“I have a question I want to start off with,” Chuck Gilman asked me. “What’s your goal?”
Chuck, a TB12 Body Coach, was looking at me intently, calmly waiting for an answer. He posed his question while I was sitting on a treatment table at the TB12 Center in Foxboro.
I wasn’t expecting this question.
I had anticipated answering questions strictly about my injuries. But Chuck first wanted to understand what motivated me. I hesitated, thinking about how to frame my answer. Deep-down I knew what I wanted to say. I wanted to declare that my goal was not just to run again — but race again. I had spent my 20s and 30s doing everything from 800-meter sprints to Ironman triathlons. But because of lingering knee and ankle injuries, I had been unable to run pain-free for seven years. For seven years, each time I tried to run, I would be limping back to my starting point after a hundred yards.
I was paying the price for years of pounding the pavement and rarely addressing my nutrition, mobility, strength or balance. Whenever I got injured, I would apply ice here and there but mostly just tried to run through it.
About a decade ago, well into my 40s, running through injuries became harder. Eventually, it became impossible. I had pictured myself as a runner for life, and I could no longer consider myself a runner. Certainly not a racer. In fact, my worries shifted to the needs of everyday life. I began to have trouble going down a flight of stairs. I would favor the left side of my body and refrain from putting weight on my right foot. The image of me walking downstairs sideways was alarming enough to my wife that she began commenting on it daily.
So when TB12 Body Coach Chuck Gilman asked what my goal was — what I truly wanted to do — I was reluctant (at first) to answer. I couldn’t help but think about the last seven years of trying but failing to overcome injuries.