Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Jackson’s Journal: A Runner’s Reality Check

Volte Coach Traci Jackson
A little over a month ago, I woke up one morning with back pain.

It progressively got worse to the point I had to get an MRI done.

The results?  I had three bulging discs and osteoarthritis in my spine.

And my chiropractor’s initial response?  “You might want to give up running, especially on hard surfaces, and buy an inversion table.”

As you can imagine, I didn’t find that an acceptable option.

Living in this small east Texas town has been quite a challenge to find the right doctors (there is only ONE orthopedic spine doctor here) and the right course of therapy.

I’m sure most of you feel the same way:  If something is “broken” and its impeding your running in any way, you want to, HAVE to fix it and fast!

While dealing with phone calls, insurance and appointments, I kept thinking to myself, “What IF I never ran again?”

That question brought up so many different emotions and I was a little surprised what came up.

Was I satisfied with what I had accomplished?  Yes, I am proud of my past race performances but what I remember and cherish the most are the runs leading up to them.

What bothered me most about not being able to run was the training being taken away -- my “therapy” sessions with my running partner(s), the Saturday morning runs and getting to hang with my favorite friends who understand this crazy runner’s world.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love race day and the energy surrounding it, pushing yourself to your limits and testing your training. The feelings you get after completing a race are amazingly indescribable.

But really what I love most are the daily runs -- group runs, solo runs, runs in the heat, humidity, cold and rain, etc.

The runs where memories are made, secrets are shared and things are learned about oneself.

When it came down to it, all I wanted was to be ABLE to run.

Running is so much more to me than racing.

And that was what I was faced with when I did entertain the thought of the “What if?”

A good friend gave me this quote in a beautiful frame:  “Life and running are not all about the time, but about our experiences along the way.”  So true.

My running hasn’t been defined by races or hitting certain paces, but about the people I have met and trained with and learned from.

Are there any races you just *have* to do?

Or a new training method/approach you’d like to try or challenge yourself with?

Is there someone in your life that you want to share your love of running with but have been putting it off?

On that note, I do also have to add that in my “What if?” thinking I was having, it absolutely crushed me to think I wouldn't be able to coach anymore.

Sure one can coach without being an active runner but for me and my coaching style, I draw on all areas of running including my own current experience as a runner.

I LOVE coaching and sharing my love and passion for running.

So in closing, ask yourself this, “If your running days were over tomorrow, are you satisfied with the runner you are today and what you have accomplished?”

What would you change? Or would you be completely at peace not running another step?”

Unless, of course, there was a zombie apocalypse. That is what those “non-runners” say why they’d ever run, right?

Happy, HEALTHY miles to you all,

Coach TJ

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