by Tori Howard
Over the years I’ve had my fair share of running related injuries. It seems I can’t escape it. I’ve tried everything to avoid injury. Year after year I’m battling some ill-fated pain that restricts my running. I’ll admit that it has become tiresome. I have never been known as a quitter but a person such as myself that is faced with running related pain time and time again starts to question what’s important when it comes to running.
Today as I ran the 3M half marathon as an injured runner, I questioned why I run and what I want to take away from my marathon training this season. My season comes to an end on March 4th with the New Orleans Rock and Roll marathon. Will I get to race on that day, will I reach my goal, or will I be forced to run easy with the hopes of avoiding a DNF? I don’t know the answer to these questions.
Being injured season after season brings on a incurable loneliness. I’ve missed workouts, reduced my mileage, and been forced to run slower than I would like as my training buddies continued on without me. I know all these things are necessary in order to return to training, but necessary doesn’t make it easy.
I’ve met some incredible people through Rogue. Friendships were instantly formed and we have been inseparable for months now. We run together twice a week, communicate in some way at least five days a week and we always encourage and support one another. I can’t imagine training for another marathon without them.
Over the past few weeks my injuries began to zap the fun out of running. My husband, the one person that has supported me without fail since I started running marathons years ago, asked me to find the fun again. He said that the fun may come from running fast, running with my dogs, doing a fun race or running with my Rogue friends. I’m such a goal-oriented person that I often forget about the fun aspect. For me, I get so caught up in the goal setting and making my goals a reality that when I don’t achieve them, I feel empty. If you fail to find the fun in running and only focus on the goal, you ultimately set yourself up for the possibility of emptiness.
I’ve heard people say that running a marathon is not only about race day but also about the journey of getting there. The friendships born during this season have helped me to truly understand that. The thought of not being able to race makes me sad, but the memories of fun times with my friends is something that will last long after race day is over. So, as the end of this season draws near I realize that my injuries may keep me from achieving my goals but unreachable goals will not leave me empty. 26.2 miles of friendship and fun memories will leave me fulfilled and longing for more.