Last Saturday, I told someone, a customer at the running store where I work, “I was on the track team at Baylor.” Past tense.
I guess I got tired of the predictable, ensuing conversation that kept happening.
Me: I’m on the track team (present tense).
Other person: Oh cool! How’s training? / Got any meets coming up?
Me: Well, uh, you see, even though I’m walking around like a normal person with no visible physical disabilities, I’m injured and not competing, not traveling nor capable of even practicing.
Them: Ooh, I’m sorry. That’s gotta suck.
Me: (putting on a smile) It’s ok, I like riding my bike! Wanna see my cool scar from mountain biking?
Or, if I was feeling particularly faithful that day: It’s ok, I know it’s part of God’s plan.
But if strangers from the running store can know the truth, I guess the rest of the world can know it too. I’m not running track anymore for Baylor. I got the stress fracture in my heel in October and since then my foot just hasn’t gotten well enough to run. At all. My doctor told me to expect to be completely pain free in walking before attempting to run again, and it took until March to get to that point. I tried the elliptical (the prereq to running, as directed by my athletic trainer) after that, in early March, and that produced a little pain. It wasn’t like, abject heel pain, but it was noticeably worse than before. By then my chances of coming back to be anywhere remotely in shape to race by May (the latest possible time in the collegiate season) seemed shot, and if I couldn’t even elliptical, no way could I run.
Even writing this I think, “Oh, why limit yourself, maybe you could get in shape by then” but runner’s delusions have to end at some point. I’ve spent this whole year in mental running purgatory of tentative preparation for a track season that may or may not happen. During spring break a couple weeks ago, I admitted to some friends for the first time that I wouldn’t compete this season. It seemed dirty, like giving up. But then I told that customer at the store, and realized I was ready to tell the world. While I’m grieving the loss of my last collegiate season, I am grateful at least to finally know, it is gone. It’s not going to happen. I won’t run any more meets in a Baylor jersey.
I used to run track at Baylor.