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You’re gonna reap just what you sow

July 3, 2013

It’s been one month since I flew off my bike, broke my collar bone and tore some ligaments.  Like all injuries this one has taught me a lot.

Let’s face it, at 33 I’m no spring chicken in the realm of athletics. A 33 year old marathoner could be done any day or could go strong for another 5 years, there’s been many examples of both. Motivation, injuries, results, and support seem to be the biggest factors in determining the longevity of a career.

Motivation

It would be kind of easy for me to go through the motions and still achieve relative success.  I’ve seen many athletes get complacent but because they posses a decent work ethic and enough natural talent they still perform at an elite level.  Without intense passion athletes don’t go the extra kilometre in training and fail to dig deep enough to perform to their full potential.  They might not realize they lack any passion because it has eroded ever so slightly over many years.  Sometimes they hold on to their running career because it’s the one they know best and to move on to something else might be a bigger risk.  And let’s be frank, income aside, running full-time is a good gig…if you love running.

One thing this injury has taught me is that my fire is still there. Just thinking about the training I’ll tackle once I’m back up running gets me excited.  I wouldn’t be willing to spend hours working out on a stationary bike if I didn’t want this bad enough.  Going out for a run in the trails is pretty easy for me because I enjoy it, it doesn’t feel like a job.  I don’t necessarily find pedalling for two hours in my living room enjoyable, although I do get satisfaction knowing that I’m working towards my goal. And, I’m probably addicted to exercise.

Injuries

Most injuries that curtail distance runners stem from running. This injury didn’t occur because I was running too much. Perhaps I avoided running myself into the ground by taking this forced break. Maybe the silver lining here is that I will come back with fresh legs. And it looks as though I will have another two weeks without running to freshen them up.  I’d be lying if I said I never have any aches and pain but in general I’ve handled marathon training quite well.

Results

Eight months ago I was pleased with my results. A sub 29 minute 10km on the roads in Japan, a competitive half marathon in China and I felt strong pacing the Fukuoka marathon past 30km. So far, this year has been a different story, my results have been pretty lacklustre, a crappy (pun intended) half marathon and a DNF at Rotterdam marathon. The decline in performance may be related to age but, I like to believe there were other factors responsible.

Support

Tied in with results comes money and so far this year I’ve spent more than I’ve made in the racing department (missing recent races doesn’t help either).  Luckily for me in the sponsorship department New Balance has been very supportive. The reason I run isn’t for money, but the reality is it allows me to focus on running full-time which enables me to be as competitive as I am.

Having support in other ways goes a long way too. Coaches and teammates who are on the same page. A family who understands what chasing my dreams means to me. A competent support team; exercise-phys, massage, physio, doctor, sport-psych, chiro, agent, race directors etc. Friends and fans encouraging and cheering me on. And a bunch of supportive sponsors.

I hesitated to post this entry because to me it sounds as though I’m trying to convince myself and my readers that I still have what it takes. It doesn’t matter what I write here because, in the end, I will have to train very hard and go to the well if I’m going to get the results I want. One thing is for sure, you can’t fake this marathon business.

 

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13 Comments
  1. July 3, 2013 9:16 pm

    The current injury sucks and will obviously be a set back but given a good stretch of training and the right course I still expect you can break 2:10

  2. Derrick permalink
    July 3, 2013 9:30 pm

    Great attitude. Get healthy, and get after it!

  3. July 3, 2013 10:18 pm

    Wishing ya the speediest and most successful of recoveries Reid! Loved this post.

  4. July 4, 2013 12:34 pm

    A lot of great athletes have gone through injuries and come back strong. I’m sure you can do it if you still have the fire. You’re the current fastest canadian marathoner and a great inspiration to all of us, even more in harder phases of your career..

    • reidcoolsaet permalink*
      July 4, 2013 12:39 pm

      Thanks Rich!

      Just a correction though, Dylan Wykes is the current fastest with a 2:10:47.

  5. Lise Lenden permalink
    July 4, 2013 2:57 pm

    Hello Reid, I just want you to know I underwent the same surgery as you after a bicycle accident on november 1 2012. Recovering is a long processus. I am also a marathon runner. As a 53 year old woman, last April, 5 months after my surgery, I broke my personal record at the Boston Marathon by 10 minutes (3:33:02 result). I hope my experience will give you confidence. Good luck!

    • reidcoolsaet permalink*
      July 4, 2013 7:01 pm

      Thanks for the note Lise and congrats on the PB!

  6. July 9, 2013 7:24 am

    I know how you feel Reid. As a professional skateboarder for a lot of years I know what it takes to keep pushing yourself and the need for passion. I realized I had come to a point last year where I was just going through the motions to stay in a sport because it felt like it was all I knew how to do well. After taking up running and triathlon training last year I have been renewed with a passion for a sport and enjoy each and every little gain and PB I reach. Suffering through an injury is a very tough thing, but you found the silver lining, you’ve learned more about yourself. I truly believe that fighting back from and injury only serves to create a stronger athlete both mentally and physically. Keep up the hard work Reid, you still have a lot more to accomplish in running.

  7. Istvan Rajcan permalink
    July 10, 2013 11:09 am

    Great write-up and even better attitude, Reid. I am glad you posted it as it was the right thing to do. you have what it takes including the support from many of us runners out there. You will bounce back even stronger and more determined than before. Keep up the good work!

  8. July 15, 2013 8:54 pm

    Oh no…I haven’t popped by in a while and just saw what happened. I am so sorry! Although I am NOWHERE REMOTELY NEAR the athlete you are, my running and Yoga are very important to me…injuries and set-backs have been depressing, but I have made it back to where I was before. If I (a 39 year old chubby mom!) can, you certainly can! Good luck for a speedy recovery, be kind to yourself. I have no doubt that you still have what it takes!

  9. July 23, 2013 10:09 pm

    I think that your posts will help other people come to terms and assess where they are with their fitness, especially when an injury slows them down. You’ve always been an inspiration and shared your feelings. Why stop now?
    Keep up the hard work. It’s always worth it.
    Cheers.

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