Are you injured yet? asked me a friend a couple of years ago. At that time, I had just started running and racing in Central Park, and my friend was on a long streak of shin splints: the possibility of an injury wasn’t much a possibility, rather almost a reality. I learned this the hard way.
When I started I thought I wouldn’t, couldn’t get injured; it’s something wrong with them, not possibly with me. I was, obviously, wrong; injuries are a reality and a malady of the trade.
It’s hard to stay positive when injured, not just for not being able to do what I want to do, but mostly because of realizing how quickly I’m losing the conditioning I worked so hard to obtain.
After three months of trying everything conservative, from physical therapy to Graston massage to iontophoresis, I decided to try one last resort: platelet rich plasma (PRP) treatment. It’s all but pleasant; the injection is painful — though not as painful as I thought it would be by reading on running forums — and now I’m limping more than ever. Hopefully it will help.
I thought whether it’s all worth it; the insurance covers it, so thankfully I don’t have to worry about that, but … does it all make sense? I’m far from being an elite runner, I’m not even dreaming of qualifying for the Olympic trials; already qualifying for Boston would be a great achievement. I keep on wondering: why do I stick with running so much? I can’t even think to come 4th in a local race. Giving up would be so much easier.
I am stubborn, but that doesn’t cut it all. I have many unfinished businesses with running, my lofty goals: a marathon in 3:10, a sub-1:30 for the half, and a sub-20 and sub-40 for the 5k and 10k respectively. Deena Kastor once said  after graduating from the University of Arkansas in 1995 without having won any national title (yet…)
I didn’t feel that I had done everything for my running. I felt I had much more potential and I didn’t want to walk away from it.
My goals are very different from Kastor’s, but in a similar way I feel I don’t know what my limits are and I need to know.
On Sunday, the 37th Annual Jones Group Realtors 10 Mile Road Race, known locally as the Jones 10 Miler, was run by 250+ runners; I wanted to join, but the injury took me away from it — it’s a spectacular, technical course, not pancake-flat, record setting: hills are tough and real.
Sunday wasn’t ideal for racing; despite mild temps in the mid-30s, it snowed all night and a slushy blanket of snow covered half the course. Still more than 250 runners entered the race and lined up at 11am at the start.
Not being able to run, I offered to help the organizers and the local running community. There were probably more volunteers than needed and we waited in the cold for the runners to reach the finish line. With two others, I was a clicker, that is, the guy who “clicks” to register the time of runners crossing the finish line (most local races don’t use chips).
Next to the finish line, I watched all the runners, from Justin Fyffe and Heidi Westerling-Westover who won in 52:53 and 59:12 respectively, to all the others who traced their steps. It’s something I miss when I race: the winners running comfortably at paces I don’t dream of, and all the races within the race as friends try to beat their competition/friend in the last few hundred yards.
The course record (48 and 57 minutes respectively) remained unbeaten, as the weather conspired against.
 Matt Fitzgerald, “RUN – the mind-body method of running by feel,” Velo Press, 2010 [back up]