By Cullin Burdett

Dear Radar, 

We all have our own relationship with the sport of running.

Running has been with me as far as I can remember. From an early age I understood that running would be part of my life. I grew up watching my dad race, hearing the stories, waiting for my turn. In middle and high school I got that chance, and began running competitively. The competitive drive of racing sparked the excitement to train and push  myself to the next level; collegiate racing. In college, running was not as simple as it was in high school. For many athletes including myself, this is where the relationship got more complicated.

Entering college, I was still riding the high from high school running. My mind was filled with day dreams about racing and workouts, occasionally bringing it back to actual school work. I was determined to prove myself at this level, to prove I could compete with the best of them. I was set to run through a brick wall if needed. Sooner than expected, those walls started to form. Strained muscles, stress fractures and continuous colds from overworking myself. One after another I kept barreling down these walls until it became too much and I was left questioning everything. I had to step back, to rest, and see the maze differently.

The thing is, people can tell you a lot about the sport of running but it is different from when you experience it yourself. It is hard to understand truly where you are taking your body.  As one grows with the sport, the bond becomes layered. Layers of disappointment, frustration, excitement and happiness. You don’t get to control which layer you will be given at the moment, the sport of running picks for you, you can only put yourself in the best position to handle  that moment. 

That’s the thing with running, you are only in that current moment. You are not where you were or where you will be next week. You are exactly where you are now. This sounds obvious but a concept I continue to forget and need to be reminded each day. This is why I am so excited about Radar, it is a collaboration of different runners in different places, celebrating those unique relationships with the same sport. There are no standards or comparison, but a community of like minded people. 

With running, ultimately I am in a stage where the goal is to improve, develop and compete. Either with my own running or in the world of coaching. I know I won’t be in this stage forever, I have no clue what the next chapter with running will bring, I know it doesn’t have to hinge on winning or maximizing this training cycle. I get glimpses here and there, but haven’t figured it all out yet and honestly I am not going to try until I get there. 

Radar is designed to be a network of support, a channel of expression and inspiration. Hopefully there is value that can be taken from my words and I am sure there is value in what you share. No matter where you are in the sport, I would encourage you to share. Share anything, your run, the thoughts you had on your run, your thoughts on running. If we can help others better handle the point when they meet their wall, then we are doing something special. We are always growing with the relationship we have. If we are out running an ultra marathon or haven’t run in two years, we are here and we are moving forward together. 

Cullin