It happened again. The numbness in my feet. First my right foot went, then it crept past my ankle to the lower part of my calf and repeated with the left leg.

I was almost home, just made the ninety degree turn around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The rich condos of Key Highway approached me on the right. The sunset illuminated the green water to my left. I wondered if I could finish the rest of my run on numb feet.

This was the second time in a month, the first time in 10 years.

It first happened in high school at the end of cross-country season. I was training for the next season, running on ice and snow in the Highland neighborhoods of Louisville, KY. It only happened when I ran on pavement as opposed to the green grass of cross-country. But there was no bluegrass to run on when winter arrived.

I managed the winter season on numb feet. But with track season approaching and my problem ceasing to disappear, I approached my coach. I was far from the fastest runner on the team, but that season I had trained harder in the hopes of surpassing my goal of a nine-minute mile.

My coach didn’t care that I wasn’t the fastest, that I would not contribute to the team’s ranking come state finals. He cared that I did well. That’s why after each race when he announced who he thought the MVP’s were, sometimes they would be slower runners who had shown determination and major improvement even if that improvement was the difference between a 30 minute and 28 minute 5K. We loved and respected him for it.

I hated running before I started cross-country in high school. So why did I join? Peer pressure. My friend at the time asked me to. But being a part of that team changed my perception of running. I love it till this day no matter how many injuries I sustain. I don’t know what I would do if I ever tore my ACL. Knock on wood. Continue reading