The Stephen & Siren Seiler Series: Learning to Let Go

In the third part of our eight-part video series, Siren Seiler talks about learning to let go of expectations and start over after being sidelined with another injury.

Start from the beginning: Part 1: My Daughter’s Long Road Back to Health

Injuries—and coping with them—can be among the hardest things athletes have to face. In this video, Siren Seiler talks about making a return to workouts after being overtrained and having a stress reaction, only to then suffer another injury. She talks about learning to let go of expectations and start over, not knowing when she might race again. It’s a story many athletes and coaches can likely identify with.

Video Transcript

Siren Seiler  0:02

That summer, I went home for, like, summer break and then I started training pretty well. Like, I was finally getting back into running and I was getting up to, like, 100-kilometer weeks after a while. This is maybe like three months after my injury happened. So in June and July, I trained pretty well, and we thought that nationals would be a possibility, like the 5,000-meter nationals. So I was training well and felt positive. And, but then on the long run, my—I don’t even know what happened—but I just felt this sharp pain in the back of my pelvic area, like my lower back. And I couldn’t walk, I had to, like, almost limp home and I was on crutches. It was some sort of ligament strain or…yeah, I couldn’t, I could definitely not run. So basically, the season was just over. And then I would just have to realize, okay, you just have to stop, just have to really stop. Because I think I had to let go of all expectations and just start over. And that was what I did when I started at the Norwegian School of Sport Sciences. I started my bachelor’s degree—my second bachelor’s degree. And then it was very, very nice to meet people again and have classmates and, yeah. And this was when I met this special someone.

Dr. Stephen Seiler  1:38

And you let go of some expectations. I think that’s a really good term. Because probably that had not been something you were able to do for…

Siren Seiler  1:46

Many, many years.

Dr. Stephen Seiler  1:48

…decade, over a decade. Probably since you were 10 years old, you had created expectations for yourself. And maybe even sometimes assumed that others had the same expectations of you, even if we didn’t, right?

Siren Seiler  2:01


Dr. Stephen Seiler  2:01

So that—I think, for others, we often find that sometimes you just got to really hit the, you got to hit the wall pretty hard before you finally let go of some things, let go of some anchors or some weight on your shoulders that are pulling you down. And it seemed like, that maybe that second injury of just…you kind of let go a little bit of say, “Well, you know what I did? I don’t know when I’m gonna race again.” I think that was kind of the first time you admitted that to yourself is, “I don’t know when I’m gonna be in shape again. I’ll be there again, but I’m not right now. It’s just not where I’m at.”

Siren Seiler  2:42

Yeah, it was—of course—it was very tough. And I was really angry because I didn’t want to stop, like, first of all, I just, I like to run and I like to do the whole process of intervals and seeing my times improving and just sort of that lifestyle—not necessarily to compete for a specific result or, but I like to feel like I am in control of my own body and I can do what I want with it, basically. I think that’s the point. But sometimes that doesn’t happen and you just have to accept it and try to work with the circumstances you’re given.