My Non-Running Running Life

Hey Gang,

In case you were wondering, I’m still not running regularly.  I’m trying to remain optimistic though.  This past week I was struck by how much my social life revolves around running even while I’m not running.  Here’s how the week went.

You may recall that I ran last Saturday and Sunday.  As has been typical, the Achilles (both of them) were not pleased with this – I woke up limping on Monday.  Running was simply not going to happen on Monday, so I hit the by now all too familiar stationary bike at the Y.  Ditto on Tuesday.  Wednesday, I tried to jog on the treadmill but the pain was significant enough that I decided against it – I cranked up the incline and walked briskly instead.  Thursday, more stationary bike.

Friday, I dilly-dallied around the condo until time to meet the Runners’ Lunch crew at Fuel Pizza uptown.  We had quite a crowd since many of the gang took this opportunity to spend time with running friends before shooting over to the Thunder Road expo, directly across the street at the Convention Center.  I was pretty quiet as I stuffed my face with pizza while Kevin recounted the story of his New York marathon.  I listened intently, partly because I was very interested in hearing what happened during Kevin’s race, and partly because I plan to run it next year.  Kevin and Scott (Helms) both ran it this year, but Scott’s finish stole the show – see it here (on the right of the screen, click on the thumbnail entitled “finish center right”.  Watch for Scott in the red Charlotte Running Club singlet and the dark visor).

After Runners’ Lunch, much of the gang and I hit the expo.  The plan was to help out at the Charlotte Running Club booth and occasionally sneak away to check out all the cool stuff the expo had to offer, stuff like Todd Mayes’ booth introducing his new line of Alot Sports clothing.  I grabbed a free 5-hour Energy shot, chugged it, and was wired for hours.  Who needs sleep anyway?

I got to chat with quite a few of my friends and Charlotte-area runners including, but not limited to, Michael Kahn, Caitlin Chrisman, Aaron Linz, Steve Spada, Emily Barrett, Larry Seavers, Matt Rich, Scott Helms, etc.  Kahn snapped this photo of me with my friend, co-worker, and Kahn protegé, PJ Smith who was all set to run his first half marathon at Thunder Road:

PJ finally escaped the pager long enough to go to the expo.

Kahn was running around shooting this video, which captured quite a few of the cooler expo moments, including an impromptu autograph session with Charlotte’s own, now apparently famous, Billy Shue.  Look for my cameos throughout the video – I’m wearing the red short-sleeved Charlotte Running Club t-shirt.

But the highlight of my week, without a doubt, was meeting Dick Beardsley.  Kahn has known him for a while so he introduced us.  Dick’s an affable guy and quite a talker – I listened intently and was mesmerized by his many stories of elite running in the 80’s.  Dick took the immortal Alberto Salazar to the wire in the 1982 Boston Marathon which, to this day, is the greatest marathon finish I’ve ever seen.  If you haven’t read the book Duel in the Sun, you really must – it’s a phenomenal read, especially if you’ve ever run a marathon.  I wish I had a “real” copy of the book – I couldn’t very well have Dick sign my Kindle.  But I grabbed a Charlotte Running Club card and had Dick sign that.  Here’s photographic evidence:

I meant to have Dick sign my Boston Confirmation of Acceptance card, but I left it in my car. This Charlotte Running Club card worked in a pinch..

Later that night, at the pasta dinner where Dick was the featured speaker, I got choked up watching a 9-minute video of the ’82 Boston finish, spectacularly dramatic even 29 years later when I knew the outcome.  I was fighting off tears and readying myself with excuses like “I got something in my eye” lest any of the present jokers, Scott, Kahn, Stan, or Caleb caught me getting emotional.  I managed to hide all evidence of tears by the time the lights were brought back up.

After the video, Dick gave a very inspirational speech.  And even though I paid $40 while everyone else got in for free (the Charlotte Running Club was offered 40 free last-minute spots to the dinner), I didn’t regret paying at all – the speech was well worth every cent.  I’d pay another $40 to hear him give the exact same speech tonight.

And while Dick’s speech left me fired up and anxious to run again, I’m still proceeding cautiously with my 2 or 3 runs a week.  I bought some recovery compression socks at the new Lake Norman Charlotte Running Company and I’ve been wearing them a  lot in hopes of speeding up the healing process.  The left Achilles is still “iffy” and the right one hurts as well, but I remain optimistic that this down-time will end soon.  I think I’ll  jump in this little race in Alabama on Thanksgiving to keep my streak of running a race on Thanksgiving alive (number 4 and counting), but don’t look for me to win, or even PR.  I’ll just stroll along and burn a few calories so I can stave off weight gain during the feast later in the day.

So while I’m barely running at all, I keep hanging out with my running pals and surrounding myself with running inspiration.  Hopefully, this will help keep me motivated and working through this highly annoying Achilles issue.  If anybody is going to be in Anniston, Alabama on Thanksgiving day, let me know and maybe we can jog the Plucked Turkey 10K together.


One Response to “My Non-Running Running Life”

  1. How I Got Into the 2014 Boston Marathon | Allen's Road To Boston Says:

    […] chronicling Alberto Salazaar and Beardsley’s epic battle at the 1982 Boston Marathon), and Mike had introduced me to Dick (yeah, have fun with this those of you whose minds are in the gutter and let’s face it, most […]

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