When Runners Don’t

I identify strongly with running. Sometimes, I love the act of running itself: getting out and feeling the joy of confidence in my own strength. Moving through the woods, breathing in the air, being a part of what is around me.

Running, I’ve come across deer and foxes and felt tied into their ‘more natural’ world.

I’ve found myself up to my ankles in mud as I tried to make some paths of my own, and felt the thrill of persevering when I knew that the ‘old Toby’ would have rather quit and gone home.

I wasn’t born a runner. I was born a quiet bookworm, and I like that guy, too. But, somehow, I got it into my head that I could become a runner, and I did. Running is one of the few areas in my life where I decided who I was before I became that guy. It was an act by which I defined myself, instead of letting genes and happenstance define me.

And then I hurt my foot.

The esteemed doctors wife and Google consulted and decided that I had an inflamed tendon in my foot. Not super painful, but enough that I wanted to get off my feet. (It didn’t help that I tried to run through it the first several weeks, before consulting the aforementioned doctors.)

The doctors prescribed, among other things, rest. Of course, I can still go to work, but running has been out of the question.

Now, I’m wondering how I ever found time in my day to run as much as I did. The blocks of time that had been reserved for running have been absorbed by. . . well, nothing. The day-to-day drag from which I slowly and carefully carved blocks of time set aside for me and my running shoes absorbed that time again before I even realized it.

I stopped listening to Geeks in Running Shoes, because it seemed to be a podcast about how they weren’t training. Who wanted to hear that? Now, I’ve become someone who wants to think of himself as a runner, but doesn’t.

Who am I, then?

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