After running two mountain ultra’s last summer I knew I’d found something. I literally stumbled across an outlet to channel two of my favourite things: spending time in nature and pushing myself.
You may not relate to the same degree, and perhaps you voice valid concerns around the long term health of runners. I will say that this is something I think about daily. How sustainable is it to be running up and down mountains six days a week…
I’d like to be in the sport for the long haul — I hope that if I stay curious, I’ll achieve the longevity that I seek as I conquer the lofty goals I’ve set along the way.
This sounds all fine and dandy, but what happens when disaster strikes? When things don’t follow the plan you’ve laid out, you’ll suffer but eventually learn and gain some perspective as I’m finding.
Following a planned three week break from running in January, I got injured. Perhaps ironic that I got hurt after three weeks of little activity, but looking back, I jumped back into workouts too quickly.
There was pain and suffering, but mostly extreme frustration over the ensuing three months. I rehabbed like crazy, and was stabbed with more IMS needles in places I’d rather not share. Fortunately, this was not a serious injury. I know there are some of you going through much more serious health issues than mine and for you I can attempt to empathize.
Obstacles present opportunities
You all have struggles, and I won’t act as though mine are more important than yours. What this obstacle did for me was expose a weakness. My running gait (fancy word for form) was terrible.
It gave me the opportunity to learn and hopefully become a better runner.
I started reading everything I could about the particular injury, what sort of muscular imbalances and running style caused it, and how to treat it.
I pestered my physio, running coaches, and other resources on how to correct my issue, and more importantly, how to run properly.
I find it off that despite playing every sport under the sun growing up and competing at a high level for years, I was never taught how to run.
Seasons change, so do you
We’re in a constant state of transition. Whether personally, professionally, or spiritually, I like to think we’re all striving to become better versions of our current selves.
Part of transition is finding some life balance. Life is not always sunshine and butterflies. We project the highs but hide the lows. You have to learn to embrace the lows and put them in perspective for what truly matters.
Family, career, a social life, AND be active, well, and fit? I hear people say: “career, social life, fitness — pick two and be happy with what you have.” Maslow would not approve, that’s for sure.
I want it all, and you should too. We have to be selfish with certain things in life. I spend 15-20 hours a week running in the mountains, and I know this is inherently selfish. But it also makes me happy and allows me to balance sitting at a desk the rest of the day… the ultimate contrast.
Fulfillment in life comes from being content with yourself. Mountain running is making me eerily happy at the moment, so I’m going to keep doing it.
Speaking of mountain running: a race cometh
April 20 is my long awaited first race of the season in Ellensburg, Washington. I’m stoked to finally race again at the Yakima Skyline Rim 50km. I guess we’ll find out if my 5 am wakeups and hours spent with exercise bands around my knees doing goofy exercises is paying off.