Learning to Let Go

"Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be"

This couldn't have popped into my life at a better moment.  Scrolling through Instagram this morning, I found this quote on my friends recent photo.  The funny thing was, I already started this blog post over the weekend, regarding this exact same thing.  I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and this my friends, speaks to me at the perfect time of my life.

When in your life have you been given the green light to do nothing for longer than 1 day?

Think about it. 

It doesn't happen often...if at all.  

My favorite at home recovery tools + some of my PT (at the time of the photo)

My favorite at home recovery tools + some of my PT (at the time of the photo)

Hip surgery isn't easy.  When I was given the green light to do nothing, it shifted my attitude towards daily life.  Things slowed down and everything took 3x longer to get done.  I'm not one to sit, especially at home, there are always chores to be done, but this, I let go.  I brushed my OCD aside, when the house was dirty, I didn't cringe, I threw out my twitching itchy legs that want to be active, and I let it all go.  I waved goodbye to my all star fitness, I watched my leg atrophy, without getting TOO sad, I holed myself in our guest room and I hid from the world.  My exercise became 6 hours in a CPM machine a day, and maybe a crutch walk to the mail box 2 driveways away from the house.  I had nearly 1 year to 100% completely mentally give into surgery.  I prepared myself for the worst (or what I believed would be the worst from what I heard from others), I accepted it, my body accepted it, and together we worked hard to heal as quickly as possible, while I watched my friends rip their mountain bikes down trails in the torrential rains, wishing I was out there splashing around.  

When you're slow enough to ride bikes with your Dad.

When you're slow enough to ride bikes with your Dad.

For years I've struggled with the social media aspect of being a professional athlete.  Watching other athletes train, seeing their posts, their rides, priding themselves on how they nailed their interval workout for the day, or gloating on about the X mile ride they did and how their base training is amazing.  It get's you wondering "am I doing enough" "maybe I need to do what they're doing" "I'm not good enough".  With age, experience, and a shift in mental attitude I've been able to stray away from these thoughts and pressure the past year or so.  I knew surgery and the lack of ability to train would be a mental struggle, I knew it would be hard to see my fellow competitors out there getting back to their training and prep for the upcoming season, because the training (whether intervals, base training, or rest) is always happening.  My mental attitude shifted, I let go of my jealousy, my guilt, my desire to be there.  I told myself "this is where I'm at, I can't change it, this is what I can do".  I've learned in this process the only person that matters when it comes to training, is me.  This is my personal body, I'm not you, you're not me.  I can't do what you're doing, but I can do what I'm doing, and with that, I accept it.  I've learned to be grateful for the 60 minutes of riding outside I'm given, and cherish it.  I've learned the vast differences there are between my left side and the right side of my body.  I've learned I'm far more mentally tough than I ever knew.  I'm learning my body is capable of more than I gave it credit for, my body is my temple, and I've learned to treat it as such.  

I do love my BOSU!!!  Cheating one day to see if I could balance one 1 leg on the BOSU.  Turns out, I could!

I do love my BOSU!!!  Cheating one day to see if I could balance one 1 leg on the BOSU.  Turns out, I could!

Prior to surgery I thought to myself that by March I could probably hop on the trainer and get training again.  4 weeks came, and I scoffed at that thought, I was just happy when my hip would catch only 1x on my trainer rides!  I told myself the light at the end of the tunnel would be 8 weeks when my surgeon let me ride outside.  I would be able to start training then, thinking he gave me 1 hour to ride in March, then come April I could ride for 2 hours.  8 weeks arrived, and I was given another slap across the face, when I was told I could only ride for 1 hour outside until 12 weeks, and had to start at 30 minutes.  I was in for a rude awakening during my first outside ride when, in fact, my surgeon was correct, it IS different riding outside.  I accepted it, my drive to train is chomping at the bits and I can't wait to go hard on the bike again, but sometimes there are more important things than getting back to training.  At this 8 week point in my recovery, I realized I truly did need to throw out my desire to train hard, I needed to give into my lack of fitness, and just let it be.  Let my body tell me when it was ready.  

As I approach 12 weeks post op, I've realized how much my mental attitude has shifted towards training, towards rehab, and this whole process.  I've learned you can't hold onto the past, you can't hold onto what was, that's done and gone, that me, is written in history.  Instead of dwelling on how unfit I currently am, how my hip is taking forever to heal (because that's the nature of a labral repair), I'm working on the aspects of my life I can control.  This surgery has literally forced me to take 2 steps back, to re-evaluate where my body is, not just my hip, but my entire body, head to toe.  I've been pushing my body for nearly half my life, and as I look back at that time, I realize I've never given my body the physical and mental break it needs.  I'm looking at my time away from hard training as an opportunity for a complete reset for my body, both physiologically and biomechaniclly.  Physiologically my body is getting a rest it's never received in a few years, seriously, 3-4 months with basically NO training.  If you don't call that a reset (or detraining ;-) ), I don't know what it is!  Biomechanically, I'm focusing on everything that I know is wrong with me.  I know my posture sucks (lots of low back pain), I've focused extremely hard on my posture, static and walking.  I get a lot of back pain associated with my lack of thoracic rotation and mobility (thank you bike riding), so I'm doing daily exercises to improve it (mobility and also foam rolling exercises).  My scapulas wing, so I'm working on exercises to help with shoulder stabilization, and that's on top of all my rehab for my hip.  

I feel in life, sometimes you need to go backwards in order to keep progressing forward.  Maybe I'm not where I want to be on the bike at this point or where I have been in years past, and I've had a lot of people ask if I'm happy I went through with surgery.  I can't say yes or no at this point, but I'm trusting the process of getting me there, getting me exactly where I want to be before my CX season starts.  I'm trusting that every day of PT, every effort I put forth to heal and rehab is an effort in the right direction.  I trust that I will and can be right where I need to be when the time is right.  

I spent 4 days in Monterey at Sea Otter connecting with sponsors and friends.  It was a great test for the hip to see what it could handle.  The hip did better than I anticipated, but the trip was 1 day too long for the hip.

I spent 4 days in Monterey at Sea Otter connecting with sponsors and friends.  It was a great test for the hip to see what it could handle.  The hip did better than I anticipated, but the trip was 1 day too long for the hip.

Catching up with great friends was the highlight of my trip to Monterey.

Catching up with great friends was the highlight of my trip to Monterey.

The following weekend after Monterey, Chris and I spent the weekend on the Washington Coast with his family.  Of course I brought my bike to get my daily 60 minute ride in, and soak up the different views of the Washington Coast compared to the California Coast.  

The following weekend after Monterey, Chris and I spent the weekend on the Washington Coast with his family.  Of course I brought my bike to get my daily 60 minute ride in, and soak up the different views of the Washington Coast compared to the California Coast.