I started running competitively when I was 12. My middle school had a track and field team where I was trying to master the high jump. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a very good high jumper – I was more like a dud firecracker. On one jump, not only did I knock the pole down, I missed the landing mat and knocked the entire pole stands down. People came to my aid, I was bleeding, yet oh-so-ashamed – all I could say as I limped, “I’m good. I’m good.”
One day my friend hurt her knee. I don’t know if it was the age, the school or the event, but she asked me to run the 800m for her, and I was allowed. I ran, people cheered. I came across the line and was swarmed with people praising my performance. “How did you do that?” “Oh my gosh, you are so fast!” I had no idea I could run, but felt great. I came to the thought conclusion, “I am a runner. I am a GOOD runner. Well, goodbye high jump! Thank goodness!”
In high school, after a successful season of track I was convinced by my teammates to run cross country. I wasn’t thrilled about the idea, but I did and cross country went well. As I aged, however, things changed for me. Here is what I have learned today that I would tell my younger self
4 Things I Would Tell My Younger Self
1. “It will take some work to get back to your running self. It will hurt. IT WILL BE WORTH IT.”
Once I determined I was a runner. That, lo and behold, I was a good runner, well – I kind of sat back. As I aged, I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t having the same success I had when I was a young 12, 13, 14, 15. I was so excited about running then, I ran all the time. It felt good, even at that age. Long hot runs or speed runs through my neighborhood. I loved to run!
I grew up some, I guess. I had always enjoyed riding horses and spent a lot of time at the stables. As soon as I could get working papers, I got a job. More and more time was being spent outside of running. When I came back to it, hoping for my same success from months before – it hurt! When something doesn’t feel good and is unrewarding (I wasn’t as successful anymore) I didn’t stick around too long. So, to myself I would say, “It will take some work to get back to your running self. It will hurt. IT WILL BE WORTH IT.”
2. Your body is going to change. This will effect your running
Sometimes I think about how my poor cross country coach, a man, had to explain to all of us high school female runners about our “cycle” and how it was going to effect our running. We were all so wide eyed and grossed out at the time. We got to the locker room just to giggle, squeal, “He said “PERIOD! Ewwww!” We were young. Poor coach.
But it’s true – throughout high school especially – you develop. More than a winning personality. If you’re a girl, you develop, you know, boobies, hips. Your form can get weighed down and change. New ailments emerge when you change your form. You get older and have kids. Body changes again.
Not to leave the men out of this discussion. We all age, all our bodies change. Our muscles don’t heal like they used to. We can’t bend ourselves like pretzels as easily anymore.
Not to be confused with an excuse. I have seen some kick butt older runners out there. They are older than me, they run faster than me. But maybe they could’ve run faster before. I know I could,
Anyway, I would say to young Robyn, “Your body is going to change. This will effect your running.”
3. Stretch, dummy!
Back on the track today, I saw what I supposed was the fall cross country team, going through some early track work. Do you know how much time they spent stretching? A LOT. I used to stretch like that with my team. Then, when I got out on my own, who had time for stretching? I had so many other things that I could be doing. Stretching took too long! The team today disbanded before I was done my workout, but there were some stragglers and coaches that were still there when I finished. You better believe I stretched. Know what? I still feel good! Even after a speed workout where my foot was likely to be sore. I be jammin! So I would say to me 25 years ago – “Stretch, dummy!”
4. Mac N Cheese is not the best pasta source
From the box. I would eat the whole box. I probably could’ve made some better food choices overall.
These 4 things are what I would tell my younger self. What would you tell yourself? Let me know!