Thursday, March 17, 2011

Flexible Persistence: Finding New Ways to Reach Your Goal

I recently received a letter from one of my coaching students who dealt with an injury in an optimistic way. He explains in his letter how I inspired him to view his situation in a positive light, providing him with the opportunity to maintain his fitness in other ways than running:

I'm not sure if I ever thanked you for your patience and expertise in dealing with my injury a few months back but thank you. I can appreciate that what I dealt with wasn't serious as far as injuries go but typically in the past, if I encountered an injury (i.e. muscle strain or pull), I would rest (i.e. do almost nothing except rehab exercises), do some rehab (probably not as much as I should) and slowly work my way back to doing what I was doing when the injury occurred (months later I'm only getting back to where I started). However, in working with you it has changed my perception on how to deal with injuries (i.e. I may not be able to do "X" but I can still do "y") and I was able to maintain fitness and not waste months due to inactivity that normally accompanied them. I can honestly say I my fitness would be no where near what it is now if not for you. I realize that an injury while certainly an inconvenience to my goal(s) doesn't need to be an abandonment of those goals it just means I may need to change the path I take to get there. Your current situation (yet another perk of your situation – teaching others by leading from example) was also inspiring as it made me realize things could be much worse and despite your struggles with you foot you still spend each day finding ways to improve yourself and those around you and there's no reason I can't do the same.

I love that line: “I may not be able to do “X” but I can still do “Y.” It is something I have been telling myself since I broke my foot in Texas during Run Hope. We can always do something. We are never absolutely stuck. No impasse is insurmountable. There is always hope.

When I decided to run my tenth and final Badwater Ultramarathon over a year ago, I had no idea that my injury would slow me down to this degree. But, I try to make the best of my circumstances. I can’t run, so I walk. Today I did 2.5 miles and have done 1.5 hours of weights and core work. Progress is slow and steady. I may not be able to run just yet, but I am gaining strength in my foot and legs. I am working on other aspects of fitness, confident that I will be ready for Badwater when race day arrives.

Think about what obstacles are holding you back from achieving your goals? What can you do to overcome those obstacles? What alternative routes can you take to get to where you want to be? Sometimes, all it takes is a little creative thinking. Be persistent, but also learn to be flexible with your plans. Soon, you will reach the gold!

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