Carpenter: Injury leads to realization: I'm an athlete!

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I'm pretty sure that somewhere in these articles I stated I was not an athlete.

Up until recently, I never really thought of myself as an athlete.

I suppose we could Google it and find the definition of an athlete, "A person possessing the natural or acquired traits, such as strength, agility, and endurance that are necessary for physical exercise or sports."

Because the only thing I have done is run, I just didn't think that it classified me as athletic, let alone an athlete.

But this injury has forced me to do some changing. Change is hard. Change is scary. Change has been good. I found my inner athlete.

So the bad news is that my injury is not gone. In fact, over the last month, it got worse but is finally on the mend.

Unfortunately, that has meant NO running. As in zero, zilch, nada. This would be fine if I didn't have the biggest marathon of my life (so far) staring at me in less than a month.

The fact of the matter is that I have been forced to do other things.

And guess what. I like it! For the first time, I feel like an athlete.

I am now swimming a mile! Yes, the first time I was just happy to swim eight laps. I had to take breaks and I definitely spent most of my time trying not to drown or swallow half the water in the pool.

I accomplished a mile and it felt like crossing that finish line all over again.

I have met some incredible people at the pool and they have been so gracious in "schooling" me about technique.

I have a long way to go, but this is just another drop in my bucket.

I have also been biking and forcing my heart rate up. I never knew that biking could be such a workout. Ray and Dawna Douglas contacted me after reading about my injury and offered to show me the ropes. I have enjoyed my new mentors and friends. They push me and force me out of my comfort zone. It's a different type of workout but one that I am learning to embrace.

Again, I'm just a novice but I see lots of opportunities in my future!

I also purchased a few cheesy DVDs and have been doing strength workouts in the mornings. All this time I thought that running was the only form of exercise I needed. Boy was I wrong. Lesson learned.

This injury has not only forced physical changes in my lifestyle, but mental too. My support crew (family, friends, colleagues, doctors, and even strangers) has rallied and been so supportive and encouraging. There have been days where I seriously wondered how I was going to pull this off.

More surprising, though, and maybe nave on my part, was the small percentage of people who had the "I told you so" attitude or the "you shouldn't do it" attitude.

I even heard, "that's what you get for sharing your journey".

I quickly learned to dismiss those comments. I believe in myself. The important people in my life believe in me. I have no room for people who don't believe.

I think what I'm trying to say is; don't let anything get in the way of your goal. Try new things and don't limit yourself. Find your abilities and strengths. Don't let anyone talk you out of your goal.

Believe in you, no matter what the obstacle.

Because you know what? You CAN do anything!

I'm going to the Boston marathon.

I am not getting there the way that I thought I would… as a runner.

I'm going there as an athlete. …I think that is better.

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