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Embracing a Slower Mile

Written By Leandra Lehmann

  • empowerment,
  • fitness,
  • health,
  • mental health,
  • strength,
  • wellness
Stock image of a woman smiling and playing with her hair

Several years ago I injured my knee, causing me to stop running.

I’ve been running since I was in the 6th grade (roughly 18 years), so you can imagine how much this devastated me. I mulled about for several weeks before my stagnation led to self-pity, which led to irritability, which led to driving my partner and me crazy. I needed to do something. 

At age 28, I got my first real gym membership. My fear of gym showers and locker rooms was surprisingly replaced with the pleasant association of childhood trips to vacation resorts. 

In overcoming my distaste for ellipticals, I realized I actually enjoyed the more moderate, and lower impact workout, which left my leg muscles feeling sore in ways they hadn’t before. I discovered new (free!) resources for workouts, looked to instagram for lifting and bodyweight workout inspiration.  My partner offered support by changing up our weekly runs for body weight and core workouts. 

"I mulled about for several weeks before my stagnation led to self-pity, which led to irritability, which led to driving my partner and me crazy. I needed to do something."

That knee injury left me a new appreciation for what my body is able to do. It made me have to think creatively about my self care practices and challenged me to find new ways to be fit that will be more sustainable long term over the course of my life. I felt more fit, energized, and inspired than I had before.

I’m back running and though my 9 minute miles are not the 7 minute 30 seconds they used to be, I accept this. I run to relax now and enjoy the journey. I congratulate myself that I even got out to run at all. I thank my body for what it enables me to do.

"My knee injury left me a new appreciation for what my body is able to do."

If you have ever had an injury with a silver lining, that taught you about yourself, your body, your life, that made you stronger either emotionally or mentally, please share. How did it help you grow? How did it help you see things differently? What changes did you make in your life to adjust?

There are injuries that are small, and then there are those that are debilitating and have life changing impacts. Whatever the size or severity, how have you overcome (or are trying to overcome) the changes they required you to make? How did you stay positive after the setback or new limitations? What or who has helped?  

Injuries can take away your power or they can empower you. It depends on your mindset. Strive to find the silver lining, use the opportunity to slow down, and take the chance to learn new ways to be physically and mentally well.

Leandra Lehmann

Leandra Lehmann is a licensed Marriage and Family therapist and Art Therapist who believes creativity, mindfulness, physical health, community connection and self compassion are critical to promoting holistic healing. Her extensive community-based work with families and caregivers, and time as Head of People Ops in a start-up, informs her diverse interests which include trauma, social justice, women’s rights, stress management, self-care, and relationship building. She also draws from her experiences as a Third-Culture Kid from the Philippines and her passion for travel.