Sunday, May 17, 2009

Playing with Fire

Fire is both enticing and terrifying. Fire provides warmth, get too close and it burns. How close can I go before I get burned?

Running is like playing with fire. Every time I go out my door I am playing with fire. Whether out for my Sunday long run or my Saturday Track workout I am taking a risk. The aches and pain I felt when I creaked out of bed this morning might be the warmth of a hard workout or the burn of a new injury. The pain I feel half way through my long run could be a sign I am getting too close to the fire, moving beyond the spot when I am getting warmer, getting stronger. I may be moving into the fire, slowly burning my chances of running faster by running too much. My long run today felt good, warm, with some aches and pains from yesterday's hard effort.

I play with fire in most aspects of my life, as we all do. We are constantly negotiating with the fire we are engaged with, testing it's boundaries, finding where to throw a log or douse with water. In running this can be deciding to run a workout without a fully healed injury. This involves getting very close to fire, getting a full blast of heat, yet can result in the best rewards. My nagging foot injury may be such an example. My left foot has been quite sore for the last month and a half. I have run through the pain and it has been manageable, yet on some runs very hot. There have been workouts in the last few weeks when my foot had some incredible pain and I have been asked if I am limping on a few occasions (of course I denied...). Now my foot pain is gone, thanks to a week of wearing old running shoes to work. I was able to get myself back in shape after Sun Run and being sick, with a minor injury that could have become a very bad injury. The moral of the story: Risk=Reward. I got very close to the fire, I may have even jumped over the fire, but I did not get burned.

Playing with fire has risk at it's core. It burns in many ways. Entering a race I am putting both my body and heart close to the fire. I may finish the race injury free though with a poor effort. I will be able to run the next day with minimal concern physically, though I may be heartbroken for weeks. The burn to the heart may be the most difficult to heal.

The great risks I have taken with my running, the many times I have come close to the fire, flows opposite to how I have protected my heart from the fire of love. I am trying to change this, I am trying to take more risks and live a little more. I am trying to warm up my heart, with the knowledge that I may get burned. How far can I go towards the fire without getting burned but also without burning someone else? If that someone else stokes my fire, despite the fire in their own hearth, how am I to proceed?

I am getting on the billows, I will get fired up. I am hoping to get very hot, without getting burned.

Happy Training!

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