When anything bad happens, doesn’t it feel like it’s this fresh pain the world has never seen? Even if you know other people have gone through the same thing, or worse, it’s tough facing up to life’s challenges.
I’ve got a stress fracture in my calcaneous. NBD right? Runners get stress fractures all the time. I’m dealing with it alright, but today was a bad day because I worked eight hours at the running store and my heel got sore after (an unusually long shift, but still, like what am I supposed to quit my job?). Also, indoor season really kicked off with a couple people running really fast like this high school girl in New York who ran a 4:32 indoor mile. I watched her post-race interview on Flotrack and was expecting full-on jealousy. (Does no one else talk about that? Even when I’m healthy I get envious of other people running fast. It’s good inspiration of course, but not without jealousy).
Instead, in her interview, Mary Cain’s confidence and excitement was infectious. I wasn’t jealous, just happy for her.
She just broke a national record by six seconds. The sky’s the limit for her; of course she should be excited. But when the interviewer asked her about being part of Alberto Salazar’s (her coach’s) training group which includes Olympians, she said,
I mean it definitely inspires me… I love this sport. If I could go really far in it that’d be great, but at least enjoying it for now is most important. And if they [the Olympians] can have fun with it, with so much pressure, what am I doing not having fun with it?
It hit me: what am I doing, not having fun with running? Yeah being injured sucks and I’m certain Mary Cain had a lot more fun today than I did. But running in general is supposed to be FUN! Running is a gift from God. Anything I ever achieved, I knew even then it was not because I was awesome. It was because God gave me talent and good coaches and facilities and opportunities. Even if you don’t believe in God, call it fate or running’s fickle nature, after working hard at running, you don’t always get fast. You can get other things, like character or lifelong friendships, but you don’t get success. Things outside of your control have to happen correctly.
If this is how it’s going to be – injured and not running – then this is how it’s going to be. Have fun when you can, and when you can’t, get over it. Running and God don’t owe me anything.
I always said, “I’ll stop running when it’s not fun.” It hasn’t been fun for a while. But I’m not ready to stop quite yet. So I’m going to enjoy what I can, like being on a team at least in name, getting to go to weights and meetings and soaking up every last bit of Baylor Track and Field that I can. This story is not over.