As social media has become more prolific, I’ve ended up hooking up with family, friends, and even made friends online – mainly through Facebook. In fact, the main reason I am on Facebook is to be with my running community friends.
One of the things that frustrates me is hearing people that are negative – you are ruining your body, we worry about you, why do you do these things, blah blah blah. If you are not an endurance athlete or involved in the endurance community (and this includes triathletes, cyclists, hikers, runners, walkers and many others) you won’t understand. You will never understand. You don’t need to understand. That’s okay. Honest. There are lots of things other people do (like stick tongues out in pictures, lots of selfies, name your poison) that brings them joy and I don’t understand. You know how I handle it? I ignore it. Really easy to do. I can even choose to “unfollow” someone if I don’t enjoy all the shares they make or constant posts. Because that is a choice I can make and I can always check up on them when I want.
So – with that out of the way – let me just say that there is no need to worry about the training I do. If I complain about a little pain or ache – that is a way for me to talk about things with my ultra friends. We do that. It doesn’t mean that I am in need of surgery or the emergency room. If I faceplant have have some good bruises – it makes for a fun (and occasionally painful) story. Same with toenails, blisters, sunburns, etc.
Something people don’t realize – most of my injuries in the last 11 years since I became an endurance athlete existed from prior to those days. I had multiple foot surgeries before I ever competed in a race. My serious case of plantar fasciitis stemmed from a fall after a foot surgery back in 1999.
All those articles about “running will ruin your knees.” Totally true – if you are a person that is susceptible to knee injuries. Come and talk to my friends and see how many years some of them have been running with no significant injuries.
I could quit running. I’ve seen the family history of obesity and depression. Guess what – most of those people have injuries too. Can’t blame them on running.
Don’t take this wrong – but my chosen sport is relatively safe. I am not skydiving, or swimming with sharks, or whitewater rafting, or hangliding, or wingwalking, or rockclimbing. I am putting one foot in front of the other – just for long periods of time. Most of the search and rescue operations are for people that are underprepared or just had some bad luck that day. I’ve seen people break a bone stepping off a curb while shopping. Quite the dangerous sport that is.
So – don’t worry about me. I am fine and having fun. I’d rather enjoy myself while I can than live in fear and sadness. I’ve seen that with my mother – it didn’t make her any happier to not do anything that to do stuff. For those of you that have shown up to my races or helped me on a long run or supported me in other ways – thank you. You know it means a lot to me and I know you understand that my choice of fun is different than yours, but very rewarding.
I’ve seen people have their life change in an instant. Usually it was not something they were doing wrong, but an unfortunate accident, or stroke, or something else that occurred. If that happens, I will learn to live with it. Probably won’t happen while I am training or racing. But I will sure have some good memories to help me out if my life does change.
And to my ultra family – I sure love you and love being accepted by you. This is ultra athletes, their families, volunteers, race directors and those of my “blood” family and friends that have joined in on this part of my life.
Oh – and just simply ignore my posts or unfollow me. One click and all your worries are done. 🙂