Injurys + Irrational Thoughts (and Staying Positive)

What a title, huh? πŸ˜‰

As some of you know, three weeks ago I took a nasty spill in a Body Step class and really jacked up my pride ankle. When it happened, I thought a sprain was no big deal and that I’d be back to normal business in a few days.

Um, that didn’t happen.

For some reason I felt phony writing about a sprained ankle injury because I know so many of you athletes out there are dealing with much more serious situations, but I reminded myself that this blog is about my experiences – not someone else’s (and I don’t mean to sound snarky saying that)

In case you didn’t know, dealing with an ankle sprain is no joke. For the first week following my drama-queen fall, I didn’t work out at all. The thought didn’t depress me then, mainly because I could barely walk.

The following week, I added Body Pump back into my routine, but I was shaky when it came to lunges. At this point, the mild frustration started to set in – as did the irrational thoughts.

This past Thursday, I had reached a boiling point. I felt myself getting flabby (most likely an irrational belief) and I felt myself slipping into the all-consuming feeling of self-consciousness – a slip I hadn’t made in quite some time.

So, I decided to say fuck itΒ to my ankle and I went back to Body Step.

My instructor said that she was surprised to see me back, and I had to agree with her. I was so nervous. As class went on, I couldn’t help but hear the wet cracking sound that my ankle made when I fell, and in turn, I did the grandma version of each modified version.

It was bad.

I’m sure I only broke a sweat because I was thinking so hard.

And, to my utter disappointment, my ankle was not having it.

I’m mad at myself for going to class and irritating my ankle, I’m becoming impatient to the fact that my ankle hasn’t healed yet, and I’m frustrated that my physical activity has essentially been cut in half.

I’m trying to maintain a positive attitude and not slip into fat-freak-out-mode, which is hard. But, it’s Monday – a Body Pump day – so for now, I’ll be happy with that :)

Let’s chat – Have you ever dealt with an injury – big or small – that impeded on your fitness routine?


  1. says

    Sigh. I had some back issues in early August and struggled with the irrational thoughts and pushing myself to far to ‘get over’ the injury. I lost 60 pounds a few years ago so I’m hyper vigilant about gaining any weight back. I was just telling my bf about my irrational fears yesterday actually – how I can physically feel bigger if I take a few days off from working out or let my diet go for a bit. I’m sure it’s 90% emotional but it doesn’t make me feel any better about it. I’m working on actively changing my outlook now and letting go of fitness/health expectations.
    Ain’t nobody got time for that.

    • Colleen says

      We’re the same! I said the same thing to Cory about feeling bigger haha. He’s like, “you’re nuts.” And the fact that you were 60 pounds heavier blows my mind! You’re such a tiny little thing :)

  2. says

    Oh goodness I can relate to this. First of all I’m sorry that you’re injured and trust me– it SUCKS, I know. I am a runner who is just now almost healed from a tibial stress fracture in my ankle and it basically kept me from doing anything at all for 3 months. It happened the beginning of July and it still feels tender when I push on it, but I’m now slowly able to run 1 mile at a time and walk.
    For me, though, it was an eye-opener and a blessing in disguise because prior to this injury I was overtraining my body and running long distances to counteract a lot of the emotional eating I had been doing. Taking a break from exercise of all kinds helped me to “reset” my eating patterns, figure out why I was emotionally eating, and make some positive changes in my life. When I am able to fully get back into running, I am going to make my body a priority and *running* secondary. If that means only running 3-4 times a week, then so be it!
    Feel better and keep us updated on your healing progress!!

    • Colleen says

      I’m so glad it was a “blessing in disguise” for you. I think it might be like that for me – remembering that my self-worth doesn’t come from working out. Thanks for sharing your positive outlook, Mallory! :)

  3. says

    Injuries are rough and ankles are especially temperamental to heal. As the self-appointed queen of injuries and most impatient person ever, try to give it time. It sucks, bad, but it does make a difference. When I fractured my foot, it took a loooong time to heal and for me to be able to do any weight bearing on it so I focused on upper body strength work instead!

  4. Esther says

    I’m so sorry about your injury! I actually just injured my ankle running a stupid race on Saturday – I’m training for a half marathon, and this was just supposed to be “fun” run, and now I’m in a ton of pain when I walk. :-( Over the last 48 hours I’ve felt all of those emotions you just described. So, since I, like most people, can’t take my own advice, I’ll pass on the wise words of my fiance to me this morning: you had the drive and motivation to start exercising, and become fit and healthy in the first place, and none of that will be changed by an injury. No matter what happens while you’re healing, you will get back to where you were (and your body will be even stronger for having taken the time to let it heal). I hope that helps…good luck and feel better soon!

  5. says

    Sprained ankles truly are no joke! My husband gets them really easily, so I’ve seen his frustrations with it as well. I tore my ACL right at the beginning of volleyball season my junior year of high school. It was the hardest and most frustrating injury ever. I had a starting position that I had to give up and was on the sidelines the entire season.

    Try to keep your head up! Have you tried some kickboxing or pilates that might not aggravate it as much but will still give you a sweat?

    • Colleen says

      Oh man, that totally sucks. I’m sorry you had to deal with that! Thanks for the suggestions, lady! I didn’t even think of kickboxing!

  6. says

    I feel your pain, I’ve dislocated my knee cap twice (ow!) and it took forever to get back on track with fitness. The second time I actually had to re-learn how to walk properly just so I could start living like a normal person. I agree with Ashley, keep your head up and try something lower impact until you get your confidence back. Also, don’t be embarrassed about changing up the moves, as long as you are doing them safely you’re still working muscles and getting a good workout. Good luck! :)

  7. says

    Definitely know what you’re going through – hurt myself about 7 weeks ago in a body pump class, dr figured out it was bursitis, and I’m pretty limited in what I can do physically until I wrap up physical therapy.

    I’ve used this time as an excuse to really focus on the food side of the equation. I’ve been experimenting with more breakfast smoothies, making dinners that take longer to prepare but are healthier, and trying some ingredients I never thought I would try (spaghetti squash!). While it’s not the same as exercise, for me it’s helped me feel like I’m still being proactive about my health, and I’ve actually felt better physically about myself than I have in a while now that I’m being really careful about everything I put in my body.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  8. says

    I’m so sorry to hear about your ankle still causing you some trouble. you poor thing. Just continue to ice & elevate it girl. Hopefully you’ll be up and moving in no time xo

  9. says

    Oh, this sounds like something I would do! I’ve been running long distances with shin splints, and I’m declaring this week as a week off. I’m stubborn too, so I understand your frustration. Maybe a really low impact workout won’t irritate your ankle – like yoga or pilates?

    • Colleen says

      I’m glad you’re taking a rest week – hopefully your shins will feel better after a week off :) Yeah, I need to try something like pilates or yoga. They’d definitely be a challenge for me!

  10. says

    Awww, I’m so sorry to hear that. Injuries are beyond frustrating. I just ran my first 5k this week since my hip injury, which has kept my from running since my half mary in February. Yeah… you read that correctly… February!!! Grrrr

  11. G'ma says

    I can’t believe that Dorsa and I are the only people who thought of the obvious!! Get that ankle xrayed! Could eliminate further trouble if you find out that you have been self-treating a broken bone for three weeks.

  12. says

    My broken toe is still bad, and it’s been over a month, but I’ve somehow managed to maintain my weight ok. Yoga, weights, and some mild dancing are what I can do. Walking isn’t even on the list for exercise because shoes make it feel worse. :( Hopefully in time we will be back to normal! Best wishes for your ankle.

    • Colleen says

      I’m sorry your toe is still bad :( It’s good to know you’ve maintained your weight – that’s like, my biggest fear (which it shouldn’t be.) I’m going to try a yoga class next week – I’m looking forward to it!

  13. says

    Oh Colleen – I know just what you mean! I also sprained my ankle (about a month ago) and really panicked about now being able to move around like I used to. I even hiked Machu Picchu the next morning (I was in Peru when I injured myself)… BAD idea (but worth it for the views, I think!). Not resting my ankle just after hurting it really delayed the recovery process, but I guess it just takes a long time to get back to normal. I can really commiserate, though, because it feels unfair to have to change your lifestyle for this injury. Hang in there – you can do it! I’ve found that squats (normal, plie, lateral, etc.) don’t irritate my ankle at all, and climbing stairs has been okay too. That’s how I’ve been getting in my “cardio” lately!

    Unrelated, but I just started my own blog yesterday and would be thrilled if you have a moment to stop by and take a look!! Thank you for being you, staying honest, and always blogging with such insight! :)

    • Colleen says

      Iris! You sprained your ankle and hiked Machu Picchu the next morning?! You crazy lady! πŸ˜‰ Thanks for the encouraging words, my friend!

  14. says

    When I was in high school I had surgery on my shoulder that kept me off the basketball court/ lacrosse field for months. The first time back on the court I tried to shoot the ball and totally missed the basket, I was devastated… But as they always say, time heals everything and *eventually* it was true :) The most frustrating part for me was not being able to do something that I knew I could do if it weren’t for a stupid injury…

  15. says

    It’s experiences like yours that make me HATE the saying “The only workout you’ll ever regret is the one you never do” … There are times and places when workouts need to be passed up for our health.
    I have dealt with the same thoughts — the irrational beliefs that my fitness is slipping away and that I’m losing muscle tone — and they’ve frightened me into doing workouts and training I really shouldn’t have done. As a result, my SI joint will probably give me trouble for the rest of my life.
    Training through an injury is something elite athletes do — the ones whose livelihoods depend on them continuing with their sport. As amateurs, we need to remember that we will have these bodies for the rest of our lives. A rowing coach once told me that I would regret not taking time off (for my SI injury) when I wouldn’t be able to lift my kids later on in life … that’s always stuck with me. Sometimes, it’s just not worth it.

  16. Mary Ellen McCarthy says

    I have not read any of the other comments so I am sorry if I repeat anything. Sprained ankles and or any other sprained or injured body parts are nothing to fluff off. The rest of your body will try to compensate for it and will cause stress on that part as well. Baby the injured area a lot. Ice Ice Baby. Elevation as often as possible. There are upper body exercises you can do. I am a long time sufferer of depression. I take medication for it. Back when I was walking marathons complete with training 4-5 times a week, I was in great shape physically and mentally and emotionally. I was eating right and exercising right and sleeping right. I was even off my medication because all the seretonin levels were on target due to my “good living”. After our reunion up in the Poconos I came back with a wicked cough and sinus infection. I tried to treat it myself. The cough got so bad that I cracked a rib. BOOM! No more walking for me. The rib would not heal if I did. The walking would trigger my new “adult onset asthma”. I did not want to go back on the medication so I poo pooed the doctors advice. Bad Idea. Everything went down hill. I am now back on medication and still not back into walking marathons. Walking yes, very short jaunts. I regret not listening to my body and resting it when I should have. Rest your body. Work your upper half by lifting weights. Eat healthy. Baby steps back into your work outs. We all want immediate gratification. It doesn’t always do us right. Be careful with yourself. I am sure Cory has some sound advice. Ice your injury no matter how small you think it is. Treat yourself as you would treat someone else. It also can’t hurt to have a physical therapist look at it and suggest non weight bearing exercises. OK that is all from Dr. Mary Ellen. I hope your new job is still going well. How are the face to face interactions?

    • Colleen says

      Thanks for the input, Mary Ellen!! You’re so right about the immediate gratification! Life is constantly teaching me to become more patient – clearly, I’m a poor student. Job is going really well, thanks :) I’m loving the face-to-face clients. I’m tired and happy when I leave work, so I think that’s a good thing! I hope you’re doing well!

  17. says

    ugh i feel you man! i have a torn hip labrum and i’ve neglected to physical therapy it so i can pretty much never run long distances without not being able to walk the next day! of course because i’m an idiot i continue to run on the treadmill from time to time and of course it hurts like a motherload the next day – i should probably get on the phsyical therapy stat so i can continue my life but who knows when that will happen! i do have treadmill envy of alll of the runners out there though!

  18. says

    Sorry about your ankle! I can relate on the injury front. I have knee issues – arthritis (I’m only 30!) and some IT band issues and love to run even though it definitely makes my knee pain worse. For a long time I would run anyway and deal with the pain but after rounds and rounds of PT and tons of dr’s appts I finally listened to my body and took some time off to really get better and I’m just now finally able to run pain-free again. It sucked to take the time off but in the long term it’s worth it.

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