"I am a runner."
That simple sentence, only four words, conveys a great deal of significance. It reveals to others a hobby I enjoy. It reminds me of who I am. It explains my often ravenous hunger. However, its impact in my life moves much more deeply and has been extremely varied.
From Compulsory To Curative
|Jo in a 2011 race|
Suddenly, I couldn't get enough of this new and effective method of pain-control. Even after experiencing a series of running-related injuries due to Crohn's-weakened bones, I continued to return to running, often starting back at "square one," in order to regain my moments of liberation from hurting.
|Building for better running|
A few frustrating injurious years gave me an impetus both to focus on nutrition and to gain core strength that would allow my body to withstand longer, faster running. I began working with a trainer and eating foods that acted as good fuel for my body. Able to withstand more training miles, I had a strong base that allowed me to finally break two hours in the half marathon, a longstanding goal.
Though becoming a more robust runner was a dream come true, I recognized that something was still missing in my running life. Setting and reaching goals was thrilling, and sharing the fun with my family at the finish line was icing on the cake. However, all the training and racing miles were awfully lonely.
|IMM 2013 - Wendy & Jo|
Running with Wendy brought new excitement to the sport for me, and I found myself eagerly anticipating every long run. After a wonderful training cycle, health issues limited my performance at the 2013 IMM, but Wendy and I still had a wonderful time on a beautiful fall day in Indy. We left with good memories and a score to settle with the racecourse.
|Motivational pull-tab chart|
The 2014 IMM looms on the horizon. I've spent the spring and summer working with my trainer Sam to become physically strong enough to withstand training miles. My dear friend and training partner Wendy is now also my coach through Limestone Distance Training. Though she will be unable to join me on the IMM course due to injury, she still keeps a close eye on my training as she bikes beside me on long runs. I keep track of my progress toward my marathon goal with a silly pull-tab chart that isn't so silly when I feel the satisfaction of pulling off a tab after a run. Every day, I feel more excited, more tenacious, and hungrier for that IMM course and the wonderful weekend that accompanies it.
Running has given my life new perspective. It has allowed me the chance to appreciate everything—even the support of my wonderful husband, Mom, and Dad—with new perception. My running is curative. My running is competitive. My running is social. My running is now.
I am a runner.
|Mile 18 of an early morning 20-miler|
JoAnna Kai Cobb
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Personal