Part of the reason I was never sure about whether or not I should consider myself a runner is because I’ve been injury prone. If it wasn’t shin splints it was plantar fasciitis, if not a broken leg then achilles tendonitis. I’ve had just about everything under the sun when it comes to my feet and running. And I’ve tried orthotics, wide shoes, motion control, and several different shoe brands, all of which led me to the conclusion that I just had bad feet. With all these setbacks, it was tough to ever be consistent. Aside from the injuries, I felt like although I always ran I never really enjoyed it. The feeling after a good run is amazing—everyone loves it, but I never enjoyed the actual run. Then I read “Born to Run” and everything changed. First, I changed my method from a heel-to-toe approach to landing on the balls of my feet and using my calves to absorb the shock. I began to run lighter on my feet, with my weight forward. It felt like flying. Over the course of two weeks I doubled my mileage and increased my speed. And I started loving it. I must have looked like a total nut-job (probably still do) running around with a huge smile on my face. Two weeks later I was signed up for the Salt Lake Marathon, and I was stoked. My mileage went up and up and it became more difficult but no less fun. And now that the marathon is over, I still love it. I feel like a Saturday isn’t complete if it doesn’t include a run of at least 9 miles. And I can carry on a conversation (or a monologue) about running and how much I love it for at least an hour. Now when people ask if I’m a runner I say ‘yes.’ And I feel ok about it. Not because I think that I’m any good at it, but because it’s what I like to do.
I love it when people are surprised to find out that I never listen to music when I run. I like explaining how the rhythm of my feet and my breathing and my pulse are enough to listen to. And how I feel bad for the people who use an iPod because they are missing out on part of the experience. I enjoy trying to explain how it feels to finish with five miles and feel so good that you want to do another ten. When I was on vacation in St. George a few weeks ago, my favorite activity (behind spending time with my family, of course) was an 11-mile run behind the bluff by myself one morning. I even took a picture:
If any of this post is interesting to you, pick up “Born to Run,” by Christopher McDougle. If I’ve bored you to tears with all this I’m sorry. What can I say—I’m a runner.
By the way, isn't St. George the best?