beat someone who refuses to give up.
Lose the chip on your shoulder
When you’re injured, your mental energy needs to focus on healing and rehabbing. Don’t walk around with a chip on your shoulder; anger wastes your precious energy and resources, and serves no purpose. If you’re stressed, that’s going to impact bloodflow to your injury. And when you’re injured, you need bloodflow to promote recovery.
If you believe you will get better, eventually, you will. Don’t ever give up. It is easy to become disheartened and imagine that the injury will never heal. Stop making excuses, blaming, and drowning yourself in a tub of ice cream—just get busy getting better.
I’ve had my share of low moments…it sucks big time when you live by yourself and you realize you can’t tie your shoelaces, drive your car, open a jar, or get an elastic in your hair, but you have to just breathe—and make a plan B.
Mind over matter
Forget problems that are unsolvable and turn your attention to problems that you can solve. Think creatively and adapt to your temporary new normal. Wear slip-on shoes, drive your car one-handed, wear a hat—you’re a badass!
Sports psychologists say the mind needs to be tricked into thinking that the body is healthy. You’re going to be frustrated that your mobility is hindered while injured, but you need to shift your focus. If you’ve injured your wrist or shoulder, there is no reason why the lower body can’t be trained. When you shift your focus, you’re not dwelling on the injured body part, thus it doesn’t occupy a larger space in the cognitive brain—we often underestimate how much pain is in the mind, not in the body…
I’ve also found it helps to continuously conquer little challenges. Little wins such as eating a nutrient-dense body healing meal, learning to chop with one hand, taking a long hike, doing rehabilitation exercises, and setting goals for the day, will give you spikes in dopamine that have a positive effect on your mindset.
Get some support
Getting support from your tribe is essential for recovery and staving off depression. Whether your friend has four legs or two, there’s no shame in leaning on a friend. I’m so grateful for Kula, she makes every day better, and so I feel better…
I also have to thank Andi, who’s rescued me on more than one occasion. She’s been my biggest Zesty fan, adopted me into her family when I confessed that I had no one to turn to; she high-fived me for each personal success, was always there when I needed a hug, sat with me in the dark moments, rehabilitated my injuries with Pilates (and laughs!), and I am so lucky to have met her. She is a truly generous, sweet, compassionate, zesty human being!
Roll with it
It’s only been six days since I crashed… and I’ve definitely experienced some bouts of sadness and frustration, but I’m focusing on riding it out as best I can. Through all the ups and downs in my life, my setbacks have made me much stronger than if I hadn’t had any obstacles. Adversity really makes you appreciate everything you have…and so I can find some gratitude in that.
Don’t rush it
Letting your body repair is going to take as long as it takes. If you rush it, you can become re-injured.
Get lots of sleep
Human Growth Hormone, essential for wound healing, is released into your bloodstream during sleep.
Eat plenty of healthy foods & hydrate!
Veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes and ancient grains will give you the vital nutrients for wound healing.
Magnesium is essential for the proper growth and maintenance of bones, as well as the functioning of nerves and muscles.
Work with a physio
They can provide you with the step-by-step program you need to get back in action asap.
Destress in nature
Nature helps you heal, feel less anxious, experience less pain, and have more energy.
Many athletes have faced injuries and bounced back stronger than ever. Find podcasts and videos on recovery and mindset.
When you’re injured you might not be taking in enough deep breaths. Oxygen will help encourage healing, relaxation, and open up tight muscles.