Here I am again?

By January 25, 2019 December 6th, 2020 5 Comments

Step, slide, crack. Step, slide, crack. Step. Slide. Crack.

I grab my ankle, feeling the pain. Declaring to myself “You’re ok! You’re ok!”

I know it’s broken. I’m familiar with the feeling. I’ve been through this before – breaking a bone for the first time (make that 14 bones). The trauma from my previous accident is fresh. The sound of my ankle cracking immediately brings memories of my rescue – helicopters, doctors, panic. Then memories of my recovery – an inability to move, or cook, or bathe, or take care of myself.

I start crying in panic. Repeating to myself “I don’t know if I can do this again. How can I do this again?!”

This is my reality. After 18 months of clawing my way back from a nearly fatal accident, rediscovering my strength as a human and athlete, I’m here again. Injured. Broken.


Photo by Mike Thurk, September 2017

The emotions that are going through my head are numerous. But one that’s louder than the rest, is anger. Why did this happen again? Did I deserve it? Is there still something more to learn?

I want to scream!

I don’t know if I have the strength to do this. Again.

I read the influx of encouragement and support from my friends and the running community.

It’s ok to be angry. For now, anyways.

I’m reminded that I’m enough. The words of my dear friend David Steele, repeat in my head.

The portions of your self worth that are all bound up in being an athlete, on being able to perform —this is a chance to remember the other parts of yourself.

This is a reminder to be a whole person. Finding joy and success and personal, internal stability in the web of all those aspects and complexities of what makes you, you – that’s the goal.

Things happen for a reason – if you chose to let them. I’m reminded to take a deep breath, feel what I’m feeling and believe. BELIEVE. That this too, will create, reignite and provide an opportunity for growth.

Do you need more stories of perseverance? Check out the new podcast, Athletes Unfiltered, it will inspire you to keep digging deep when times get hard.


  • tropicana4 says:

    Oh… I’m so sorry! 🙁 What absolutely rotten luck. You are strong, and inspiring, and always make us all smile. I hope we can do the same for you while you heal. You’ve got this!!!!!!!! <3 <3 <3

  • Robin Kostka says:

    Hillary, first of all, great words. I don’t want to take anything away from you being angry about this (as you should be), but you taught us all so much about a good mindset while injured. I’m currently injured and it was what you went through that made me decide that my injury was part of my training plan and not just bad luck. It’s allowed my brain to focus on other things and help people in a way I haven’t been able to in the last few years. It gave my body the break it so desperately needed. I’ve been able to build the strength physically that I didn’t have time for before. It’s made me re-evaluate how much to run in the future. I’m praying for a speedy recovery for you and just know that you will make an impact no matter what.

  • Chris Scribner says:

    Prayers said for a quick recovery and plz know we ( running community /friends) Love you very much !!

  • runewan says:

    Hope you have a speed recovery😢💚

  • Lisa says:

    I’m sorry you are injured again. I broke my ankle, blew out my ligaments and tendons almost 2 years ago at work. I usually did 4 half-marathons a year plus I rowed. Then I injured my shoulder. Frozen shoulder, aka adhesive capsulitis. I haven’t rowed for 3 years and I am coming up on 2 years since I blew out my ankle. It has been horrific for me spiritually, psychologically/mentally. Yes, physically has been devastating too, but the mental injury has been even worse. I encourage you to take time to restore yourself mentally. I think that is even more important than the physical therapy. If your mind isn’t in it, nothing else matters. Wishing you a full recovery. I feel your pain.

Leave a Reply