So it’s only two weeks in to my marathon training plan and somehow I’m already sidelined with an IT band that’s waging war on my knee… not really the impressive training kick-off I was hoping for. Initially when the pain started, I shrugged it off and kept pressing on. I’m pretty good about doing stability exercises and getting in the weight room. And, I haven’t been injured in two years so I wrote the pain off as some typical wear and tear that needed rolling out and a little TLC. Me injured? Of course not. I cross-trained for a week, jumped back into running, in which my knee then locked up and said "absolutely not". Actually immediately after I finished this workout pictured here.
I’m bummed and a little discouraged, but it’s nowhere near the worst thing in the world. Not even close. So after deciding my pity party should really come to an end I went back and read a speech I wrote for high schoolers at a running camp a few weeks back.
It seems like a good time to take my own advice.
When Chris (my college coach) asked me to speak, basically on behalf of the super impressive athletes I know, I felt like I had this plethora of wisdom, fun facts, and weird professional racing and training anecdotes to wade through… After mulling it over I decided to go with the news I wish someone had told me in high school when I first started track my sophomore year, and again my junior year when I didn’t come close to my sophomore PR’s, and again my senior year when I made progress but I didn’t feel like it was enough to justify running in college, and then again my freshman year and sophomore year of college when I felt like quitting altogether... Oh and once again my senior year when I felt like I didn’t have enough time to reach the goals I wanted to achieve.
And that big news is - Congrats! You haven’t peaked!
And some of you guys are like “yeah, clearly” and maybe some of you are like “wait I’m so great, honestly I can’t go up from here” and most likely the majority of you are thinking “THANK THE LORD”
One common thread in all my conversations with pros, no matter how naturally gifted, no matter how successful, goes a little like this “at one point I wanted to quit (or even did quit) / at one point it felt like I hit a wall, but I loved running so I kept working hard, I had patience, I trusted the process, and then... small victory”. Repeat again - “I loved running, I kept working, kept being patient, trusted the process, small victory"... and repeat... and repeat… then BAM! Breakthrough! Some it took three years of grinding, some five, some even seven! and maybe you are like "wow that’s so cool but I’m really just thinking as far ahead as what’s for dinner tonight”
True, me too, but I can’t stress this enough - your ceiling of running success is so much higher than you think it is (caveat if you love the sport. If you actually have a deep-seated hatred for running and this is something your parents swindled you into, take another passion and apply it here) even though it may seem impossible right now to think that long term.
Since that’s easy to say here are some actual examples… [ I went on to talk about examples such as Kara Goucher, Allie Kieffer, Steph Bruce, Mel Lawrence, and my own personal growth through high school, to college, to post-collegiate]
What’s so great about the sport of running is that examples like the previous aren’t far and few between. I could have continued by listing off the progress of several of my college teammates, all who made significant jumps with consistent and intentional training.
Which brings me to a fun question we like to ask our pros - what is your superpower?
Some of my favorites are…
“I’m patient” - Mel Lawrence
“I’m steadfast to a fault” - Collier Lawrence
“My ability to believe in myself” - Allie Kieffer
So be patient, be steadfast to a fault, and believe in yourself. The running journey is a long one and you’re just at the beginning.
The running journey really is a long one and I’m proud to be surrounded by a community of women who are examples of that. So for now, I will focus on taking care of my body whatever that may entail. Gotta keep it fresh for the long haul.