We’ve all heard the age-old saying, “You have to walk in someone’s shoes to truly understand them”. Nevertheless, in my case, you’re going to have to run in my shoes to comprehend my story. So, lace up tight and let’s explore one of the unkind courtesies of working out.
Picture this: you begin your run on a flat, quiet road at the crack of dawn. You bask in the cool air of morning, watching the horizon, where you can see the sunrise scratch the earth. I started jogging about five years ago, in my second year of college. I had told everyone that I was running to feel healthier, but every time I looked in the mirror my face morphed into that of my crush, telling me I needed to lose weight. Whatever the motivating factor, I had begun a hobby that would soon become part of my identity.
Let’s get back to your run, shall we? You’ve ran your first kilometre now, and you approach a steep uphill climb. You can feel the sweat dripping down your back, drenching the sports bra that you’ve already had to wash too many a time. Your calves are already burning, but this moment determines whether you fight or flight in the face of a challenge. Do you run the hill, or take a break and walk up? Three years after I started life as a runner, I myself had risen to the occasion in the face of many challenges. Be it a five or ten-kilometre run, I was shredding the streets of my campus and wearing out the treadmill at home. Little did I know, that in a twinkle of an eye- or shall I say the fracture of a bone- this would change indefinitely.
Now, where were we? You chose to run up the hill, and now you’re panting uncontrollably. You run past an attractive man taking a morning stroll with his dog, and try to comport yourself, only to end up panting all the more. Just what you needed…sigh. The sun has become bold, burning your back with its potent glare. You’re at your third kilometre, and you finally pause to take the break you’ve earned. In 2020, years of running finally caught up to me when I experienced a serious bone fracture in my right foot that left me unable to walk properly for months. “Bones don’t reform themselves at this age; this injury will be permanent, but you won’t feel the pain after a while”- the words of the orthopaedic doctor ran through my mind in the same way I thought I might never run again. I felt like my body had given up on me. I felt weak. I felt defeated.
Let’s finish this, shall we? After taking a short break, you run your last two kilometres with speed and determination. You eventually cross your five-kilometre goal and you feel a runner’s high! You did it! Got yourself up in the morning, and ran a 5k. What can’t you do now? The day is yours to conquer. Weak in the knees, and thirsty but euphoric, you stop and stare at back at the miles you’ve covered as far as your eye can see. Yes, you’re capable of that and so much more. Now that I have painted a picture of what a typical run looks like for me, maybe you can begin to understand why I still run despite my injury. Fitted with medically prescribed soles to wear in my running shoes, I still take to the streets three to four times a week to jog my stress away. One of the unkind courtesies of fitness and workouts are the many possible injuries. They are a harsh reality of putting strain on your muscles and joints. But here is the silver lining- they can be avoided by pacing out the intensity of your workouts and varying your exercises to workouts that are not as hard on the joints as running, for example! If you already have an injury, it does not have to stop you as long as you have sought a professional medical opinion which allows it.
Your body is amazing- it stretches, bends and heals to try to make sure you survive on this planet as long as possible. I started running for all the wrong reasons, but it has become a positive way to relieve stress, lose weight through cardio, and actually feel healthier. So, now that you’ve ran in my sports shoes, I hope you’ll put on your own and find your passion for exercise!