"But what if I fall?"
"Oh but my darling, what if you fly?"
For the past three years I've had the pleasure of spending a few weeks with the Wallace family at what has become our annual summer training camp. Perfecting the balance of training, eating, and enjoying the occasional drink, those two weeks are my favourite of the whole summer. Usually I come to camp with a general training plan, and we just make up the days as we go along. This year it was a little different.
The past two years have been a struggle in terms of training and competing. I was unable to attain a fitness level that matched, let alone surpassed where I was in 2014. I thought I was training properly, eating correctly, doing exactly what the physio told me, and on a road to recovery from whatever injury I was dealing with at the time. It went from a stress fracture, to a variety of soft tissue issues, and I struggled to fully recover. I was sick and tired of worrying if stepping out of bed was going to cause pain; of basing my entire self-worth on my fitness and physicality; and of feeling as if I was never going to be considered an elite runner again. Dramatic, I know, but that was my reality at the time. I was the perfect definition of insanity: doing the same thing again and again, and expecting different results. So, something had to change.
Unbeknownst to me, the answer was sitting right in front of me. Since we met in 2010, every time I've a niggle, a life dilemma, been in need of a training partner, or a drinking buddy I would always turn to the same person. Starting out as my favourite athletic therapist, we became friends, and now he and his family have become an integral part of my support system. Colin Wallace saw me through a terrible collegiate career; prepared me for my first ever marathon at the NAIA Nationals; trained me through my first Boston Marathon; and offered me guidance over the years. As a coach, and an athletic therapist, he was the hybrid I needed. Finding a disconnect between physio's approval and returning to practices, I needed someone that understood both sides of the story.
Without going into the boring details of walk-running, tedious exercises, and cross-training so much I thought I was a triathlete, I've been slowly regaining fitness and confidence over the last few months. I'm thrilled every time I get the chance to run, especially now that I get to do workouts again, knowing that I'm building to something bigger and better than before.
"Running, one might say, is basically an absurd past-time upon which to be exhausting ourselves. But if you can find meaning, in the kind of running you have to do to stay on this team, chances are you will be able to find meaning in another absurd past-time: Life."