All or Nothing

One of my least favorite parts of an interview is when asked to name my biggest weakness. Perhaps the most significant problem for me is choosing just which of my oh-so-many flaws to expound upon, the result of my indecisive nature – a weakness in and of itself. There are simply too many foibles to choose from, such as my fear of public speaking, my social anxiety, my excessive need for people-pleasing, and my aversion to confrontation. What I often end up settling on, however, is my all-or-nothing personality.


At first blush, this may seem like an asset rather than a liability of my character. When I go after a goal, I typically throw my heart and soul into the endeavor, whether it’s a simple project, paying off my student loans as quickly as possible, or a trek of the Appalachian Trail. This nearly obsessive mindset helps me to zero in on the objective, and to plow through minor challenges that occur during the pursuit. The problem arises when major obstacles present themselves that seriously knock me off course. If it suddenly appears that I might not be able to accomplish what I set out to do, I begin to psych myself out. Rather than working through it and letting the chips fall where they may, I’m at risk to just give up altogether.


I have been struggling with this very issue over the past month or so in my training. Everything had been progressing nicely: my weekly mileage was steadily increasing, my endurance was improving appreciably, and I was feeling more and more confident. And then it happened. At the end of a long run, within view of my finishing point, I suddenly felt a twinge in my right hip. I initially reasoned that it was nothing to be concerned about – in fact, it was to be expected after covering that kind of distance. I soon realized the next day that it wasn’t just an innocent little muscle spasm. I took the next few days off, thinking that this would stave off a full-blown injury. However, when I went to run later that week, the pain radiating from my hip was not only excruciating, but it worsened with each step. Just like that, my training came to a screeching halt.


While I was still able to do most CrossFit exercises without much pain, running was off limits. Even a leisurely walk would elicit sharp reminders of my injury. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I succumbed to a particularly virulent cold, immediately followed up by a bout of the flu, which took me out of commission for a solid week in terms of exercise. Things were not looking good, and I grew somewhat despondent over my fading hopes of running an ultramarathon.


They say time heals all wounds, and I certainly hope this is the case with my hip injury (and that the time it takes for this healing is abbreviated). Thanks to my good friend and physical therapist-extraordinaire, Alexis Lewin, I am making some progress with a tailored exercise program to strengthen the stabilizing muscles surrounding my hip. I have even managed to get out and enjoy some short, easy runs again. Will I make a full recovery by race day in August, or will it be too little, too late? Well, only time will tell. But no matter the outcome – whether all or nothing or something in between – I must remember what a blessing the experience is in and of itself. 

“…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”  -Philippians 4:11


sports race

Until our paths cross again,

     Ashley Sylvan


3 thoughts on “All or Nothing

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