Alison’s Blog: Being an athlete by choice. Is that even an option?

Alison shares a great story about a comment her physical therapist made. I admire that she took the time to think about it and came to an awesome conclusion; “Really, everything is a choice.” Well done Alison.  Cliff hanger- she got her MRI results back. Tune in next blog.


I’m great at making decisions. My husband jokes that I am the only woman he is willing to shop with, as I can pick out a new dress, jacket and shoes and matching purse in about 48 seconds. I know what I want and I know what I don’t. It makes things easy.

As many of you read in my last blog, I’m injured. I’ve been to see my sports med doc, and he’s got my foot issue narrowed down to either a horrific case of Achilles tendonitis, or a partially torn Achilles tendon (and everyone reading this, please mutter a quick prayer that it’s option A, thanks). He sent me for a million MRIs, x-rays and ultrasounds last week, but I won’t have the results for at least another week or two.

Regarding workouts, my decisions are limited. I can do most of the stuff I do with my resistance bands, and I can deep water run and swim without kicking. That’s it. No bike, no step aerobics class, and worst of all, no running.

Even though I have no diagnosis, I’ve already scratched the New Jersey Marathon from my list of races. The truth of the matter is that even if I’m healed in time (which I likely won’t be), my training plan will be too much of a mess to knit back together into something that will both have me prepared for the marathon and able to complete it without injuring myself further. It was a decision that got made for me, but one I will just have to live with.

Lately, I’ve been struggling with decisions, though. Because my workouts are far less intense, I have to cut back on my food. But, I just can’t figure the math out anymore. Is knocking out my 11AM snack and removing carbs from lunch enough, or do I need to cut back more? Should I cut carbs all together, or do I still need them for my deep water runs? And since the decisions are so hard, the answers keep ending up to be things like my fabulous homemade cookies and pizza.

The other day I was at my physical therapist’s office (and not that I get injured a lot, but one of the assistants actually bought me a coffee when she went on a caffeine run for everyone who works there). One of the exercise physiologists and specialist helping me In home personal training, Megan, was doing her best to help me with a core strengthening exercise they were having me do, and that I couldn’t quite get right. It wasn’t her fault. It’s just that the exercise had more than three steps to it, and I am hopelessly uncoordinated. As Megan patiently tried to get me to move my leg in one direction and my arm in another, she said, “So, you were training for the New Jersey marathon when you got hurt?” I think she was trying to picture me actually being able to put one foot in front of the other. Before I could answer, she put her hand on my stomach to help support me and said, “Wow, your abs are really strong!” I explained to her, “I guess there’s a big difference between being ‘athletic’ and being ‘fit’. I can do all these races, just not well.” Megan stopped what she was doing and looked me square in the eye: “I guess that just makes you an athlete by choice.”

After I left the PT’s office, I thought about Megan’s term: “athlete by choice.” Really, everything is a choice. No, I didn’t choose to end up with such a crappy injury, but I can choose what I do about it. I can go back to being “Fat Girl”, and drown my injured sorrows in more cookies and pizza, or I can continue to be “Fit Girl”, the athlete by choice who stays in shape with endless deep water runs and resistance band workouts that keep my abs so strong. So, in less time than it takes me to buy that dress with the jacket, shoes and matching purse, I knew what I wanted to do, what I CHOOSE to do. I hope “Fat Girl” enjoys her cookies and pizza, there will be plenty left for her.

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