|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 a la 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.