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INJURED: Part 2 (a poem of sorts)

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The sky is cloudy- there's no rain but it feels like there could have been.

That spring smell, wet asphalt.

I want to run mile repeats, laps around a damp red track. 6:45. 6.30. 6:20. 6 flat.

I get up early, use the morning light to snap some pictures of myself in my Janji apparel for social media, as I've become one of their Janji Corps members (essentially a brand ambassador).

At 9 am I change and head to my new gym for an hour with a personal trainer, who shows me the ropes (literally, the ones you slam on the ground) and teaches me some exercises to strengthen my glutes and hips.

I slam a medicine ball into the ground, over and over and over.

Apart from random stints at the YMCA growing up, I've never been in a gym before. I cast a wary eye at some of the machines, at big-bicep bros wearing grey tank tops facing grey walls lifting grey metal.

I crave more than ever my colorful runs through and away from the city.

I don't really feel like I've worked out- I wor…

INJURED: Part 1

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I've been absent from this blog for a while. 

I kept thinking about posting, but didn't want to delve too deep into running because it hurt too much. I've read that when runners are injured, they often go through the same phases of grief as one does when losing a loved one.

Fun times.

My last post on here was on July 20th, 2017, one month after I ran a race that injured me so badly I haven't been able to train since. It wasn't the race that injured me, of course- but let me start from the beginning.

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I love marathons. 

I ran my first a few years ago, after completing seven half marathons between ages 13 and 18. The decision to attempt a full was a combination of boredom- I was getting tired of the half- and the fact that my college didn't have a cross-country team, so I had the freedom to experiment with a distance I thought would be fun. And man, was it.

I was lucky enough to live in Singapore when I begun my training, and I loved doing long runs in the morn…

through the eye of a runner [part 1]

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I wake up early, but not too early. 

The click of the light above the stove and the rickety splashes of water coming to a boil are comforting to me, signifying routine as I rinse yesterday's grinds out of the French press. I spread almond butter over my toast and add a dash of salt, sitting to enjoy my breakfast before I get dressed.

It's a beautiful morning. 

I notice this while drinking my coffee and again as I tie my hair up and secure loose tendrils with an elastic headband. It's hot pink and matches my running socks. My shirt is black and reads "STRENGTH IS BEAUTY" in large white letters. Often passerby have commented on it.

Once I would have tucked a couple Gu in my running shorts, but I've become pickier. With a paring knife my grandmother gave me, I slice open three dried figs, slip pinches of pink Himalayan salt into them and squeeze them back together. I pull two honey sticks out of the cupboard and tuck them into my sports bra.

Nothing is on my schedule…

The Undeniable Importance of Running Long

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If you're a runner, chances are at some point you will experience the beauty of the long run.

This particular run gets a lot of nicknames, my favorite being LSD ('Long Slow Distance', people, come on...). Most runners do these on Saturday or Sunday, getting their biggest mileage out of the way on days when they don't have too many other obligations. Trust me, spending all day at work after a two-hour morning run is not always the easiest.

I love long runs. The easy ones where I'm flying and I run without any need for music, just the rhythm of my feet on the ground... The ones where I'm cramping and struggling and I forgot to bring fuel and it feels like years before I get home- then I feel like I've conquered something. The times where I forget I'm running at all and get lost in the activity.

Each long run is it's own experience, for better or for worse, and I love them all for different reasons.

Sometimes it's fun to run with people, but often …

The Runner's Reading List

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Inspiration is necessary if you are going to be a runner.

Especially in distance running, where the limits of what you can achieve are largely dictated by your mind. There are plenty of ways to inspire yourself to run, especially these days with social media, where you can follow anyone from Shalane Flanagan to other runners in your neighborhood to see what they're up to. You can check out running blogs like this one, join a running group... I mean, the list goes on.

Still, I've always found the best way to stay inspired is to delve into a good book.

There's a surprising amount of running literature out there, from the classic "Aerobics" of the '60s to stories about teenagers on high school cross country teams, modern get-fit-now plugs and musings on running as a form of meditation. Really, there's a ton of writing about running out there. Whether you want something scientific, contemplative or adventurous, there is somebody who has written something like…

Why I Run

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If you're a runner,  people who don't run will ask you why. Always.

"Wait, you do that for fun?"
"Why would you do that to yourself?"
"I HATE running!"
"What kind of masochist are you??"

I've found, after many failed attempts to draw the uninitiated into the world of running, that the best response is to just laugh and shrug. I never really knew why I ran- why expect anyone else to understand? Sometimes, when people have asked me seriously, without the incredulity of a non-athlete, I've tried to come up with a real answer. For the longest time, I couldn't.
I began to wonder if that was a bad thing.

Did the fact that I didn't know why I was running mean I shouldn't be running at all?

I tried to write about it but it always seemed forced, full of cliches...

Until the year I finally figured out how to answer. 
The winter of my 17th year was a dark one, physically and emotionally. My last high school season of cross countr…