Somehow I was able to run 100 miles on challenging rocky terrain and only suffer from soreness that I described as being similar to what I experienced following my first marathon. I expected new injuries or to have aggravated old ones but I was blessed to have survived in good shape.
Despite rest and feeling healthy after the race, I have been battling metatarsalgia, a painful soreness on the ball of my foot for the last two weeks. This injury is completely new to me. The irony and what is most frustrating is that I attribute this to stepping on a small rock during an easy run. Whether or not that was the cause wouldn’t surprise me, as it is often the small things that tend to trip me up.
When people see some of the trails I train on, they are surprised that someone can actually “run” on them. What would be most shocking to many is that it’s not the boulders or giant tree stumps that often trip me up, but rather the small roots or rocks that allows me to become “airborne” when I let down my guard and lose focus on the task at hand.
Fortunately most of these falls result in injuries that can heal. However letting down our guard or ignoring the things that may appear to be little or insignificant can be dangerous for all of us as individuals or as a society. I read Rudy Giuliani’s book Leadership where he discussed the “Broken Windows Theory”. The theory is basically that if a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired, all the rest of the windows will soon be broken. As mayor he enforced on what many considered petty theft and vandalism. The idea was that by cracking down on smaller crimes the city would experience a reduction in the bigger ones. While there are aspects of this approach some may not agree with, the results are hard to argue. As a New Yorker who used to fear heading into Times Square, I am very comfortable bringing my family there for the day where we can see the visible difference in NYC since the 80’s.
The important lesson for all of us is to be constantly alert the small things that may hurt others or ourselves. We need to be careful and choose our words wisely, be vigilant in what our children watch and play, and to be on guard for making excuses or telling little white lies.
However it wouldn’t be right to acknowledge that small steps and little actions we take to each day can also make a positive and significant difference in our life’s and those of others. If you plan to set goals in 2013, consider focusing on the little things. What small things do you need to be alert for and avoid? What little steps can you make each day that will have the greatest impact over the long run? Most of us know the big things that we should avoid or strive for, however we should pay more attention to the little things as well!