We all experience hard times. Times in life where things seem too difficult. Times where it seems like life is crashing down on you, or simply that a major or tragic event happens, leaving us asking, "Why me?"
A friend once taught me that if you ask "Why me?" when life serves up a plate of hard luck, you should always be asking the same question when thing are going really well. Why me? But rarely do we do this.
Last week I crashed my mountain bike. Not completely out of the norm, however I have been beyond lucky over the years. With my line of work and fun, I am so lucky to have gone so long without an injury. Why me? But last week that luck ran out.
The morning started long before the sun was up. Good friend and fellow photographer Max Lietner was in town for a quick visit and shoot. For once I would be in front of the camera! After riding sections time and time again for Max, some of which scared the crap out of me, we headed back for town and some coffee.
I was feeling great, having just started a training program to whip me into tip top shape for the Breck Epic. We dipped off of Monument Road onto a bike path, a section I have ridden hundreds of times this year already. Then BAM! I was on the ground, skin ripping off onto pavement, metal sparking. Then, just as quick as I hit the ground, I was on my feet and running.
My arm burned. My hip throbbed. Raw skin was exposed that normally did not see light or feel air. The adrenaline was pumping. I decided the best idea was to get back on the bike and continue to get coffee. The day continued and the pain in my right hand increased. The following day I figured it was a good idea to have it looked at.
Walking into the ER by myself, it seemed surreal. Was I really that hurt? Or did I just take a good spill and a few days is all I needed. After a slue of check ups on blood pressure, heart rate, xrays, financial paperwork and more xrays I got the words I feared most, "You definitely broke the Scaphoid bone in your wrist."
Fuck! This wasn't good. The tears grew and started to fall. Why me? Why now? Why?!?!
I found myself feeling depressed. I would get emotional and sad thinking about what I was now going to miss during the summer ahead. Then, just as quick as I had hit the ground, I changed my attitude.
Even though I now have a cast and won't be able to ride my mountain bike for a while, I was looking for the bright side of things. It can be really hard, especially when it feels like life is taking a crap on your head. After some time alone to reflect I came up with a list of things that were good about what had happened;
I did not sustain a serious or life threatening injury. I didn't have any head injury. My eyes still worked. I could still hold and use a camera. I could still pedal a bike (on smoother surfaces). I still had the use of my legs, my lungs and my brain. Even though I couldn't get on my mountain bike, I wasn't going to let this slow me down.
After sharing the news with my coach we immediately formed a new plan to work around this hurtle. My new goal was to keep the fitness I already had, and continue to increase it any way I could. F U broken bone! A problem is only a problem if you allow it to be that. This was now a challenge.
Not even 48 hours after learning I broke a bone I was on a spin bike, hammering, really hard! I went running, up 2,600 feet in three miles. I was going to do whatever I could do! Some friends asked, "Why would you do that to yourself? Ride a trainer and run?" My only response was, "Why would I do anything else but continue to push and improve myself?"
It still bums me out thinking about the crash and the broken bone, but now I have a much more positive attitude about it. Life present hurtles, those difficult times where we want to just stay in bed and sleep away our troubles. But it is in those times that you truly define yourself. How you deal with those hard times. Well, I'm not about to sit around and wait. I am hungry and I am motivated.
Why am I so lucky to be alive?