They say that every journey begins with a single step. And it is true. Here I am 30 days away from lacing up my shoes for the “last” time in a journey that in all honesty, began in 2007. Yes, it has taken me five years to get to this point, but it’s about the journey.
To get to the end, I have to start at the beginning. In 2006, I played tennis. A lot. I played a few tournaments and back then I worked for the US Tennis Association, so I spent a lot of time on the courts helping to build and grow the game. Then in August, I played in what was going to be my last tournament of the season. Turns out, it was the last tournament I would play until 2010. But that weekend in Iowa City, I played three or four tough matches. That night as I walked into a restaurant chosen by my friend Tylor, I limped in. My back had never been tighter.
At that point, it wasn’t painful, so much as it was uncomfortable. That, and I couldn’t move. And it didn’t get better. I would be at home and I would bend over to pick up a pencil or a simple piece of paper and I would need to push off something to get myself back up. I was scared. So I went to the doctor and got an MRI done. Diagnosis: You won’t be able to play at the same level. (Years later, my chiropractor actually explained the problem with my back and I try to take are of it better now because of his teachings.)
So, I had to give up competitive play. In a phrase, it sucked. So, I picked up running. I needed to stay active and it was something I could do anytime and anywhere.
With tennis off the table, I started running in the summer of 2007. It was a brutally hot summer in Cedar Falls, Iowa, but I ran. The neighborhoods were peaceful and I would run in the middle of the day, early in the morning and late at night. Back then, I didn’t think I would end up here.
But as they say, it is about the journey …