I was running down a road that begins at the end of our lane one morning.
My feet meet pavement.
My eyes meet rumbling clouds.
Breathing meets sweat and my inner circus of thoughts begin.
Times have changed since my first marathon forty years ago in Athens, Greece. It was hot then. It is even hotter now. I found the singlet I wore as an 18 year old running into that Olympic Stadium. I would like to think it still fits but it doesn't.
The changes in all those years, for the most part, have been good.
We have access to so much information now. Want to run a 5k? You can find a plan online. Questions about clothing, shoes, nutrition, hydration, injury prevention? There are hundreds if not thousands of resources. We can measure power in our stride. Analyze heart rate and breathing. We are motivated by stories of amazing people overcoming amazing difficulties. I-phone, Android, Strava, Garmin Connect, Google, You Tube, Instagram and Twitter smother us.
It is a blessing.
It is a curse.
The one thing that has not changed for many runners though is the importance of value.
Value of your body when it comes to injury.
I have seen it over and over and over again in the past couple of years.
We place short term gratification over long term satisfaction.
Compete at all costs.
It comes at a price.
The body is an amazing piece of human technology. It has built in self defense mechanisms to warn us of impending doom, all for the means of self preservation and yet our egos rule us and we can't even see it.
Aging is inevitable and it is necessary.
It begins at birth.
I remember watching my son lie on his back in a crib.
One day he was on his stomach. The next he could lift his head.
Soon he was on hands and knees. Then standing unsteadily. Then his first few steps led to walking. My point is this: These events had no set date in time. He progressed to each level just as we progress to certain points in our running, even as we face the reality of the creeping tide of aging that is moving in on us.
Yet, we still all want to be something we once were not realizing we never will be no matter what.
More is not better.
Harder is not always good.
There will be more days to lace up the shoes.There will be more races to run. Are you in it for the long run or just for likes on Facebook?
If you are hurt, stop running. Period.
Address the problem. Fix it. Keep fixing it.
Acceptance and attitude will heal all injuries.
Selfish neglect and denial just to be at a start line will not.
The late George Sheehan once wrote: "Anything that changes your values, changes your behavior."
You can lead by example. Would you have your son or daughter running around the back yard with a broken leg? Then why would you?
Value your body. Leave a lesson for your friends and family.
There is victory through attrition.
A constant barrage of doubts and circumstance will create the inner battles you must fight.
So be the last man standing.
The roads or trails you run on will always be there... .