I Want to Run Until I’m 85.

As I’m dealing with a little achiness in my foot today, I was digging through some old journal entries and was reminded of a powerful moment, that I thought I’d share here:

In March 2010, I was sitting with a podiatrist talking about the tendonitis that I’d been battling in my left foot since November. I hadn’t realize what it was for awhile and had tried lots of self treatment stuff, like rest, icing, etc.

I’d visited a Kaiser doctor that  told me to STOP RUNNING PERIOD, which, um, no thanks, I know better. And they prescribed orthotics, which Kaiser doesn’t do…so I had to find an outside provider. I was glad I did, though, because the podiatrist I found comes from an athletic perspective and treats lots of athletically-minded people. He even does Iron Man triathlons himself, so it was nice to have a kindred spirit in my corner. After our initial getting to know each other, he was doing my intake questions and asked:  “So…what are your goals?”

And without really thinking about it, I say:  “To run until I’m 85.”

I was being facetious, but I totally meant it and it seemed like a natural thing to say. But, he looked a little confused and then said, “Oh…I was just wondering if you have a particular race/event that you’re training for? Like another half-marathon or something?”

And that was kind of a big moment for me.

Why?

Because it made me realize how much that answer of mine says about my fitness philosophy. That is, that I don’t believe being a fit person means that you need to be abusing your body, putting yourself in dangerous situations or not listening when your body is telling you that something is wrong. That isn’t to say that I don’t believe, without a doubt, that you should push yourself beyond your limits. Being uncomfortable doesn’t mean you are injured. It means you’re working hard. That is good. That is where your most significant gains in fitness come from.

What I’m talking about is the fact that I had tendonitis for 5 months, was aware of it the whole time and paid attention to it. I didn’t run a half-marathon in February of that year that I’d paid for, and really wanted to run, because of this issue. Because I knew better. And you know what? One month after treatment with this podiatrist (and $500 spent on custom orthotics!) and I was able to run again.

I’ve had other injuries since then including some issues in my feet. But I’m still here. I’m still running (albeit short distances). I’m still lifting. But I’m taking care of myself and trying my hardest to do it right. To do it safely. So that I can run until I’m 85. Or older. Hell, let’s shoot for the stars kids!

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