First of all, let me say that I am so grateful for you. You allow me to do so many amazing things, and I believe you were specially built to handle one of my most favorite things to do: running. Thank you for sticking with me through the many ups and downs. I know I haven’t always respected you the way I should. Sometimes I run you into the ground and injure you. Sometimes I don’t run or strengthen you enough and let our hard work fizzle.
I am sorry for taking you for granted. I am sorry for the times I’ve looked in the mirror and been disappointed or felt inadequate. I know I can look at my big legs and see strength, at my small feet and see speed, at my puny arms and see potential. But sometimes I don’t. Thanks for sticking with me despite those times of negative self-perception. The truth is I love what we can do when we work together. I love when crest a hill and fly down the other side. I love when we hit our lap splits like robots. I love when we burst off the final turn and dig deep for a finishing kick.
I can’t wait for us to do these things again, but I will wait, so we can be strong and ready together. For now, thank you for adapting to the cross training, for letting me push you in new ways and in new sports. We can get through this.
A special note for my right foot – I’m sorry you took the brunt of me ignoring other injuries and I’m even more sorry for being frustrated at the time you’re taking to heal. I promise we’re gonna figure out what’s really going on and then get healed. I know you’re part may seem small to play in the scheme of things, compared with the rest of my body, but I need you, my little fourth and fifth metatarsals. We’re a team, and you’re a vital part of it. I need you healthy, and we’re going to make it happen.
You are strong, there’s no doubt about it. Sometimes that strength works for our good, other times, I let it be our greatest enemy. We dreamed up crazy dreams together about life, love and yes, running. So far, we’ve been able to turn so many of those dreams into reality. Together we’ve pushed through boundaries of fear, doubt and pain I never imagined we could break. And yet there have been times where the mental hole of despair we dug was so deep, I never thought we’d get out. Some days, we’re still just climbing out and it seems endless, but our good memories are strong and our belief in the future is taking root.
Remember our first trip to Cross Country Nationals in 2007? How many times did we picture the 3k and 5k marks together before the race? We pictured feeling good and running well, and that’s exactly what happened. How about indoor conference 2008? The whole last lap you knew you could win even though it seemed impossible. It was our secret, our unshakeable knowledge that we could do it. Remember Outdoor Track Nationals 2009? Move after move we held on, we stayed un-fazed, all the way to a dream come true 2nd place finish. We’ve toed so many starting lines with absolute confidence, both in practice and in races.
It’s time to think about healing. We need to be whole and healthy in every way if we want to keep attaining what we dreamed up as a 13 year old, 17 year old, 21 year old and now. There is time. There is a way. But I need you.
Do you remember when we met? I don’t. I’m sure I was too young to have any hope of remembering my first running steps. But I do know we grew close during my soccer years. Remember the connection we felt with the ball? Together we did all we could to be in the perfect position on the field at all times so we could contribute to the game. There was nothing we loved more than beating someone to the ball.
I know that you saved me when I broke my arm in 7th grade and could no longer play soccer. Either that, or my broken arm saved me by helping me really discover you. Not that those first few months of cast-ed running were very pretty. They weren’t. But it didn’t take long for me to both love and dread all you had to offer. The pain and sweat and nerves for races were not enough to keep me from the joy running brought : the fluidity of arms and legs pumping in time, and the challenge that fed my competitive spirit.
It’s been a rocky relationship at times. Times when I’ve let you “run” my life. Times where I’ve dreaded you, times where I love you too much, break ups and make ups. But I still think we were made for each other. I still think we have unfinished business. In fact, I hope we always have unfinished business of one kind or another, that way we can always be together.
I’m doing all I can to get back to you in a healthy way. Please, please wait for me.
P.S. I miss you.