On Saturday, Marcia Linberger arrived at our group meetup limping from an injury sustained from last weekend's race. She stayed long enough for a celebratory photo with her 8k medal and, I hope, absorbed some support from us before heading home to get off her painful knee.

Meanwhile, Carolyn Politano rejoined our weekend outing for the first time in several weeks. She was ready to get back to business and put behind her a knee injury that had kept her out of the 8k.

It seems injury and recovery go hand in hand when you push your body to get stronger and faster.† But how do you keep your spirits up when it's your turn?

I flashed back to that night I woke up to a throbbing pain in my heel. With no one to consult or console me in those early morning hours, I was truly terrified that I had done something that would force me to stop training for awhile. It did not, but I can still remember how acute my fear was.

So I searched the Internet and came across the website of a woman named Caroline Jordan who had some very uplifting things to say to anyone who gets sidelined. I bookmarked her page in the unfortunate case I'll need to remember her advice:† http://www.carolinejordanfitness.com/stay-positive-injury

"Injuries are part of being human and part of the experience of having a body. Sometimes you get sick, tired, hurt, or face physical challenges that are not in your control. Itís life and it happens," she wrote. "...Wellness is so much more than physical. Itís mental, itís spiritual, itís taking care of yourself as a whole. Keeping your mind + spirit in good shape will help you recover from your injury and return to good health."

I've abbreviated some of her tips for staying positive:

Acknowledge and accept the injury. It is not what you wanted. It is not what you asked for. It sucks but here it is and you must be the one to prioritize and deal with it. Resistance in the healing process is not good...But also recognize that there are many things you can control, like how you react to it, how consistent you are with your rehab and treatment, the energy of people you keep around you while you are healing, the alternative activities you do with your time while you are healing, and so on.

Affirm Your Bodyís Ability to Recover and Empower Your Mind To Help you Heal. If you believe your body isnít healing and talk about how you are not getting better, you are affirming the negative and NOT helping the recovery process. You must empower your mind to help heal your body. Itís kind of like preparing to run a race or deliver an important presentation at work. Close your eyes, visualize the outcome you want, and affirm to yourself that your body WILL heal and WILL recover back to full health. Empower your mind to think positively about recovery and help your body heal.

You are going to have good days and you are going to have bad days. And itís important to know: thats OK. Throughout the recovery process you will have days where itís easy to deal and manage healing. You may also have days where you feel frustrated, upset, impatient, angry, all sorts of emotions. Itís important to know that its totally normal to feel those feelings and to have positive strategies on hand for coping with them when they happen.

Cheer Yourself UP. Count your blessings instead of adding up your troubles. Choose to see the good in everything and make the best of the situation. Put on your favorite music. Sing out loud. Shake your booty. Watch funny movies. Surround yourself with friends. Plan your next vacation. ...Your body will feel the positive energy and it will make you feel better.

Do what you CAN do. Donít stew over what you canít do. Do what you CAN do. If you have a hurt foot, work on your push-ups. If you hurt your wrist, practice your body weight squats. Work on the physical therapy exercises prescribed to you through your doctor. Do all your ďhomeworkĒ exercises and follow the doctors orders. Be the best patient there ever was, the kind doctors love to work with. Youíll heal faster and it will make you feel better to be proactive and positive about the recovery process.

Jordan has some fitness videos on youtube, routines she was doing while recovering from an injury that had her foot in a boot. While her particular routines might not be appropriate for your injury, it reminded me that there is a wealth of information on the Internet that could prove valuable. I'm sure you could find plenty of videos or fitness guides for ways to stay in shape while staying away from the part of your body that's injured.

"Time to heal allows you to focus on yourself. Sometimes we think that because we train and workout we are paying attention to ourselves when really we may be distracting from life or other issues," she wrote. "An injury allows you to learn more about you. It provides and opportunity to learn how to be more self compassionate. It also provides time to reflect on things that may need to change in your life. Healing through an injury allows you to make space in your life FOR YOU. Guess what, your life is not going anywhere and if you use this time to take care of yourself and heal correctly youíll probably come back stronger, wiser, and better than before."

So if you're recovering from an injury now or in the future, look for reading material on the healing process that speaks to you intuitively. Others have been through it before and came out on the other side. We can learn from their experiences.

- Paula