On Wednesday, I went on a run with all three of my boys. It was intended to be a birthday celebration and it was great. We ran a 4,600-meter time trial in honor of my years of life and my oldest son finished about five minutes behind me, my youngest son about two minutes in arrears and my middle boy was finished, showered, and done with his homework by the time I stumbled across the line.
Over lunch later in the day, we had a chat and it was fun. Until, in response to one of my excuses, my youngest said, prosaically. “Dad, aren’t you injured all the time?”
It stopped me in my tracks. Not because it was any great revelation but, because, in fact, it was, from his perspective, true. Here’s a kid who, at 10 years old, has lived an entire lifetime hearing about how hurt his dad is. How his knees are worn out, his feet are trashed, and his hips have the staying power of a Labrador retriever. A kid who has chased me around Hardrock, Wasatch, Vermont, and Western States, and who really knows what it means to run 100 miles without actually having done it himself. And, given his experience of watching me do it, he probably never wants to.
But, the thing is, he is right. I am injured all the time. It’s just part of the deal. Some of us deal with it better than others but if you’ve been in the ultra game for more than a decade, you know the drill. It’s just a matter of diminishing returns. The best of us know how to manage it and the rest of us know how to mitigate against it. Or, we just quit.
What will you do?
Call for Comments (from Meghan)
- Are you injured all the time?
- Do you think is injury a part of the game of ultrarunning if you do it long enough, as AJW argues? Or do you think that it’s possible to do an endurance sport like this one for a long time and manage to stay mostly healthy?