My name is Maddi Knight and I am a rising senior at James Madison University. I am majoring in Kinesiology and plan on pursuing a career in physical therapy. I am the volunteer coordinator on the board for Run Harrisonburg and am so excited about the upcoming virtual race.
My running story looks a little different from most people. Multiple injuries have caused me to spend more of the past 6 years recovering than running. Last Summer I had hip surgery, and I never thought that my last race at JMU would come so quickly due to knee injuries. Although my time spent injured was challenging and discouraging at times, I grew more than I ever imagined and gained a unique perspective that I hope encourages others.
I will always be extremely passionate about running and movement in general. I believe that getting out the door and being active plays such a key role in our overall health. Exercising, both alone and with friends, allows you to challenge yourself and improve mentally, emotionally, and physically. However, my time struggling with injuries taught me that running, or sport competitions, is not everything. Even when I cannot run, I still have value, talents, and a purpose. The same is true for you too.
I have also learned that any step forward is progress, no matter how small it seems. After weeks on crutches, I had so much joy walking 5 steps by myself. Now, when I start to get upset and wish I could run more, I try to remember how thankful I am that I can walk and move. Even if you are not getting better as quickly as those around you, never forget your progress. Today, I view a 12-minute bike ride as a huge success even though 3 years ago I was running 12 miles. I have learned to stop comparing myself to others and just be happy with where I am in my journey.
Whether you are racing or playing a game of tag, never forget that you matter so much more than your sport performance. You have value no matter how fast you are or how well you succeed in school and sports. If you get injured or cannot run for some reason, do not be upset with yourself. Instead, focus on the little improvements each week. Things will get better and you will appreciate being active even more in the end. If you have any questions or want to learn more about getting through injuries, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!