I have run for about 18 years now. I remember my first few runs around the Reserve my senior year of high school. Open road, getting lost in my thoughts, losing my breath, plodding along in my $40 shoes from Big 5. This continued through college and my first few jobs, where I always had a pair of running shoes, and always had the ability to take off at will, but never worried about consistency.
I have been a runner for about 10 years now. I self-identified as a runner once I signed up for my first marathon. It wasn’t because I was going to become a marathoner, but that at this point I added a purpose to the process of lacing up my shoes and going out the door. I not only started running “consistently,” but I started learning about running. It’s when I started getting better, faster, and stronger.
It’s also when I learned about injury. Plantar fasciitis, shin splints, runner’s knee, ITBS. I remembered the slight sense of pride with each, This is something that happens to runners! As well as overcoming injury when I would take deep dive into the internet to learn different methods to solve each. Stretching. The Stick. Foam Rolling. A new solution to every problem that arose.
I think back on all the things that I learned about running and think of the advantages I have as I begin to train again. I think of how well I have gotten to know my body over the last 10 years and know what it needs to succeed. In those 10 years I have run for 1500 hours. That’s over two months straight of running. One time I even “ran” for over 25 hours straight!
But even with all of this running, it’s hard to live in the vacuum where you can apply it like Lincoln logs to your life. When the foundation shifts, you need to adjust your plan, so it doesn’t topple. Adjust to the rising tide. The benefit of ten years of experience is the ability to adapt both my goals and plan. In the end I hope the experience of suffering allows me to suffer a little bit more than I’m prepared for.