I felt the pain before I could see the wart. I thought it was a bruise, one of the many little tiny injuries that come and go as part of any runner’s training routine.
But the little nemesis on the ball of my foot stuck around. It put up a good fight, injecting pain into my runs, reducing my mileage, taking up more mental space than the dumb thing deserved. I wondered if a stupid wart was going to prevent me from racing in October. Finally I went to the doctor, something I haven’t done in over a decade. I already told you how they wanted to be sure my wart wasn’t causing me depression. In a way it was, my will to keep running was slowly depleting. How humiliating to be defeated by such a tiny adversary.
I am still fighting the little bugger, but I had my first pain-free run on Tuesday. A couple miles in I had a strange sensation as my foot relaxed. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized how much my body had adapted to running with the wart. My toes disengaged from their attempt to reduce the impact of each step. Then the forces on the side of my foot changed. As the weight of my body realigned, the pressure on my knee disappeared. Then my hip was able to rotate ever so slightly more freely. As my form returned, so did my speed.
I had rediscovered my stride.
We usually think of obstacles as the big things we have to overcome, the mountains we see in the distance. We set our sights on the big picture, prepare for the big fight, then a tiny unexpected pain point appears. Before long we have altered our entire game to adapt to the nuisance. If we don’t give the tiny wart the respect it deserves, it will alter our routine, slow us down, damage our ambition. But if we recognize the virus early we can nuke it and begin healing. And when it is gone, we will be astonished by how good it feels to rediscover our stride. Stay creative.
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