Running & Fitness

The (Used to be a) Runner (but still a) Dad

Matt Orlando
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Here we are, living in the future, closing in on the year 2020. As someone who grew up in the 80s and 90s, the thought of what 2020 would look like was shaped by entertainment such as Back to the Future II and The Jetsons. We were promised flying cars and meals in a pill! Instead, we’re left with Minecraft inspired trucks and meatless hamburgers. I suppose it’s not all bad though…at least we have the knowledge of the world in the palm of our hands…where we watch cat videos and share humorous memes instead.

The past few months have not been kind to me physically, mentally, or emotionally. My years of ankle injuries finally caught up with me, and despite my best efforts to ignore it, the pain finally won and I had to stop running. I attempted physical therapy, wore a walking cast for a while, and even tried Cortisone, all to no avail. If things come together, I will likely be looking at surgery to fix the multiple issues with my ankle (and maybe a pinched nerve in my leg), but that remains to be seen.

I struggle when I cannot run. I put on weight and depression creeps in. I lack the motivation to undertake any other real physical activity, partly because your ankle is central to most cardio workouts, partly because I do not have a gym membership or much equipment at home, and partly because I am simply lazy when I cannot run. My desire to run comes, at the heart of it, from a love of the sport. Yes, I enjoy the physical and emotional benefits of it, but at the end of the day, it is the free-flying joy of putting one foot in front of another and getting lost in the moment that drives me to step out the door.

It has been an emotional roller coaster since I stopped running, much like the rollercoaster of the past decade. The past 10 years have seen me getting married, having kids, moving through multiple homes and taking on multiple jobs. I started a blog, joined Twitter, grew an audience (really, a family) of like-minded people who enjoy running and/or are parents like me. I have trained for 5ks, 5 milers, half marathons and even an ultra or two (though I never made it to the starting line for those). I have been invested, lost interest, thought about quitting multiple times, but time after time I find myself (when I have time to breathe), returning here to share with you all just a little bit more about what is going on in my life and returning to the road, lacing up time and time again.

So with just days left in 2019 and the future just over the horizon, I leave you with this. Don’t wait for some magic day to start chasing your dreams and living the life you want to live. A turn of the page of the calendar is not going to make a difference. Start today…start right now. Push past your mental roadblocks, find ways around your physical limitations, let go of the emotional baggage, and live your best life. You deserve it.

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