Apologies to whomever wrote Proverbs 23:7 or Billy Shakespeare or whomever my title rips off. My running has gone to pasture, so I’ve not wanted to blog. What would I say? I would just complain. But I regained some motivation yesterday.
I ran a 6K race Saturday morning in Georgetown. Jessica’s family lives up there, and her mom just had a birthday, so Jessica’s sister signed my whole family up for this race (and her and her daughter) and afterwards we had cake. I wasn’t sure if I would race or just walk/jog with my boys, but when I got there my juices got flowing a little bit and I decided to race. I ended up winning my age group, 11th overall, but it wasn’t very impressive. As I’ve said before, and Jessica reminded me, “it just depends on who shows up.”
Anyway, I managed a 6:22/m pace, which I guess is OK considering my current fitness, my health, blah blah. I suppose it was actually better than I expected since I was thinking I would be lucky to hit my marathon average pace. I even thought sub-7 pace might be a stretch. See, I can’t breathe. For two weeks I’ve been coughing up my lungs, coughing so much I pulled a muscle in my back, and every inhale hurts. And that’s just lying on the couch. Running? That’s been kind of painful. So I haven’t done it much.
But I did show up to Gazelles on Thursday for the first time in a long while. It was 800s and I think it was my first track workout since September. Due to injury and philosophy, I did nothing but miles, fartlek and tempo prior to the marathon, and since the marathon I haven’t done squat. Anyway, the 800s went surprising well, (firstname.lastname@example.org, last at 2:47), so I was a little more optimistic about this race yesterday.
Due to family and travel logisitics, I showed up about 15 minutes before the start, so I really didn’t warm up, which is probably fine since I don’t have any fitness to waste. As usual the race started with a bunch of people at the front who shouldn’t have been at the front. The course was on the San Gabriel river trail, so the first part was basically a sidewalk and I had to weave my way through Granny and Uncle Bob and the bushes off to the side. I won’t go into painful detail but I settled in after about half a mile with about 10 guys in front (4 of them waaaaay in front). When i hit the first mile in 6:21 I thought there was no way I would maintain it, but it looks like I did mostly. I could never speed up, but I never slowed down either. Everybody in front of me was 10-15 years younger, except for this woman who I ran with the first mile but who I could tell was pretty strong. I hoped to stay with her but obviously couldn’t. She sped up and won the female division and I ended up running with a bunch of high schoolers.
There were doughnuts at the mile 2 water station.
After finishing I ran back to look for my family. I saw Jessica and Joshua first and Joshua was doing so great and looking strong. I then found Elijah and my niece a little farther back and they were both hanging in there. 3.7 miles is a looooonnnnng way for a 6 and an 8 year-old, but Joshua managed a 15:00/m pace and Elijah ran the last half mile with such determination. I was so proud of both of them. A lot of adults can’t or won’t do what they did.
My weekly mileage so far in 2008: 28, 4, 13, 16, 19, 26. Now that I look at it, it’s actually more than I thought I’d been running. As I said, I’ve had … issues, health-related mostly. I feel like I have motivation, it’s just that every time I think, “this is the week”, I get sick or have some really painful not-quite-an-injury physical condition. Shin, hips, back. A couple of days I’ve gone out for a run and had to stop after about 100 meters because of some pain or other.
I went to my GP doctor, basically just to get a referral to Pieter the magician, and here is our conversation:
Dr: what’s the problem?
Me: severe back pain radiating into my hips
Dr: how’d that happen? fall, work-related?
Me: well, I ran a marathon about a…
Dr: well, you shouldn’t have done that. did you train well enough for it?
Me: Uh, I was running about 60 miles a week, so I think so
Dr: People aren’t meant to run marathons. You should stop running. You can get good cardio from swimming and biking.
Me: Uh, ok, I have another issue
Dr: You only get 10 minutes per appointment
He didn’t give me the referral.
The marathon seems like a lifetime ago, like a different person ran it. I got an age group award in the mail and it caught me off guard that the lame little obelisk was meaningful and made me kind of emotional. I’m really excited for all the people running the Austin marathon next week. I hope they feel the experience the way I did.
I’m glad I didn’t wear an iPod during the marathon. I would have missed so much, all the best parts.
I’ve questioned this whole running thing lately. It’s been nice to get my life back. Hopefully I’ve learned some perspective and some balance. It really is just running.