It Ain’t Always Pretty


These arrived in the mail this week. Things just got real up in here.

With only 4 weeks until the Myrtle Beach marathon, I find myself chin-deep in marathon training.  And chin-deep in marathon training is not always a pretty place to be.

Case in point – on Friday, Laura and I set out to run an ‘easy’ 7 or 8 miles around McAlpine Park. It was a frigid morning leaving hazardous patches of ice throughout the park.  We cautiously proceeded, pointing out icy spots to each other along the way, especially along the wooden bridges turned skating rinks.  On days like this, you are one distracted misstep away from rendering 12 weeks of hard work moot.  But a few miles in, we were both still fine and unharmed, having successfully circumnavigated any number of treacherous traps along the course.  The fat hawk seemed to give us a nod of approval as we ran under him and his high branch perch for what seemed like the ten-thousandth time in the last few weeks.

But as we started to cross the weir to get to the section of trail that leads to the Old Bell entrance, we faced a pretty significant obstacle – flooding the day before had left the weir covered in mud, and not firm mud, but rather that slick, slimy, slippery kind.

As is so often the case these days, Laura was a few steps ahead of me and as such, the decision on what to do about this muddy dilemma was solely hers.  She did exactly what I would have done – she began running up the embankment which, while also muddy, looked much firmer and  safer.  She took one good step along the embankment.  Her second hit a slick spot and her foot shot out from under her and BAM, she landed squarely on her tush and then mud-sledded sans sled down and across the weir.  She left about a ten-foot trail that I wish I had photographed.

I gingerly rushed to her side, tiptoeing across the muddy weir lest I join her seated in the mud.  Training cycle fall count – Laura 2, Allen 1.5.  The half is from an occurrence about 6 weeks ago when I stubbed my toe on a rock and most assuredly would have gone down had I not reached out and clung to Laura, something she quickly reminded of after she went down and I was nowhere to be grabbed.

Other than a sore shoulder, a mud-covered derriere, and a bruised ego, Laura was fine, albeit a little extra cautious when we traversed the muddy weir a second time on our way back.  The next day, when we found ourselves approaching the weir again, a guy running ahead of us ran up and down the embankment with ease when Laura, exasperated, cried out to me “Seriously?” which made me laugh hard.  She followed with “That’s exactly how I was envisioning it yesterday!”  Which made me laugh more.

And just so you know, the mud run was the easiest run of the week.  On Thursday, we had a BRUTAL workout of mile repeats in the freezing rain, complete with gale-force winds that threatened to blow us over numerous times during the run – it was by far the toughest workout of the training cycle.  And then on Saturday we covered a 20-miler, never a pretty thing in my world.

We made it through the week alive, albeit with a few scrapes, bruises, and one muddy ass.  If those are the worst things that happen to you during marathon training, you’re one of the lucky ones.  Because hopefully we’ll take our muddy hind-ends to Myrtle Beach in 4 weeks and leave with a couple of Boston qualifiers.  Hope to see you there!


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