Allow Me to Reintroduce Myself:

My name is DRE, D to the R-E (homage to Jay-Z). I have had the chance to meet some, but this may be our first introduction to others. I am the newest team member at Custom Performance, I am about two months in, and I am excited to have the opportunity to do what I love every day. I have been running since I could remember, starting out with the informal races between two rivals from point A to point B, and the crowds decided the winners. Of course, that led me to formal competition in high school, and I was fortunate to compete at the college level. However, rather than share with you who I was at one point and relive my glory days, I think it may be more valuable to share with you the process of who I am today. Emphasis on the “today”.

After running my last race in college, I stopped running competitively, as many athletes do. For a time afterward, I ran out of habit while searching for something to feel the void I now owned. Until I slowly realized, I no longer loved running like I once had. As my external life was changing, so was my internal identity. For years I had identified myself as a runner, and suddenly I no longer was, so who was I? I was evolving (still evolving), and as I evolved, so would my interest, and that interest would not involve running for years. Instead, I focused on education, relationships, and weightlifting.

December of 2021, that evolution led me back to running, my favorite pastime; or so I thought. One evening I got dressed, laced up my sneakers, and hopped on the treadmill at my local gym (it was winter in NY, I don’t do cold). Over a decade, I have had quite a bit of growth: emotionally, mentally, and weight. The only growth I didn’t have was in height (an inside joke for my mom). Running on the treadmill this winter day in December, I quickly found myself gasping for air, my heart beating on the wrong side of my rib cage and sweating in places that water only touches when I swim. I looked down at the data on the treadmill in confusion; I was not going that fast. I run faster than this, don’t I? This should be a leisurely stroll, a walk in the park, but why am I struggling? I found myself humbled by this experience.

Obviously, I recognize that I have changed over the years, but it did not register to me that my running had changed too. My “Running Ego” was getting the best of me, and if I had kept this mindset of running, I would have inevitably run myself into injury (and quickly be on the receiving end of the treatment table). I think this is something that we all deal with at some point. The battle between who we used to be and the battle of who we are. I am not the runner I once was, and I never will be that runner again. And that is OKAY!! Today, I run based on feeling, and while I don’t always feel motivated to get the run started, I haven’t experienced a ‘bad’ run this year. I mentally prepare myself each run to enjoy the process and the journey to an unknown destination. Since that day in December, I have seen significant progress, and from time to time, I feel that urge to race from point A to point B. 

Andre Williams PT, DPT

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