Time Keeps On Slippin’

Dedicating this post to Jerry. Thanks for all you did for runners, Jerry. We'll miss you, buddy.

While many of my running pals near the Verrazano bridge, I’m sitting here with a bunch of aches and pains, coughs and wheezes.  If I didn’t know better, I’d think I was 85, not 45.

Back in February, I was all set to run New York today with my pals.  Caitlin paced me to a 1:29 half marathon at Myrtle Beach, fast enough to qualify for the New York marathon.  But I wouldn’t be running  in New York just yet – fate had other plans for me.  I discovered later that you had to run your qualifying time before January 31 in order to run this year’s race.  D’oh!  So I registered for the Savannah Rock and Roll marathon instead.

I ran through the spring with no formal, specific training plan and things were going well.  I ran my master’s PR in the 5k, an 18:58.  Then I broke 40:00 in the 10K for the first time.  Depending on what race time you entered, the McMillan Running Calculator predicted a marathon time for me of somewhere between 3:04 and 3:10.  Nathan wrote a training plan for me and I was excited about heading to Savannah and shooting for a huge PR.

But somewhere between the spring and summer, things began to go awry.  My left Achilles started bothering me.  Some lower abdominal pain crept up (psoas? It’s excruciating when I cough or sneeze.)  My race times started slipping downwards.  By late summer, the pain continued to worsen.  Then I ran a series of long, grueling races – Hood to Coast, Blue Ridge, and Salem Lake.  By the end of Salem Lake, I was hobbled.  A week later, I limped through the LungStrong 15K just to keep the streak of consecutive years alive (4, at this point).

After Salem Lake, it became apparent that I wouldn’t be running a marathon in 2011.  I’m down to one or two runs of 3-5 miles a week with stationary bike rides the rest of the week.  I’ve been reduced to vicariously enjoying the marathons of my friends.  I got text updates from the St. Louis marathon as I followed Dean (who missed qualifying for Boston by the narrowest of margins, 1 minute!)  I planned on heading down to Savannah to cheer everyone on but an unexpected cold (what is wrong with my immune system?!) halted those plans so that I could only follow everyone from afar.  And today, I’ll be watching New York results from my condo in Cornelius (with a taped delay viewing on NBC later in the afternoon).  Sigh.

Moral of the story – never take running, or life for that matter,  for granted.  In the past, I’ve spent so much time being frustrated when the rival du jour beat me by a few seconds instead of just enjoying the fact that I could race at all.  I vow to never take running for granted again – I plan to enjoy every step.  I want to follow the wisdom I once heard, I think from Benny Hill, yes British comedian Benny Hill: “Live every day as if it were your last because one day you’ll be right”.  On Wednesday, running friend Jerry Friesen passed away suddenly during a little run in his  neighborhood.  You never know which run will be your last, so enjoy them all.

The Achilles still hurts (now the right one has flared up too – what the?!)  The abdomen (psoas?) still hurts.  But I can run – these pains are manageable.  I ran a little 5-mile training run yesterday and the pain was minimal.  I need to start upping the mileage again soon if I have any hopes of running Boston in 5 months or so.  And if I’m ambulatory at all, I will finish Boston, even if I have to crawl ala Sian Welch and Wendy Ingraham in the 1997 Ironman.  I plan to enjoy each and every step along my road to Boston.  See you there in April.

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