"If you aim for a lifetime of running, you will hit bumps on the road. The challenges we each encounter are uniquely ours, but they will come. We all have good years and bad. Shift happens. Life requires us to make adjustments, to change course. Some years, when the waters of your life are calm and you feel a sense of control at the helm, you'll race hard, and hope for personal bests. Other years, beset by a perfect storm of turbulence, you'll have to settle for less. That's okay. Less is still something; just don't surrender and abandon ship."
Things happen in life that just change our usual routines.
That was what the metatarsal stress fracture on my right foot did early this year.
I was set to run a 17K race for the broadcasting company I used to work with when the injury hit me on a training run. The excruciating pain on my right foot whenever it hit the road told me I had to say goodbye to the race. I eventually had to say the same to all my runs when the doctor diagnosed my injury as a metatarsal stress fracture and had my right foot placed in a cast for 4 weeks.
It was another 4 weeks before I started a walk-to-run routine.
Another event changed my usual routine in June.
I got an offer to work again with the broadcast network where I had spent most of my employment years. I said yes - and that meant moving to another location, travelling a hundred kilometers by bus to be with my family weekly, and taking on early morning board work. Things which also meant I had to make changes in my running routine.
The time available for my morning runs became limited. I only had an hour on weekdays -4 to 5 am- to squeeze in a morning run. The most I could do was a 12K run at an easy pace. I had to squeeze in an afternoon run if I wanted to put in more mileage.
My training skeds got disrupted as well. As a result, I had to give up some races. I didn't do the two main races which I had been doing almost yearly since I started running again - the Milo Marathon regional elimination and the Davao Finishers' Marathon. I felt I wasn't a hundred percent for either race.
The truth is I could have just gone easy in both races, go for the finish and nothing more. But I knew I would be frustrated by the fact that I didn't do better than my previous runs. The decision not to run was no doubt disappointing, but I lived through the feeling telling myself it was for the better.
The year wasn't all bad, though. I had my little triumphs. I ran a local 10K in my hilly hometown in May. It wasn't much - a 48:05.36 good for 10th overall. But having ran with that time a month after I started my recovery program following my metatarsal stress fracture was something really worth savoring.
I ran the Wheels of Hope 10K in General Santos City in June. I finished a bit slower than my May race, 49:09.20 good for 11th place.
My last race for the year was the RadTech Run 5K in Cotabato City in November where I registered a 21:12.45 clocking good for a third place finish in the 50-59 age group.
This morning, after my first run of the year, an easy 13K, I sat down to record my run on dailymile. Checking my statistics, I noticed that I had logged a total of 1,981 kms for the past 12 months. With my injury and the schedule adjustments I had to make because of work, it was still pretty good mileage. What matters most I guess is that I continued to run.
Yes, less is still something. Hopefully, 2013 would give me more reason to celebrate my running.