53 | Skyrunner Hillary Allen: Courage and Curiosity

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“Every day doesn't have to be perfect. But you still have to put in the work, and you still need to show up, and you still need to put that brick in. Because in my little brick house in Fort Collins, which I grew up in, all the bricks were there, even if they were cracked, and scratched. They were all there in their imperfection and they made this beautiful structure. That's honestly what kept me going on those days where I felt like I didn't want to show up to do my PT. I felt like that was the one thing that I could do, no matter how boring it was, to lay that brick for the day.

Hillary Allen’s amazing story is actually the very first one we highlight in our book Rebound. In 2017, she fell off a ridge during Norway’s Tromsø Skyrace, tumbling 150 feet to what could have been her death. Her injuries included two broken ribs and wrists, a fracture in her back, and a ruptured ligament in her foot.

She’s always written eloquently about her injury, and her compelling new book Out and Back tells the tale of her accident and recovery. On this week’s show, we delve into some of the emotional components of that incredible journey, including the importance of asking for support and how she showed up for herself on days when she didn’t know if she had it in her.

And—in a topic that’s not discussed as much, but is critical for injured athletes—she also opens up about her past with disordered eating, how fueling may have saved her life, and her advice for coping with fears about weight and nutrition during recovery.

A huge thank you to our sponsor for this episode: Fluid Running. Fluid Running makes it possible to maintain your peak physical fitness even when you're injured through the power of deep water running. Listen for a special discount code in the episode!

In this episode, we discuss:

  • Her respect for the power of nature, and injuries are viewed in extreme running (5:56)
  • How coming to terms with the fact that she might never compete again ultimately made her a stronger runner (14:05)
  • Her “brick by brick” analogy of recovery (18:43)
  • Why asking for support was so hard, and how she learned to do it anyway (23:00)
  • The hardest time period of her recovery, and how she got through it (28:00)
  • The power of curiosity, and why she believes it was one of the secrets to her survival (30:41)
  • How grief and trauma are like waves, and how she’s learned she can withstand them (34:23)
  • Her experiences with disordered eating before—and after—her injury, and why she’s so passionate about sharing them (36:39)
  • Why she—like Amelia Boone—doesn’t like referring to her recovery as a “comeback” (48:11)

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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.

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