Dealing with Physical Adversity

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Over the course of my 49 years of life and about 40 of those as an athlete I have dislocated my right shoulder 16 times, my left shoulder 8 times, broken my leg, dislocated my right knee among many other injuries. I’ve also had tons of close calls – like violently crashing on a bike at 40 mph in the middle of a sprint or being sat on by a killer whale underwater or blacking out underwater during a hypoxic swim. I’ve always come back, so much so that part of my identity is that at a deep down cellular level I feel that I am blessed.

Last night I got injured in my newest pursuit, a martial art called Aikido. I’m a 2 year practioner and I was working with a much more advanced student – he zigged, I zagged and viola I’m injured. And yes it hurt like hell and it sucks and all the other things you can think of, I learned some things.

My dad had a stroke 3 years ago. I didn’t know what a stroke was but I learned REAL FAST how it impacts a person. Seeing my dad going from normal “pops” to a physcially disabled, broken man who lost the ability to use his right arm and leg really affected me. In fact it was a mind**ck. During his recovery process I thought he should have been stronger (I hate even admitting this but it’s true). Until I realized one day that for 3 years he’d battled his physical condition, adapted and managed to keep his spirits up. Super admirable.
So I learned this: when injured, use your mind to your advantage, suck it up and deal with it. Someone is watching and learning how to also deal with adversity.

My buddy, we’ll call him B, is part of a special missions unit in the armed forces. I got a message from his wife that he got shot and found out later it was in his arm. He called from somewhere and we talked for a while and he didn’t sound like he was injured at all. Apparently he was flying high on pain killers. He had multiple surgeries and I heard stories of him screaming in his sleep because of the pain. His little daughter wanted him to pick her up once and he hestitated because his other daughter was in his good arm. I picked her up and put her in the crook of his messed up arm. One day I asked him if there was even a little part of him that doubted if he would come back. He laughed and said, “…no doubt I’ll be back. There is zero doubt…”
So I learned this: when injured, use your mind to your advantage, suck it up and deal with it. Someone is watching and learning how to also deal with adversity.

Once when I was still racing “back in the day” a rider took my inside line on a group ride. She crashed me and herself, destroyed a pair of Mavic Open 40’s and put me on the bench for 8 weeks before I could return. In the van riding home all I could think of was “…your lack of control and risk management cost me time and money…”
So I learned this: when injured, use your mind to your advantage, suck it up and deal with it. Someone is watching and learning how to also deal with adversity.

Last night I admit I was scared. And tight. And in tons of pain. I remembered to use my mind to my advantage – it is no ones fault that I got hurt. Sometimes we want to blame someone else for something and sometimes it is the fault of others but after the deed is done, it’s back on us. Just like a game of chess: you have the pieces you have, next step is move the pieces you have. Wishing for different pieces makes no difference, it is what it is, just suck it up and deal with it. This morning after the xray and the first treatment (and navigating that hellish pain) I feel better. I know what’s wrong and with Kim’s help created a training plan so I won’t lose my fitness as my hip heals. I used my mind to my advantage.

Last night Asie (my son) told Kim he wanted to stay home from school today, to take care of me. This morning he and I talked and he asked if I needed him to stay home and help me. I told him, I was ok and would let him know later. I realized he was watching me and how to deal with adversity. He also pointed out to me that I said the F word and that I need to watch my language!

Moral of the story:  when injured, use your mind to your advantage, suck it up and deal with it. Someone is watching and learning how to also deal with adversity.

If you have any thoughts on dealing with physcial adversity, let me know.  I need all the help I can get.

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