You know, I don’t ever think anyone truly has a perfectly paved life road on which to travel, though it sure seems like some people do at times… most often when your own road’s become inordinately bumpy. I just finished reading an article on American distance running all-star, Jorge Torres, and it’s kind of hard not to be able to relate at some time or another to his current sentiments. To what am I referring? The guy’s a professional marathoner who is preparing for the Olympic Marathon Trials on January 14 and is in his final cycles of training before the Big Dance. The biting twist of fate in this story? Jorge had a great half marathon performance in September at the Great North Run in London and then got hit from behind by a car and sustained major trauma to his right tibia and ankle’s tendons and ligaments. What outrageous, non professional runner activity was he engaged in? Nothing. He was being a nice guy and going to thank the Great North Run race director in Ireland. If that doesn’t just make your forehead get all squinchy and make you say, “Awwww, no way!” the you may very well be living without a heart. Jorge is now scrapping his 2012 Olympic marathon dreams and is focusing on a spring marathon.
This example of a professional athlete putting in the work, time, commitment and dedication it takes to be at the top of his or her sport only to have all efforts thwarted by a freak accident is really gut wrenching– especially if you’ve been there before. I’m not saying I’ve been run over by a car (well, actually I have been but I was on a bike and luckily sustained no physical injuries, just an ever-present fear of finding myself on the pavement looking up at a vehicle’s undercarriage while I try and pull myself and my mangled bike to relative safety) but I have certainly had a few freak accidents happen that were detrimental to my running and training.Most recently I had my little slip and fall accident that took me out of the game for quite a while (I’m doing much better now, thanks 🙂 Up to about 11-12 miles/day and feeling every bit as exhausted as someone who took that much time off would) and that was mega frustrating.
Also, another odd situation had me heading to the Michigan high school cross country championship meet and my neck got stuck with a mean tilt to the right side. I actually could not remove my own head from my own shoulder, which was hilarious to look at, but less hilarious to be dealing with the night before the season’s most important meet. Luckily that situation righted itself with a good night’s sleep and obscene amount of Olive Garden bread sticks. Minor crisis, but at the time it seemed like the end of the world.
I guess my point is that no matter how hard we distance runners may try to do everything right or have a semblance of control over our improvement, the Master Plan doesn’t account for or prepare you for what you don’t see coming. So how can you brace yourself? A level head and determination to recover as quickly as possible when life throws you that proverbial curve ball. This little nugget of wisdom is applicable in so very many situations outside of athletics, and it’s almost a comforting thought to know that the person you see strolling down that smoothly paved road in 4″ heels has likely had their own adversities to handle, they just chose to handle them with grace and re-group, much like Jorge.
Check out the article: