I was a runner for 40 years. I started doing the Presidential Fitness Challenge during Physical Education in the 5th grade. Not long after, I ran my first 10K. It was the beginning of the running boom so the 10K and marathon were the only races. The Army, road racing, then trail racing ruled my life. Trails led to ultramarathons. I’ve run sections of many major ultra race courses and mountains. I’ve run in all lower 48 United States, Hawaii, Canada, Germany, France, and Australia. I was a runner.
Then, 3 years ago while ramping up for a trail ultramarathon, something rather quickly went wrong in my left calf. I was getting into CrossFit which led to Olympic weightlifting. I was doing many split jerks and it happens that my left foot goes back in the lunge. It was tightness or maybe overuse in the calf that let go. I let it rest a week, but couldn’t run at all. A week went to a month. Then I lost the Summer. I got deep into yoga and teacher training. But by the next Summer, I tried again. Nope, it went out again. This led to years of not running after running all my life. It has been heartbreaking.
Running was my release. I swore off roads long ago. I swore off shoes too. I am an outdoorsman. So hitting the trails is what connected me to my inner being. I’ve seen so much. I’ve endured wonderful hardships. I loved it.
So I try again. I’m on the treadmill running and walking with stupid soft shoes. My split jerks are no longer new to me. I am stronger. I’m ready for it. And YouTube metal and hard rock keeps me pleasantly occupied. I’ll soon add heavyhand dumbbells and ditch the shoes. You need strength for trails. This Fall, you’ll hear the pitter pat of feet on muddy trails. I can’t wait.