On January 23rd, Farid Reza embarked on a journey to run 1135 miles around the city of Houston in order to raise funds for Karam's Innovative Education programs for Syrian children. As he hits his halfway mark, here is an update from him.
"As I’m writing this it is day, it is day 23 and I have just crossed the 700 miles distance. For most part I am physically fine apart from my nagging right knee issue, an injury that I have been carrying since day 3. I told myself to be prepared for anything in the first couple of weeks and expect those weeks to be the most physically demanding as my body starts to adapt to the new level of stress demands. It started well enough. I kicked off the campaign with a 50k trail race event which was thoroughly enjoyable and demanding in equal measure. I debated whether I should have started with such an event, given that trail running is far more demanding on the body than a running on roads. And I was supposed to ease my body into it rather than shocking it. But I figured it is a nice event to spread the campaign message to fellow runners so I went for it. The course was far more technical and challenging than I anticipated. My muscles and feet were sore by the end of it but I didn’t feel any worse than my previous 50k trail races. Or so I thought. Everything felt OK when I started running the next day and it was going well until about 20 miles in I started experiencing pain on my right foot. I limped the last 10 miles to finish the day and when I got home I discovered the outside of my right foot was severely bruised. I was perplexed as I have never had this type of injury before. There was little swelling but the area of bruising was quite extensive. I feared it might have been a stress fracture picked up from the race, as there were a lot of big roots sticking out and I must have landed on one quite heavily. I was still able to run on it rather gingerly but the change in my running gait caused a severe runner’s knee problem to develop on my right knee. So that was pretty much the story for the first two weeks struggling with the foot and knee. The foot healed after about a week but I’m still carrying the knee problem which is manageable. I have enough time between the runs to allow the knee to rest sufficiently to be able to run the daily 31 miles.
By the end of the second week my body had fully adjusted to the new conditions and I was presented with a different challenge. The novelty of the run wore out, I was getting tired of the routine, even eating started to become a chore as I have to keep up an intake of 6000 calories a day. I was just missing normality. The day after I passed the halfway distance I was feeling rather pessimistic as in my mind it meant repeating the miles I have accomplished up to that point. But it quickly dawned on me that while what I have to endure is challenging, it does have an end date. Sadly the same cannot be said for the Syrian crisis and for all the children affected by it. Their daily struggles, bravery and endurance far outweighs that of my own. I have had tremendous, almost overwhelming level of support, kindness, love from family, friends and the public for my running. The word ‘hero’ has been attached to me but the real heroes are these children. Long after my run ends, these children - an entire generation of Syria would still continue their battle for their future. I wish the whole world would show the same level of compassion and support to these children. That would be the ultimate success of my running.
Bring on the next 435 miles…."