For the love of the run

I started running when I was in junior high. At the time though, I only ran about twice a week, so you could say my training strategies were a little off.

It started out as running a few 5ks here and there and I ended up running track in 8th grade.

Track in junior high is a joke. I didn’t know this at the time.

I ran the mile and I long jumped but I wasn’t particularly good at either. At practice I chose to go long jump rather then run intervals on the track that I was in no shape to be doing.

After the track season ended I didn’t run again until I started conditioning with the Free State cross country team.

On my first day of summer conditioning, I ran a mile. By the end of the summer I was running four miles almost everyday. The improvements I made in just one summer were amazing.

My cross country season started and things went well, aside from some minor injuries.

All winter I participated in winter track conditioning. This was a huge turning point in my running career. My love for running became a real thing. I loved the burn in my legs as I ran and the wind in my face. Running made me feel alive.

Track started at the end of February and besides the fact that I had shin splints, things were going great. I remember the first track workout that I did and how much I loved it.

Then came some bad news. I had a check up with my doctor one day and so I decided to ask him about my shin splints, just to be safe. What happened next devastated me.

He told me that it was very possible I had a stress fracture. I left the doctor’a office in tears and later when I went to practice I nearly cried again telling my coach the news.

The next week I had to get a bone scan and they would have the results in three days.

Those were the longest three days of my life.

The results came in positive for a stress fracture. I was told no running for four to six weeks. I also had to do physical therapy three times a week for six weeks. Talk about intense. I practically lived at PT.

I worked my booty off those six weeks. I did my exercises everyday and as a result I got to start running two weeks earlier.

It was hard. I could only run a few minutes at first but soon I could run a mile. After my six weeks were up, I returned to compete in three meets. I didn’t care how well I did, I was just happy to run. I have to remind myself when I am frustrated with running that at least I can run.

Summer conditioning went great and I started my sophomore season strong. Five miles became my regular run and I ran seven on long run days. The improvements I made in a year were incredible.

However the hip problems I had suffered from last cross country season returned. I worked with the trainer everyday and I did all my physical therapy exercises I had learned. I was frustrated. After seeing a doctor, I was sent back to PT for four weeks.

As of last week, my time had been extended to six weeks because I am not getting better and the therapists do not know the cause. The pain isn’t any better and almost everyday I have to take ibuprofen to suppress the pain.

I am still running right now but I am barely making it. I just have to get through this last race, even if the result is ugly.

It’s come to a point where I may have to decided whether destroying my body is worth running. Running isn’t as enjoyable anymore because I am always in pain. I just want to run and feel good. I love to run and I’ve chosen to be in it for the long run, but I’m not sure I made the right choice anymore.


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