I recently ran across a forum where a guy was lamenting his injury from a fall. He split and sprained a knee. He felt “empty” inside. I told him this:
All running is good running. If you can run5k, that’s a good time. If you do that regularly you can double the distance. I have fallen many times. I split my knee open in January, the worst knee injury I’ve had in 20 years. I had to walk with a brace for a month. Horrible. I couldn’t even bike because the femoral cartilage was detached behind the patella. My knee looked like a tennis ball. But slow, Atticus. It took me two months to run a pain-free 5k.
I just enjoy running. I completed my first marathon in four months last weekend. It was difficult. I haven’t run one in so long, but I did it. I have 40-mile trail race in three weeks. My goal is to finish. I always try to find challenges that are a little too big. I failed my first two 50-milers. Little failures are like that crappy pavement. It’s a touchstone – more of an ouchstone – that you would’ve never reached if you hadn’t tried in the first place.
Are you a member of a running club? I’m a member of three clubs. A support network is amazing. I like clubs because I increase the chance of being the one to help someone up, to give someone a hug and some words of encouragement, someone to be remembered as a friend. Play it forward and you’ll never give up.
Accepting encouragement is a gift that can be returned in spades. Whether or not we run alone or on a team, in our neighborhoods or in big races, on road or on wild trails, we run together, in the spirit of it. Whenever a local running legend gave me some encouragement, I was able to push through and become better, run healthier. Yesterday I met a runner who just completed her first marathon. She was so stoked. I encouraged her. Just like me, she never would have thought she could have run a Marathon with a capital M. I was so happy for her. She’s telling me I’m a real runner. I’m telling her she’s a real runner.
If you fall, someone will help you up. Karma is indomitable. Run, recover, repeat.