Click here to read part one of this journey.
Again, fast forward a few months through a cast and a boot–spring 2013. I get the okay from the doctor to do light activity once or twice a week. As one might expect from an excited kid, I did the three T’s: too much, too soon, too fast. I didn’t get any other injuries but it hurt. Even after a few months off, I was back into consistent running. I probably weighed more than I did at that point the year before, but I was far more athletically capable–due to lifting and cross training in addition to just running.
Fast forward again. This time about a year. It’s the spring of 2014. I’ve just finished reading Born to Run and Eat & Run. Something about the two books resonated deeply with me. Something about the minimalism, the Tarahumara, the ultra marathon running*, the approach to fueling one’s body. It all just made sense. And with that, I very quickly changed my running from heel striking at a slow cadence to forefoot striking at a high cadence.
With this change in technique, I certainly looked silly and got a wide range of comments: “Matt runs like he’s gay!**” “Matt you look ridiculous but your technique is beautiful,” etc.
The change in technique made running much easier and much more enjoyable for me. This was a huge leap forward. Although I was not running with any reasonable consistency, I enjoyed it when I did. I was very proud of this enjoyment because I hate the thought of people who run because they think they have to to be fit.
By that fall, I had committed to training for a marathon. If you’re playing along at home, you might estimate that I should be running this marathon next month. But I’m not. I let school winding down and taking finals get the best of me, and my schedule completely dissolved into complete crap. I could have just repeated a few weeks to get back into it, but I decided that completely restarting some training plan would be better. The consistency I had during most of the fall semester was the best running I’ve ever done. I ran the fastest and furthest (not at the same time) that I ever had; I ran the earliest in the morning and latest at night that I ever had (not sure if proud of this one); I ran 4 miles before a few game days (would not recommend).
And now I find myself here, sitting in my bed, having lost all of that consistency that I had just a few short months ago. Looking back, I think that running was and will be my anchor habit. When I ran regularly, I ate better, read more, drank more water, and was generally more productive. It wasn’t something that I just did for fun–it became a necessity. Because I woke up early to run before class, it set the tone for the entire day. When I looked at my phone and it said it was nineteen degrees outside and I went back to sleep, I was going to have a bad day–guaranteed.
*I haven’t run an ultra nor am I remotely close to one but somewhere in my head I’m already on my journey to doing so.
**To this day I have no idea what about forefoot striking is gay. I have this theory that there’s nothing anatomically different about homosexuals that would cause them to forefoot strike. I have yet to be proven or disproven in this theory.