Had some random thoughts of lessons learned over the years of running...
Why is it we can't really appreciate what we have when we have it? No crystal ball to foretell the future, I guess. :-) I so wish I would have appreciated and taken more advantage of my youth when I had more free time and was able to run injury free. Busy life with kids and constant injuries puts a big damper on my running goals.
The longer I run, the more I have to cross train to stay healthy and be able to run. I'm feeling the effects of 13 years of racing and running through various injuries.
I also have to modify my diet, cut out more bad stuff, if I don't want to be as big as a house. This is an area though where I do think I took full advantage of eating whatever I wanted when I was younger. Just wish I hadn't developed so many bad habits and cravings for unhealthy foods.
With every injury, I learn more about my body and it's disfunction. A recent X-ray confirmed that I have a curve in my lower spine which results in one hip being higher and more internally rotated than the other. This is the source of my leg length discrepancy, lower back problems, hip pain, and probably also contributed to my foot problems. Some call it mild scoliosis. The good news it's possible to work on evening it out by doing strengthening exercises. I may never be able to change the internal rotation, but am hopeful that exercises will also help. I consider myself a pretty tough mental runner and can push through some bad pain, but when my body breaks down to the point of not working properly, I'm forced to change things. That means backing off of intensity and distance, and sometimes taking a break from running. Hence, the damper on my racing goals.
I've been a "competitive" runner almost since I started. Signing up for races was my main motivation in the beginning. It's how I stayed consistent with training and pushed my body to its limits. I've won, or even placed, very little in my age group, but that doesn't take away from the fact that I've enjoyed pursuing personal goals.
Injuries, kids, church activities, and changing priorities have all been game changers for me. I'm now trying to learn, to accept, how to run for fun, even just for recreation. Ouch, did I just say that? I still sign up for races, but I have to keep fighting against the urge to set specific time goals. Seems like when I do, I push too hard, get injured and frustrated and have to repeat this cycle all over again.
It's sometimes very hard to be around my still "competitive" running friends when that doesn't feel like it can be my focus anymore. I still enjoy running with them, but our goals are so different now.
Just trying to navigate through these changes. Bear with me. Going to be a slow process.