Day 12 — My Running Coach’s Lesson Will Make You a Millionaire
Today I ran a 5 minute and 49 second mile before 6 AM. This was an easy run for me today. I believe it’s because I ran indoors yesterday and conditioned myself for an extreme burst of energy in the last half of the mile.
Day 12 — The Lesson My Running Coach Taught Me Will Make You a Millionaire
I was in track during highschool. The expectation was that you would train for 2 weeks, run a mile in 6 minutes 20 seconds or better, and then be a part of the team. If you couldn’t run the mile fast enough then you weren’t going to be able to practice.
I got a 6: 14 mile on this “are you in or are you out?” type of race. A few days later Coach Row asked me to run it again. I told him I had already run it, and he said that he didn’t have a time written down for me on his clipboard.
I let him know that I didn’t know I had to tell him my time. I knew that a friend of mine had timed me, and he should know what I got.
Unfortunately, he didn’t remember my time so the coach told me I would have to run it again. He did’t think I was credible… I didn’t want to run that day, or I was tired, or annoyed, I can’t remember which, so I asked if I could run it the next day.
It just so happened that half an hour later, during a warm-up jog around a trail, I sprained my ankle in the worst way possible. I think my left foot went inward and my ankle went out to the side. I stepped on a joint instead of the ball of my foot and it was an instant disaster with a burst of pain.
It was so badly sprained that I couldn’t walk well without help. Two girls helped me waddle back to the highschool. How’s that for being tough?
The next day I told my coach I wouldn’t be able to run the mile. He told me that I wouldn’t be able to practice if that was the case, because he didn’t have a time for me and that my “sprained” ankle didn’t really make a difference.
Now you have to understand, this was one of the worst physical injuries I’ve injured aside from when I sprained my ankle as a young kid. Or the time I landed on my elbow after jumping off a swing.
I hated this coach for years after this happened, with the same intensity as I had hated him that week.
I thought he was mean, unfair, and dumb. How in the world is making someone with a sprained ankle safe? How is it humane? Why would I lie to him? I got a 6: 14! Over and over and over again my mind continued to repeat these things. To myself and to others, for that week and for a few years after.
Back then I wanted to be in track, so I made up my mind. I would get my ankle wrapped and run the mile. I didn’t care if it would ruin my ankle or kill me. I just knew there was no other way to continue what I had grown to love over the first two weeks of practice.
On the last day that it was possible to run the mile, I had my ankle wrapped up as tightly as possible by the sports medicine people. My friend also had to run the mile because his time had been over 6: 20 before and he needed to try again to make it.
Do you think I made it?
I want you to take a moment right now and have a guess on whether I was able to make that time, and what I learned by trying to run it with a sprained ankle. Then scroll down to see reality.
I got a 6: 17.
You read that correctly. I ran the mile with the worst injury to my body I remember having in my entire life, and I was only 3 seconds slower than the best I gave it a few days prior with a decent ankle. My friend who had abs, and in my opinion was a better candidate for running since all I had was flabs, did not make it. He told me after the race that he should have followed my pace because he tired himself out in the beginning.
I thought that was hilarious, that he didn’t know I had a sprained ankle. I would have aimed for running ahead of me. Maybe I should have told him and that would have motivated to never drop behind. I couldn’t believe that he didn’t make it. I thought he was joking around to be honest.
My ankle ended up being bruised, red, swollen, numb, and aggravated for the next week and a half. You could see lines in my skin from where the tightness of the wrap, and the tightness of my shoe, had dug in.
I learned two lessons from reflecting on this lesson a few months ago. The third one I realized while writing this lesson down just now.
- Life doesn’t care if you’re crippled or disadvantaged. Everyone else has to run and so do you. So make it work. Wrap up your ankle, quiet your inner mind, and give it all you’ve got. The worst you could do is break your ankle and fail, and if it doesn’t kill you it’ll only make you stronger.
- Your very best with a sprained ankle was a 6: 17. So what if your very best without a sprained ankle, 6: 14, was the result of you running with a sprained mind of thinking you have flabs, you’re not good enough at running, and that you’re just barely going to make it?
- Pay attention to the options life gives you. I had already run the mile once and forgot to tell Coach Row my time. He told me I had to run it again. I should have said alright, I’ll run it when I get back from warming up. Maybe this would have put me in a better mindset and averted me from running and landing with my join on the ground instead of the ball of my foot. It was upsetness from not being trusted that likely caused my injury.
That whole season I goofed off and only ran for the first 5 minutes of my practice, then my friend and I would walk and talk, and by the time we had to come back we’d have to run back because we’d be late otherwise. Then I completed the workouts and interval running, because that was all on the track and there was no way to get away from it.
In my last race I ran a 5: 49, which was my personal best in track. My personal best in my life’s running came half a year before that, when I ran a 5: 34 mile.
Here I am, shooting for that again and better this time around. Stay tuned!
Originally published at storyofoctavian.com.