My Running Journey to The Runner Doc
When you are your absolute busiest (or so you think) why not add on another brand new thing that you have previously hated? My journey to running was long and drawn out. It included injuries and multiple restarts but ended up being one of the best things I ever started.
I have been running for 10 years and I still have so far to go and accomplish
I thought it would be fitting of a running and injury prevention blog to give a little background on myself and (most importantly) my running history. You see, I haven’t always been a runner. An athlete? Sure, of course. But I was not a runner. In fact when I was in my “prime” of high school athlete years I hated. running. So how did my running journey begin and go from that to finding a passion and career love that focused on it? Many years, that’s how.
I didn’t know it at the time but deciding to run and find a love for it was one of the best decisions of my life. It has created opportunities and friendships that I never would have expected. On top of that I found an area inside my career that I am PASSIONATE about. Life goals right there!
The Hate – High School
This is an important phase of my life to address. I have been an athlete for as long as I can remember. My sport was softball. I loved it. I lived it. It was going to be my career. Well, fast forward a few years and I grew up to realize that in this world there isn’t much of a career out there playing softball…Alas, I had to move on.
I absolutely hated running in high school. Sure, I was the fastest base runner on the softball team and I was damn proud of that. But that isn’t really running. Not in the way we are all thinking right? Running was a tool to stay in shape for my sport, not because I enjoyed it or because it was my sport. Nope. Nada.
Undergrad – The First Try for My Running Journey
I’m sure many of you can relate to being a new undergrad student and feeling a little lost. Because I was a newfound former student athlete I truly didn’t know what to do with myself. I didn’t have ANY desire to join in on some club teams for softball, even though I’m pretty sure they didn’t exist at my university, or intramural teams. I mean come on! I was a COMPETITIVE softball player, these teams were all just amateurs. At least I’m sure that was what my 18 year old cocky self was thinking. At this point I honestly can’t tell you why I didn’t do them.
What to do? That is when I decided to give running a go. Why not? I knew plenty of people that ran for fun and exercise. Should be easy….famous last words.
I made every rookie mistake that can be made when I started out. Numerous times. I did what many beginner runners do and ended up starting my running over and over again. I was riddled with various injuries and finally decided that it just wasn’t for me. No, I didn’t follow a plan or hire a coach or talk to someone that knew a little something about running. It was running, why did I need help with it? Again, cocky 18 year old at this point!
So, my running attempt died a long drawn out death at this point riddled with nagging aches, pains and failures. We learn from these though right?
My Running Journey in Physical Therapy School – It Finally Stuck
Finally, we get to the point where things started to click and I found a passion. My reason for pursuing a career in physical therapy is for another post and not something I’m going to dive into. But let’s just say it has some overlap with this story and leave it at that for now.
Let me start with a little glimpse of what PT school is like. You sit in a classroom all day with a couple of hour long breaks that you stay in the classroom to suck every inch of study time you can out of the day. Pair that with a bunch of students that are all athletically inclined and used to moving frequently and you get some restless 20 something year olds.
This is where running finally stuck for me. Remember how in undergrad I tried to do it all on my own and didn’t connect with any runners that actually knew what they were doing? Well, PT school came along and, imagine that, I had some runners in my class. I was able to learn from them and also run with them during some of those long breaks between classes. It was finally love. It also lead to a very smelly classroom. Our poor instructors!
Now, I didn’t have my share of early injuries/aches/pains like most new runners experience. However, I did have a unique opportunity or resource being a PT student. I had a wealth of knowledge from our teachers that were more than happy to use me as a teaching example on how to diagnose and treat running injuries. This is what started planting a seed for my passion in the physical therapy field.
Post Graduation – A lifelong love
I have come a long way since these early days of running. To this day I have completed 3 half marathons, had a baby, and done a whole slew of 5k and various other shorter distance races. The but truly bit me and stuck. I have had my ups and downs with running and I found what works as well as what definitely doesn’t for me. My hope is to pass this knowledge along to you to keep everyone running and healthy.
I want to know you!
Now it is your turn. Tell me in the comments below how long you have been running and what got you started!
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Dr. Abby Siler, PT, DPT is a Physical Therapist with 10 years of experience in a variety of settings. She has spent the majority of her time treating athletes in orthopedic clinics and worker’s compensation cases. She is a runner herself for the past 15 years and a lifelong athlete. Dr. Abby loves to teach runners how to stay injury free and out of her clinic.