Tearing a hamstring today
Picture taken hundreds of a second after the injury,
weight still in the air and
hands flying back to the location of the injury
Simple as that; it hurts (a lot). Yup, 10/10 on a scale. 95/100 on another (you always have to save room on the scale).
Worst of all, however is the sense of dread regarding the future. Hopelessness. A black hole about to swallow you. Time lost. Replaced with pain and boredom.
Have you gone through major surgery and rehab? I can tell you it sucks. I've done both my ACLs - both times using the hamstring tendon from the same leg as the ACL injury to reconstruct the ACL. The rehab is boring and tedious and there are mini-injuries and steps backward every now and then.
Today, I tore my left hamstring (I used half as reconstructive tissue for my left ACL 18 months ago and perhaps it wasn't fully healed yet). From being 1 second away from a given new personal best in deadlift, I was on the floor feeling I was robbed of my future.
Then, just seconds later, I thought:
"So what? It will take exactly the time it needs. Actually, I will get time to fine-tune my technique, and I can focus on building mass instead of strength (a priority I have wavered about)".
I even reckoned I could hit higher highs sooner, thanks to starting all over again with better form and coming from below, which is good when you want to break plateaus in lifting. In addition, I thought of how lucky I was to first attempt a slightly lighter new record (and succeeded) before going for this one. That means I can think back with joy to this day.
As soon as I got the chance I googled the best rehab program for hamstring injuries I could find. I'll keep looking, but this one resembles what the doctors ordered previously after my two ACL/hamstring operations.
If I didn't think this way, I might give up on lifting weights. At least rehab would take longer and probably never get me back to 100%.
So, my three-point list for dealing with failure:
1) Embrace your automatic inner optimism - You have it, just listen for it instead of digging your own grave
2) Frame the incident in a positive manner. The brain is extremely capable of making you feel lucky with just a little help from you. So, put whatever happened into perspective, and consider how truly lucky you are that only experienced this little thing in your otherwise wonderful life.
3) Turn the failure to fortune; use the opportunity for getting even better, or acquiring other skills
I promise you I have set a new 1RM in deadlift within 12 months.