A few weeks ago I was talking with my friend Mike while down at Cal U. Mike is an awesome runner and truly a great support system for me. We chatting about so much, but of course some of our discussions were about running.
He was telling me about this intense training plan he did over the summer. I was so impressed. He understood he was crazy for doing it (He wanted a 100 mile week!) and it wasn't for everyone. I told him I knew my body would never be able to handle something like that. I had a hard enough time with a 50 mile week when I trained for my first marathon in 2013.
Then he said something that I never really though of. He pointed out that he started running later in life. His legs didn't have as many miles on them as mine did. Mike also reminded me that I ran HARD in high school and beat the crap out of my body. Maybe this was why I was struggling with the higher distances.
This though had never crossed my mind. Ever. Most people I know that are runners did not grow up being a runner like I did. Most found running in their adult lives. I ran four years of track and two years of cross country in high school. I have some long standing injuries (IT Band and now SFX area) that if I started running later in life would probably not be haunting me near 30.
You cannot compare what I did in high school to running in my adult life. That is why you will often find me talk about running in my 20s as "adult running". You can't compare the two. I didn't have to worry about a full time job, bills, making time to run or my favorite - running after high school. I raced twice a week in both cross country and track. Full out racing. No wonder my body keeps breaking down.
You know what though, I wouldn't give all the miles back for anything. Track really helped me grow as a person. I learned how to roll with what is given with you, be a true leader and that no one would do the work for me. If I wanted to get better, I needed to put in the work. If that means I will never break four hours in the marathon or be able to "enjoy" the distance like most people, then I guess that's how it's going to be. I'm okay with that.
What I'm getting at here is all about the journey. I say the word journey so much, only because I truly believe it is the most powerful word I can use. The journey is something we all control but also strive for. No one can achieve your journey but you, and it is never finished. My journey is different from everyone else's and that doesn't make it any better or worse than yours. The things that sets my journey apart from some other people is that I chose to share mine with all of you. I choose to be raw, real and open to prove a point. The journey is the point.
Heading into the heart of racing season, I urge you to be real with yourself. Stop comparing your journey to someone else's. Be you, because you are pretty awesome the way you are!
Have you embraced your journey? What would help you get to that point?