The previous year-ish (2009) was spent padding my ego with over achievements for a guy who never ran a day in his life before. What I didn’t expect was that my own body would be the thing that humbled me.
Since that time I have said that running is the most honest thing you can do. In running, you can’t say you can do more than you do. Well actually, you can say you can do more, but as soon as you ‘toe the line’ you will be exposed as a fraud.
For the longest time I was even backing up what I said I could do (but shouldn’t be), but my body slowly started to break on me. It started to expose me and it was pretty demoralizing. It was an internal battle pitting my mind against my body. I never told anyone about my injured feet. I hated the idea of having to scale back my running, or to change anything about my progression. My plantar fasciitis was crippling me and I was ignoring it.
Ok. so. How did I figure it out (again as usual, ignoring the injury)?
Well, as I was on my recovery hiatus, I surprised myself as I realized I loved running . Now I was starting to feel like I loved to run. I think there is a difference, between loving running (the overall idea) and loving to run (the physical act). I think loving to run is to love the act of it. I mean, each step of it. The hard ones, the euphoric ones, the beginning, the end, with friends and alone, I realized I enjoyed all of steps in running. It’s really hard to articulate after this much time, but I remember the feeling clearly the first time I was in the middle of a really hard part of a run, and found myself appreciating it, and just accepting the pain and suffering as just what it was, and that I made this choice to be here, and it is what it needs to be at this moment.
I read a book called ‘Zen and the Art of Running’. It showed me that while running I could be ‘in’ the present. To enable my mind to appreciate this moment, my surrounding and the feeling I was having at that second. And that I could do that with each step. At first it was hard to stop looking at the distance ahead. My mind would wander to a moment in the future where the run might be harder. like a hill, or the last couple kms of a 20k training run. This kind of thinking would take me away from the appreciation of the moment. That I was accomplishing something right now.
I ran the Harvest Half at the beginning of October. It was amazing. It was the polar opposite of the Calgary Half 6 months earlier. I didn’t feel any internal pressure to be this epic running machine, in fact I didn’t even tell anyone that I was running it (much). For the Calgary Half I was looking for faces in the crowd, looking for a triumphant finishline, looking for external approval. This time I just got up, drove to the race, ran it, had a coffee with friends, then came home. This is what I wrote in my blog at the time:
I had fun… can you believe it? After the tough experience in the first one.. who’d know that I would actually have fun at this one?
It’s all about the attitude. I will never be an elite runner, and my personal records will come and go with time I am sure. So now that I have a few races under my belt, I felt like I could go out there and take it all in, watch the race from the race itself, so to speak. I did that and had a hoot! Don’t get me wrong, it is still a struggle to run 21.1kms, it’s just that I knew I could do the distance, have trained for it, and just knew what to expect I guess.
I can tell from my writing that I still didn’t completely get it at the time, but I was on the right track.
BUT: I was still injured. My feet were still a mess. I still hadn’t told anyone. I was too proud I guess.
After the race I made up my mind to go back to run club AND I would volunteer as a pacer for a 1/2 marathon clinic. This decision proved to be one of the best things I could have done. What came out of this, and what I’ll discuss in future blogs is:
- I loved to give back to running
- my best friends are runners
- There was a solution to my foot problems
- regardless of my less than ideal fitness situation, running is always there, waiting next to my shoes at the door.
- Barefoot running is actually a thing, that people do. hmmmm.
- The book ‘Born to Run’
- Blogging about running would introduce me to some of the coolest people in the running world
- Runners love running photos.
Thank you so much for reading. I won’t go too deep into all the gory details of the past because I want to chat with you about what’s going on right now in my running. There are a few more things to write about that make up the basis for my current running life (and life in general). I am on twitter here. Facebook here.