If you had asked me as recently as two-and-a-half years ago what I thought about running, my response would’ve likely been something to the effect of “I only run if I’m being chased”. But for reasons largely unbeknownst to me, all of that changed about 2 years ago.
I had recently re-dedicated myself to daily regular exercise, riding the stationary bike and doing strength exercises each day. After a while of constant bike riding, I developed some hip pain, and decided that I had better start some type of cross-training. Staring at the new treadmill that I had purchased for the clinic, and thinking about the many runners that I have treated over the years, I thought “why not?”. Thus, my running “career” had started. In the beginning I was running very short distances exclusively on the treadmill, eventually working my way to the outdoors and even completing my first 5k race last spring with proceeds going to the Stevenson Memorial fund.
I have always been a goal-oriented person, and generally when I reach that goal I set a new, harder to attain goal. In the fall of 2019 I decided that I wanted to run a 10k in the spring of 2020, and if I wasn’t satisfied with that, I would try a half-marathon in the fall of 2020 (one of my running friends constantly reminds me that when I started running I said I would never run anything more than 5k). By this point I was running regularly 4-5x per week, but now my formal training was about to begin.
I ran with a friend outside most of the fall, but first a knee injury, then an ankle injury, combined with the cold weather, necessitated a move back to the treadmill and a significant reduction in mileage. After negotiating my way through those injuries, I decided on the Honda Barrie waterfront 10k as my first run of the year. The run was scheduled for June 7 which gave me plenty of time to train. I was back to running 6 days a week in January (sometimes 7) and began formally training for the run in April.
Unfortunately, as spring approached, so too did Covid-19. By March I had lost my running mate due to social distancing concerns, and in April it was made official that the run I had signed up for was canceled. Worse than the disappointment of the run cancellation, the stress at work began to build up worse than it ever had before. I was forced to send all of our therapists’ home and close the doors at the clinic to nearly all patients (except urgent cases). Despite all of this, I decided that “the show must go on”, I had after all set a goal.
My mom would tell you that I’m a driven person, and that when I make up my mind that I’m doing something, I do it. Now, I’m not sure if all of that is true, but I will say that I’m not a quitter. As the clinic that I worked so hard to build was turned upside down, and there was seemingly nothing I could do to change it, perhaps continuing to work towards my goal of running a 10k this spring was simply something that I could control? Maybe it was that running gave me something other than work to focus on, and perhaps it was just one thing that remained constant during this time of turmoil? Whatever the reason, I know that I want to follow through with this goal, official race or not.
I’m now 3 weeks away from completing my training and to be honest, I have no intention on stopping once I’m done. Perhaps I’ll take a day or two off after I run the 10k (against myself), but I’m sure that I will move on to the next goal. I ran my 5k “practice race” 2 weeks ago and was happy with the result. I have an 8k practice race coming up in a week as well. These days it’s just me, my running shoes and my music, no running partners in order to keep everyone around me safe. I certainly look forward to rejoining with my running mate, but I do also enjoy the solitude. Although my mind often wanders during the run, I think it’s the closest thing to meditation that a hyperactive-mind like mine can do.
I told my wife that I didn’t know what I would do if the government decided that we couldn’t run outside, but I’m sure it wouldn’t have been pretty! Thankfully that didn’t happen. Aside from always running alone, I certainly yield to the “walkers”, often hopping off the sidewalk and onto the road for periods. Otherwise running is one thing that really hasn’t changed much in the “new normal”. Hills are still challenging, cars can still dangerous, and people generally still give you a friendly wave as you pass by. Maybe it’s comforting finding that “the new normal still” has some things in common with “the old normal”?
I don’t know where this running journey will take me, and since so far everything that I’ve said I wouldn’t become, I have, I won’t try to predict. I do have a couple of ideas up my sleeve that I will share once the time is right. Until then, I’m just going to keep on running.
If you’d like to have a running assessment completed with gait analysis, training suggestions, and of course any injury rehabilitation, please feel free to reach out. I’m just as passionate about the physio side of running as I am about running itself!