Car crash, coping and catharis

Car crash, coping and catharis

YogaEndurance athletes often get asked, “Why do you do this?” We put our bodies through hours of training, incredibly early mornings and what seems like torture to most. So what’s the point? I’m sure the answer to this question can be as unique as each individual athlete. But over the last week, I’ve rediscovered one of the core reasons I train, race and endure this sport.

On Valentine’s Day, my brother was in a very severe car accident. While on his way to the bank, he slid on black ice and was hit sideways by a semi. Immediately upon getting to the hospital, he underwent brain surgery to relieve pressure and stop a bleed. This was, however, the extent of his injuries. Repeated scans showed no other broken bones, and his brain, post surgery, looked good. But then the waiting game started to see when he would wake up. There are no protocols for brain injuries; there isn’t a “norm” or usual circumstance for these patients. It is truly an individual recovery process. Our family pulled together and waited for seven days before seeing consistent, significant signs of response.

During those days, there was nothing that I wanted to do more than spend time at the hospital, to be there for any progress and support his immediate family. By Wednesday, however, the enormity of the situation and the emotional weight that came with it was having an increasing impact on many elements of my life. I started feeling like I needed to escape the situation and have time to myself to process. That escape, for me, came in the form of exercise. I was able to get away in the afternoon for a swim/run combo that was very much a cathartic experience.

I’d forgotten that aspect of activity and how rejuvinating it truly is for me. More than the challenge, more than the drive to excel, more than the physical benefits, exercise to me is cathartic. It is a time where I can clear my mind, mentally work through challenging circumstances and prepare for what I need to do next.


1 Comment

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    Damie March 06, 2014

    I hope he is ok. Thinking of you.