I’ve been fortunate in my athletic career to avoid major injuries (knocking wood as we speak here), and one of my only surgeries to date was an arthroscopic procedure on my knee known as IT band lateral release surgery.
As the doctor put it a few days after the surgery, “I always like to take a healthy person and make her limp.”
I was a 25 years old avid runner. At the time, I’d been training for the Cleveland Marathon when I started to feel like Joe Pesci had taken a baseball bat to the outside of my knee. Eventually, I was diagnosed with IT Band Syndrome or runner's knee.
When I started exploring options for treatment, the overwhelming recommendation was to take time off from running and cross train.
And, stubborn 25 year old that I was, I refused to do either. When the doctor proposed the IT band lateral release surgery, (which I don’t think they do anymore), I jumped at it.
Running wasn't just my form of exercise, it was my identity.
I see that a lot of this thinking in the fitness world. Someone is a yogi, a cyclist, a power lifter, or a runner, and, much like I was, resistant to try other things.
I did myself no favors that summer, and while I returned to running a few months after the surgery, chances are I’d have been able to do so anyway with just rest and…drum roll please…some cross training.
It's great to find an identity through fitness (we'll avoid the deeper questions of who am I for now), but sometimes limiting yourself from other activities can cause more harm than good.