Injuries and setbacks have been a part of my life since a young age. At 7 years old I broke my femur while rollerblading in PE and I ended up in traction for a month, a body cast for a month and on crutches for 6 weeks. From that point on I’ve always had what my family calls “femur fear.” This has often kept me from fully participating in any recreational sport. I would participate in almost any activity, but within my own mental limits. It was engrained in me that physical activity of any kind could lead to injury, which in turn holds you back from fully enjoying life.
As I have gotten older and become more physically active I have realized injuries are a part of the game. Obviously the whole point is to avoid injuries as much as possible, but that doesn’t always happen. Within the past year I have had quite a few injuries. I slammed my femur on a rock while mountain biking and now have a massive hematoma in my leg. I got glass stuck in the bottom of my foot and had to get it cut open. I have had my ribs broken and my most current injury is turf toe. I would have to say this is by far my worst injury. This is the one injury that scares me. When I tell people what my injury is the common reactions tend to be “huh?” from girls, because they don’t know too much about sports, and then the guys tend to cringe and tell me how they’d rather break bones than ever get turf toe.
Why does this one particular injury scare me the most though? Because it is a career ender for top athletes. Coaches hate hearing their star player has turf toe. Now, as I am beginning my Spartan lifestyle I have been handed over an injury that could potentially end my career right when it is starting. Trust me, I am not one to back down easily. When I slammed my femur on the rock last August, everyone told me I was crazy to even consider racing my half marathon 6 weeks later. I was showing up to the gym with crutches and pushing myself every day because I
wanted, no needed, to cross that finish line. Not only did I cross that finish line, but I ran the entire race and crushed my records. I was determined! I was being beat down by the enemy and so I fought. I fought like hell, and I am going to do that now. I currently have to wear a metal plate in my shoe to prevent a lot of movement, but that isn’t going to stop me. I have received permission from the doctor to run. I stressed to her how much this race meant to me and so she is going to help me get back out there. I have this dream for my future, and racing is a BIG part of it. A lot of people around me just tell me to give up. To sit myself down on a couch and prevent further injury, but I can’t do that. For 24 years of my life I lived an unhealthy, under active life and I refuse to place myself back there again. Injuries come and go, they are easy to fix, but health is something you only have one shot at and health to me includes racing.
There are other setbacks besides injuries. One of the things I have been struggling with is my weight loss. Prior to this year I had lost 65 pounds, but for some reason 2014 has gotten the best of me. I wasn’t motivated. I didn’t have my why clearly defined. However, over the past few months the Spartan races have changed my mindset completely. I have found my why. I have found a reason to continue to lose weight and get into shape. Since my last Spartan race up in Monterey I have been trying my damnedest to get back on track. This week I prepped all of my meals. I stuck to my daily workouts. I ate every 2-3 hours. I drank a ton of water. I stayed on track. This morning on my way to the gym I was feeling so excited to step on that scale and take my measurements. All week long I had been feeling energized, I wasn’t starving, I was back to my old motivational self. How could I not be feeling pumped to go to the gym? When Jason pulled out the scale and I stepped on it I was imagining the high-five I would receive for a job well done. Instead the scale read 144.0. Slowly I could feel my excitement slipping away. Next he took my measurements and with each one I could just feel the energy drain from me. The confidence I had left my every pore.
At the end of it all I had gained 4 pounds since June 4th, with a 2% body fat increase. How could this be? The tears came. The disappointment came. The feeling of letting myself down and letting all of those around me down. Internally I was calling myself a hypocrite, racking my brain around what had just happened; trying to find out what I had done wrong. Clearly none of this was adding up in my head. I have a feeling this has to do with the timing of my period as I have seen this type of jump before in my measurements, but any type of setback hurts regardless of the reasoning behind it. I still have no answer as to what happened, but it’s life and I have to move forward and leave this behind.
I wrote the above yesterday as a reminder of how many days left until each event I have this summer. This was meant to be motivation and to keep me on track. It still is, but with these two recent setbacks (turf toe and weight gain) I find it hard to believe I can accomplish anything. If there is one thing I have learned though, it’s that I can do anything I set my mind to. I’ve lost 65 pounds. I ran a half marathon 6 weeks after a mountain biking injury. I have made myself a stronger, healthier me and there isn’t going to be a single thing that gets in my way from becoming a life long Spartan. Things happen in life, but it’s how you allow those things to affect you that determines the outcome. I won’t let today’s weigh in or this injury prevent me from reaching for the stars. I will come out on top no matter how hard I have to push!
As my family would say:
“suck it up and be a Jessica.”
“You’re a Trapp.”
“No pain, no gain.”
“Pain is weakness leaving the body.”
“Pain is good. Extreme pain is extremely good!”