You may be injured, but you are not defeated.

You may be injured, but you are not defeated.

From one injured runner to another.

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For one of the first times in my life, I hated running. I couldn't even fathom the thought of lacing up and running for an hour- or even 10 minutes. But now, now I long to be able to run for even just a couple steps.

Dear Injured Runner,

It's funny how you never truly appreciate something until you can no longer do it.

Running is not a chore, it is a privilege.

No one is entitled to a good run, or a good race just because they did everything right. You can do all the little things; ice, stretch, foam roll, epsom salt bath, ice bath, recovery runs, off days- and still somehow break. The pain of the injury is uncomfortable, but what's unbearable is the fact that you can't do the one thing that keeps you sane.

I told myself I would crawl, walk, drag myself across that Boston Marathon finish line. But for what? To say that I completed the most prestigious marathon in history? Why does this marathon hold more power over me than any other one before?

Does it mean anything if you do it while injured? Does it make you a better runner if you run it? Does it make you less of a person if you drop out? Do you base your worth off of the miles that you run? What are you trying to prove, and to whom?

You didn't come this far to only come this far, but you also didn't come this far to potentially risk an injury that could turn into something much worse. See for the longest time I based my worth off of 2 simple letters- PR. Person Records were all I was concerned about, I had to beat the person I was the last time I raced. Then I realized just how good I had gotten, then my main focus became primarily around 2 new letters, BQ. I did everything I could to Qualify for the Boston Marathon, eating better, running faster, lifting harder. Isolating myself to become the best runner I could be- so hard that I pushed myself to tearing all the ligaments in my left foot 2 years ago. I kept pushing, causing a prolonged injury. After the proper time off, I promised myself that if I ever got hurt again I wouldn't push myself. I did everything “right". Then I finally BQed. I finally thought of myself as a worthy runner. I felt as if I was apart of this elite Instagram group of Boston Qualifiers and people would finally think I was good enough.

So here I am, 3 BQ times later, 26 days out and completely heart broken. Never in a million years did I think this would happen, but I’ve learned that in running nothing is guaranteed. I would run through just about any injury, but this time it's different. This time my gut is screaming, begging, pleading "no". My heart says go for it, but my mind and body are telling me that I do not want to risk another serious injury. Is it worth it sacrificing the long term for this short term goal? Is it worth hurting yourself just to prove yourself to others? Prove you're "fast" enough, or "fit" enough? When is enough, enough?

I spent the last month trying to convince myself I loved running, no matter how hard it was. Now, it seems that all I needed was an injury to prove to me how much I in fact need running. I asked for God to show me the love that I had lost, and He did. Maybe not in the way I was hoping for, but I have to trust in His timing and His plan. I know things happen for a reason, and I have to keep my faith and trust in Him in order to understand why. It's hard to keep the faith when the answers are unclear, but doubting God would be much worse. A friend reached out to show me a verse that may help me through my struggle, "It was good for me to be afflicted, so that I may learn your decrees." Psalm 119:71.

As runners, there is no true finish line. There will always be one more race, one more run, one more mile. We will never know it all, and we may never have all the answers. But we keep showing up.

I have a lot left to learn, a lot of miles left to discover, but I will never let doubt destroy my faith. No more questioning, no more feelings of defeat. I asked for God to challenge me, He is testing me, and through this I will change.

I am strong enough to overcome this battle, and I will be stronger once I do.

So for the next 26 days I will pray, and if a miracle happens then so be it, but it is out of my hands for now.

So keep showing up, even when it's pouring rain or gusting winds. Show up. Lace up. Go for it. Run. Run until you can't run any more. And then turn around and run back. You never know when your last run for a while may be, so don't take it for granted. I've learned that a bad run, a slow run, a short run, is a million times better than not being able to run at all. So appreciate it. Thank it. Love it. Because running loves you.

Love,

A fellow injured, heart broken runner.

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Yes, My Boyfriend Is My Best Friend, Through Thick And Thin

I know he'll always be by my side.

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My boyfriend is my best friend.

Sure, I have other people I consider my best friend, but he is ultimately my number one. For the past year, he's been, my go-to guy. He's the first person I go to for everything. Advice, confidence, wisdom, a good laugh, a shoulder to cry on, he's there.

He can make me laugh harder than my favorite Friends episodes, and those crack me up even if I've seen them a million times. He's the goofiest guy I know and always makes me laugh, even when I'm mad at him.

He gives me the best advice when I'm in a tough situation, and always knows what to say.

When I'm feeling down about myself, school, my future, anything, he always gives me the confidence to believe in myself. He's my number one fan and supporter, and is constantly "juicing me up."

Being four years apart in age, he's always giving me wisdom and advice from things he's experienced in his life so I can learn and better myself. He's always trying to guide me in the right direction.

I'm an emotional mess and he's always there to comfort me.

He makes me feel special. No matter where we are or what we're doing, he manages to make me feel like the only girl in the world.

He loves me through the ups and downs, my quirks, my flaws and everything in between.

My boyfriend is my best friend and I'm OK with that.

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What We Often Forget About The 2013 Boston Marathon

The runners prepared to the best of their abilities for the marathon of their lives. But none of them could have ever anticipated what was about to come at mile 26.

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As I sit down to write this, we are 11 days away from the 123rd Boston Marathon. This year's race marks the 6th anniversary of the bombings on April 15th, 2013. Before 2013, no one thought that a marathon would be a place of an attack. Now, six years later, we know that anything is possible.

In 2013, there were over 23,000 runners. If you think that, in 2014, there were fewer runners, then you are sadly mistaken. In 2014, 36,000 runners were accepted to run the marathon, which was the second largest race pool in Boston's history. There were about a million spectators to line the course, more than double a typical year for this city.

At the race in 2013, three lives were lost, 16 people lost their limbs, and hundreds of others were injured. It would make sense that if, in the following year, less people registered for the race, and less people spectated, due to fear. But this is America, and that is Boston. The bombings didn't scare future competitors away. Instead, it brought them together and gave them something to fight for, to represent.

With qualifying for the most prestigious marathon in history, and running with some of the top athletes in the world, it's almost easy to forget what those of the 2013 marathon endeavored.

They laced up on Monday morning, selected their race outfit, quickly ate their pre-race breakfast, hurried into their corrals, and waited. They have been counting down to this very day for months. They all had time goals and dreams of personal bests, and some just wanted to enjoy every second and have fun.

Everyone had different intentions for their race that day. They prepared to the best of their abilities for the marathon of their lives. But none of them could have ever anticipated what was about to come at mile 26.

I had just started running of January 2013, nothing more than a 5k around the block. I vividly remember coming home from school, helping my dad set the table for dinner, and we had the news on just like every night. Then, we saw it.

We saw the videos, and we could feel the pain and the fear through the TV. I hardly considered myself to be a runner then, but ever since then, I have felt the need to run Boston.

While I'm finally getting another chance at the marathon of my dreams, and another marathon to run, I remember that moment I saw on TV, the moment that changed the way I felt about marathons.

I've always been about pushing myself, running my best and hardest, and fastest times for every marathon, but that's not what Boston is about.

They say that once you make that left onto Boylston Street, you can't hear yourself think. Everyone is screaming so loud and cheering you on, that their voices physically create a sound wave that carries you through to the finish line. It's the most magical part of the whole course; the energy is like no other. To think that is the exact place where three innocent people lost their lives is heart-wrenching.

I'm less than two weeks away from the race I've been working so hard for, for the last four years. While I always imagined myself leaving Boston with a shiny new personal best time, I know that's not what this race or this city is about. It's about unity. It's about passion. It's about endeavoring.

As I approach the hardest miles of the race, when the tough gets really tough, and my legs are begging me to stop, I'll remind myself that the marathon isn't about me.

This marathon is about the 30,000 others running beside me, and the millions of others who have ran this race before us, and the millions who have stood out in the various weather conditions to cheer everyone on. To those who still choose to fight through their injuries from the 2013 bombings, and are brave enough to keep showing up.

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