One of my students suggested this prompt: write a letter from your current self to your younger self, and also from your current self to your older self. I tried it a few times, focusing on my running, finally ending my page with:
Blah blah. Blah blah blah. You won’t listen anyway. You’ll run your body to a literal stop and spend the following two years confronting a rotation of physical, spiritual and emotional issues tied up in running injuries.
Eventually you’ll heal.
I tried again, later in the day:
To my younger running self,
Get your gait analyzed! Your long runs are ratcheting the pull in your hips, which will one day show up as a puffy knee, popping hip and sad foot. You will have a sad foot because you aren’t picking up your feet, landing midfoot with a light kiss.
You run like a box. Drive with your arms! Rotate your hips! Relax your shoulders. Give yourself miles that aren’t pinching your glutes and pulling your thighs. Massage, stretch, strength train. Discover the foam roller before your piriformis is angry.
You crave an unnatural level of physical endurance. Exceed that, but with a proper stride. Get your gait analyzed!
To my future running self,
Bodies break and repair. Endure. Keep kissing the ground, lightly. Enjoy new strength.
Say thank you at the end of each run.