Running should be painless. No bliss can be found if it hurts to run and it instantly loses all pleasure and solitude if your mind can’t wander. I lost this ability to find serenity while running when I damaged my left knee, but how I fight to get it back.
Everyone tells you to not let the success go to your head, stay humble and work hard. But that gets hard when the success is sustained and prolonged, even if it is still the product of continual hard work. At some point in the process, expectations become reality, and reality becomes your future expectations. Future expectations that are derailed, stranded, and dead, but never forgotten.
Hard work paid off big time for me in college. I went from an also ran to one of the top runners in the region a couple of appearances on the national stage. There was no run or work out that my coach could lay down that I would not rise to meet. There was literally nothing in my way except myself, and so far I was winning an unfair fight.
After an even first few rounds, I had punched my way ahead in to the fight. With each blow, I was making new memories and setting new standards for myself and those around me. Now as we entered the middle rounds of the fight, I was throwing knockouts left and right, landing blow after blow. Forming memories that will last a life time and making my expectations a reality.
But then my body hit back. Hard.
First it was in the form of sore muscles and longer recovery times. But all that required was more time before and after practice tending to my body in the training room. Hard work and dedication negating what my body would not allow me to do. Next came the muscle tweaks and pulls, the little stuff that annoys you and throws you off your game for a week or two. More time spent in the training room.
Finally my body threw in a knockout punch. It took out my left knee. Well not completely out, but it did make it painful to run most days without some sort of treatment. Some, like cortisone, work better than others. And while at times, it doesn’t hurt at all, it is always stiff in the morning. Even if there is no pain while running (a rarity now), the fact that you, my body, have damaged my knee so bad, it is now always on my mind.
Yes, body, you got in a good shot, but I got back up and I am still fighting. There are still a few rounds in me yet. You may have make my reality no longer my expectations and may have made taken most of the fun out of running (if it hurts, you’re doing it wrong), but I can still strive for the runner I once was. After all, those memories are what will drive me to win this fight with you. Whether it be by knockout or by decision, just know that I will win.