THE FINAL FINISH LINE
I—Dimity—took my last run in January of 2020, but an orthopedist I trusted told me, in the fall of 2017, that I should consider not running anymore. My running career had be marked by injuries more than PRs. My lower back was a mess, and the high-impact sport was not going to do me any favors as I aged.
I believed him, and I also wasn’t ready to give running up. Running wasn’t just my physical outlet. As I shared in this post in September 2017, running had been my partner, consistently my side for over twenty years. She was always ready to rally. She was my confidante and my antidepressant, my kick in the butt and my place to relax, my connector to a higher power and my path to peer inwards. She was my cool side of the pillow and my reality check when I needed one.
I took more and more things out of my running routine—races, runs over 5 miles, hills, intervals—to hold onto the sport I loved. I shed buckets tears, became angry and frustrated and depressed. Ask my family: I was not easy to be around.
With time, therapy, an internal reconciliation, and the unwavering support of the AMR community, I was able to somehow know that my final run in January of 2020—less than 3 miles, just a flat out and back—could truly be my last run. I wasn’t at total peace, but my internal scale had tipped from clinging to releasing.
I had crossed my final finish line.
While I wouldn’t wish the final finish line on any runner, the reality is that bodies break down over time and miles. And it’s really hard to reconcile the fact that this healthy thing that you love to do—and brings you confidence, peace, power, friendships, medals—is actually not serving you anymore.
If this has happened to you, first of all, it totally sucks and we’re really sorry.
Second of all, we’re here for you in this next chapter of your life. You’ve got so many miles to go, and even though they may not include the numbers 13.1 or 26.2, they’re still important, powerful, and athletic. Just like you.