Today I ran my 1,000th mile. Not “ever,” but since I’ve been tracking my runs using Nike+—first with the shoe insert thingy, then with my iPhone—since early 2011. And although I know plenty of people who probably cover that distance in much less time, I’m pretty proud of this achievement.
I have plenty of excuses not to run. I have three small kids and a crazy-busy job. I live where there are long stretches in the summer with temperatures soaring above 100. In the winter it drops down to the low 40s (which by native-Californian standards is practically freezing). I’ve torn my hamstring and had a knee injury at the end of 2012. But there’s something about running that keeps pulling me back in. It’s partly my competitive nature and partly the freedom of moving. It’s also therapeutic, getting me outside and in motion to clear my head and relieve stress, and has been a great way to take care of myself these last few years.
When I had to stop running at the end of 2012 because of pain in my knee, I was really worried that I had finally reached that point in my “old age” where I had to consider giving up running. I was pretty depressed at that thought so I searched for alternatives. Rather than go to the doctor, as a last effort, I tried minimalist running. It was every bit the rough, painful transition that I had read about, but I felt more in tune with my body and the ground and how I moved. It really took the better part of 2013 to fully regain my strength and speed, but I’m here now. I’ve made it and I’m actually faster than ever. Here’s my stats from June 18, 2012 (4.0mi), pre-injury in “normal” shoes:
And here’s my stats from today (4.27mi), post-injuries, minimalist style:
Even though I have to take longer breaks between runs, I’m running a little further and a full 15s faster per mile. But more importantly, my knee doesn’t hurt. No doctors, no surgery, just a change in footwear and a complete overhaul in my mechanics.
It would have be easy to just give up. Every single day it’s easy to cross things off my list that are good for me in lieu of one more project at work or one more thing around the house. But breaking this 1,000-mile barrier reminds me that I’m capable of enduring and I’m capable of changing over time to make my life better and make me better.