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39 | Triathlete Lesley Paterson: Channeling Your Passion

The Injured Athletes Club

Release Date: 03/25/2021

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The Injured Athletes Club

"At first it was a bit difficult, talking about it and reliving it, but now I see how powerful that can be. You wouldn't believe how many stories I hear. I swear every time somebody crashes really bad on their bike, they reach out to me. It’s incredible—I don't think people realize that about themselves when they reach out, but literally they will be in the hospital messaging me, ‘How did you get through this? How quickly did you come back?’ I say, ‘if you’re already thinking about it, that right there goes to show how strong you are. If you want to come back, you will once you're...

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The Injured Athletes Club

“I’m continuing to struggle months after my stress fracture is ‘healed’ with new pain areas and fearing it is a recurrence of the original injury. How do I mentally get over that hurdle?” —Liisa   “I’m currently in transition from return to function towards return to play and every little flare gives me the jitters, if you happen to have any input on navigating. 🙏” —Sarah   “I think fear of reinjury is big too. Like, I don’t even know if I want to try getting back to running and surfing—or if that’s just fear—so help on thinking through those tough...

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The Injured Athletes Club

“That experience helped me to realize to cherish every relationship, to cherish your responsibilities, to cherish your opportunity when you have it, because it's not guaranteed tomorrow. You can be the hardest-working player, you can do things right,  you can be a great person and all of those things—that does not guarantee that you will finish the way that you wrote your story or the way that you want it, desire it to finish.”   fell in love with football at a young age. He thought he knew how his life would pan out—winning the national championship, getting drafted into...

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The Injured Athletes Club

“While I am not a professional athlete, I am a chef who has gone from 1 hour intense daily workouts and working 10 to 14 hours a day to doing nothing. Exactly one month ago today I fully tore my pectoral major off my humerus while bench pressing. I am itching to finally have my surgery completed this upcoming Monday.    I'm hoping you can provide me with some insight and guidance. Everyday I find myself in a battle with my monster and athlete. I know what I have to do to control my monster, but it is really exhausting having continuous arguments between the two. It feels like...

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The Injured Athletes Club

“The greater lesson of this is that I've helped open the door—a lot of people have opened the door—to talk about what running on the other side looks like, or not running, what the other side of that looks like. You can still have a creative, active, badass life without pounding on your body, if that doesn't work for you anymore.”   has been a runner for years. She’s also the author of many books about running; a sports and fitness writer who’s written for running publications; and the co-founder of the positive, thriving community   But the last time she ran a step was...

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The Injured Athletes Club

“I had arthroscopic surgery for FAI/labral tear six years ago, and it's been a long, slow road of recovery. I think my rehab program didn't focus enough on building back strength and mobility before I progressed back to running, so I've dealt with a lot of lower body injuries from overcompensation and bad movement patterns since then. I've been focusing more on mobility and strength in the last year and feeling better, but this week my hip has suddenly felt worse than it has in years. I've been trying to focus on what I can do for it right now and listening to my body, but it's been a really...

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The Injured Athletes Club

“When you think about it, how often is your mind completely absorbed in the task in front of you? How often do you catch your mind wandering off task? Our brains, you know, they like to wander off. Mindfulness helps us bring it back, rein it in, back into this moment.”   When you’re injured, it’s easy to get hooked by negative emotions—perceived failures in your past, frustrations about the present, and fears of an uncertain future.    You can’t rid ourselves of these feelings entirely; they’re a part of being human. But if they’re constantly hijacking your...

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The Injured Athletes Club

“What do you say to people after you get injured and their comment is ‘maybe your body is telling you something?’ This phrase irritates the heck out of me. Of course I’m always looking for something to be learned from an injury but how do they know what MY body is telling ME? I’m reading REBOUND right now (so good) and there are so many athletes with repeated injuries who push through to come back stronger, which is exactly what I want to do. But I wonder how many people told those athletes “maybe your body is trying to tell you something?’ What do you say to that annoying...

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The Injured Athletes Club

“I remember not knowing whether I was going to be able to race that day. I felt so emotional, I was crying. I had tears on my face and I was just thinking about just how weird the circumstances were, and just feeling how it was taken from Daniela, but it wasn't from me.”   Susannah Scaroni had one career high in summer of 2021—she won her first two Paralympic medals, a gold and a silver, at the Tokyo Games. This past May 29, she had another, when she set the world record in the 5,000 meters for the T54 category.   In between came one of her greatest challenges. In September,...

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The Injured Athletes Club

“I find it difficult to keep up with daily PT after all these years of rehab and feel like I let myself and my PT down in recent months. This is not the state I want to stop and I want to keep getting better, but the vision of that seems hard to see some days. For the injured athletes that are on long-term recovery tracks, how do you stay motivated and engaged with PT and training when the recovery process is much slower than you want to, or are trying to return to sport but your body is still not fully ready?”   This week, co-host and mental skills coach Carrie Jackson answers a...

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“There's this feeling when you feel like you could fly and when you're that fit, when you're that peaked. For me it was always being out in nature, being out on the trails, being connected with the land. And when you can't do that because you're in continual chronic pain—that was a travesty. That's the piece of me that is my soul and the reason I do this, so when you take away all of that, you’re left feeling so desperate.”

 

Some injuries have a clear treatment plan and a defined timeline for recovery. Others are much more difficult to decipher, and leave athletes wondering what to do and when they’ll be back training and competing again.

 

In her 15 years as a professional triathlete, Lesley Paterson has encountered essentially every type of setback—often going from, as she puts it, “superhero status” to struggling with daily functions like sitting and driving. In this week’s episode, she talks us through how she’s coped with all of them, most significantly a chronic high hamstring/lower back/piriformis problem that’s affected her for nearly a decade.

 

When she’s down for the count, Lesley—who now competes in XTERRA, or off-road triathlon—has learned how to redirect her considerable energy into her rehab and recovery. But that alone isn’t enough, the five-time world champion points out. 

 

Athletes also need to find a way to connect with another source of joy. Her other passion is filmmaking, but it could be a hobby, relationship, or any other pursuit that keeps you moving forward when times are tough, she says.

 

A huge thank you to our sponsors for this episode: Fluid Running and 2Toms. Fluid Running makes it possible to maintain your peak physical fitness even when you're injured through the power of deep water running. And 2Toms provides advanced sweat proof, waterproof blister and chafing protection products that keep you moving. Listen for special discount codes in the episode!

 

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How injuries are viewed in XTERRA and other endurance sports, and the difference between how athletes see acute and chronic injuries (6:52)
  • How she helps her athletes work through chronic injuries, and why she sometimes calls them lazy (8:06)
  • Where her stop-at-nothing mindset comes from (10:04)
  • How her worst, longest term injury developed, taking her from the top of the world to her lowest low (13:55)
  • Why she feels her powerful drive is both her greatest gift and her biggest downfall—and how her art helps her to balance the two (20:11)
  • That time she broke her shoulder during a race and finished it anyway (23:29)
  • How she built her support system, and why that’s been so critical (29:10)
  • The way she and her sport psychologist/co-coach husband navigate their many different roles (33:34)
  • How she helps her athletes visualize the root causes of their injuries—and why personality matters when choosing a health care provider (35:04)
  • The silver linings she’s taken from the pandemic, including an exciting new film project (37:48)
  • Her advice to other injured athletes about finding that “positivity fuel” to keep you moving forward (48:37)

 

You can subscribe to The Injured Athletes Club on Spotify, Stitcher, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts, and if you like what you hear, please leave us a rating or a review in Apple podcasts. That helps other injured athletes find the show.

 

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To access more resources for injured athletes:

  • Join The Injured Athletes Club mailing list, for news and updates
  • Join The Injured Athletes Club Facebook group, for support and camaraderie
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  • Email us at [email protected] with questions, guest suggestions, or other feedback

 

DISCLAIMER: This content is for educational & informational use only and & does not constitute medical advice. Do not disregard, avoid or delay obtaining medical or health related advice from your health-care professional because of something you may have heard in an episode of this podcast. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult with a qualified medical professional for proper evaluation & treatment. Guests who speak on this podcast express their own opinions, experiences, and conclusions, and The Injured Athletes Club podcast hosts nor any company providing financial support endorses or opposes any particular treatment option discussed in the episodes of this podcast and are not responsible for any actions or inactions of listeners based on the information presented. The use of any information provided is solely at your own risk.