Despite all of the progress you’ve made, you’re still not 100 percent, are you?
My ankles and my feet were my most serious injuries when it came to returning to running. I suffered a really serious foot-changing injury to my right foot, and I still have pain from that 14 months later, while my other ankle was super twisted and is still weak. So, there is still a limited range of motion, and I’m still not 100 percent.
Training for races has helped push me on my continued rehab, but there is still a bit of hesitancy there. It’s been a physical limitation, but there is a mental piece I have to work on, too. It’s such a hard thing to measure. I’m not the same at all. Mentally my outlook has changed, but physically my body is different too. I feel refreshed in some aspects and maybe I have a better outlook mentally. But physically, if you measure the physical strength of my ankles and my feet, no it’s not the same.
Will the scars on your legs and arms be a constant reminder of what you’ve been through?
Yes, they are a constant reminder. Honestly, I look at them every day—especially when I’m power hiking or running uphill—and they are forever a part of me. But sometimes I forget about them, too.
I know I definitely look different, and I know when someone is staring, so that’s another reminder that they’re always going to be there. But they can also be a reminder of how far I have come, too. The scars help me not take it for granted, knowing that it could have been much worse or much different. And every day I wake up I feel motivated to keep going.
How did your accident change your outlook on life?
Running, and physical movement in general, is a huge part of who I am. We’re mammals and meant to be connected with the physical world, and that connection is my spirituality and religion in a way. When I am separated from that, I feel like a part of me is missing.
I think a lot of people have that feeling, and they’re searching for something but they don’t necessarily know how to connect with it. Even when I was living in Denver and going to grad school, one of my favorite things was running early in the morning and watching the city wake up while watching the sun rise. It’s not the same as running on the trails, but even that can be magical.
Before the accident, I thought I was balanced, but one of the big things is that I’ve learned not to take that for granted. Hopefully I will be able to inspire, educate and encourage other people to find that connection. Having that synergy in life provides such a positive impact and makes everything so much more vibrant and colorful.