Patient Spotlight: Learning to Run For the Love of It (Again)

I have been in the midst of two years of on again off again running related injuries—mostly on again.

I have run many miles still in that time, but the mileage and races have often been far below what my hopes and ambition set out to do and it’s been a struggle to mentally come to terms with what my body is telling me it needs.

Through the last year I have spent a lot of time healing at Physical Therapy Elite. I have learned so many things from Jess about the physical but maybe even more about the emotional and mental aspects of running and healing. Last fall, when a knee injury derailed my plans to race the California International Marathon, a chance trip to Budapest presented itself and I said yes. I loved that trip for so many reasons but it was also hard because I felt devastated that yet again another small thing had turned into something bigger.

Before I left, the advice PT Elite gave to me was, run for the love of it. Run only when you feel like it. For a type A, competitive athlete that’s actually a hard thing to do. But one morning I truly got lost in the love of running and left all my shoulds, hopes and disappointments on the Pest side of the city.

Here’s what I wrote about the unplanned magical run:

'I ran all over the Buda side of the city this morning. One staircase I spied AND said yes to was all it took to derail my ‘planned’ run. It was truly an adventure run. I ran slow, took a lot of pictures, covered a lot of ground and enjoyed the way my love of running allowed me to explore nooks and crannies of the city in a shorter period of time. I’ve never really run like this in my life.

I’m always training for something or telling myself I have to perform easy, fun runs at this arbitrary level dictated by this arbitrary standard in my mind.

When I’m an old and grey, I have a suspicion I’ll wish I took more runs like this. Sometimes not knowing where you’re going sucks. It ends up not being very runnable. Other times, it’s pure bliss and the world really feels like your oyster. I may not be able to run CIM or train right now, but what gratitude I felt to be able to run up and down the hills of Buda today with these two legs of mine, wobbly knees and all.

Thank you to PT Elite and my running coach for inspiring me to just breathe and run for the love of it right now. I would not have taken that staircase without your wise words.’