I had no intentions of running when I got home from work tonight. After Sunday's reminder that injured body parts are subject to their own healing schedule - resisting the Mind-Body tangent - I was positive that the Cape Cod Marathon and the Stone Cat Marathon were events that would be whisked off into the realm of DNS's I have accumulated over the last couple years. Not that anything is ever certain at any weight, but I have found injuries can just appear out of thin air when you are carrying extra weight.
When I got home from work after the first LONG day of work I expect to be facing for the next couple week - new deadlined project - Fun stuff, but about six weeks of work stuffed into two weeks, all I could think about in the car was running.
So when I got home I just got my reflective gear, headlamp, and laced up the shoes and headed out. Going slow, but not expecting I'd get very far. Initally the goal was 20 easy, but as I ran I felt like I could bump that to 30 minutes. Though I have been feeling congested all week, everything felt great for the first twenty minutes. I can't say the last 10 minutes hurt, but I started feeling the knee get tight and uncomfortable. Regardless, I was elated to get the 30 minutes in.
It was sort of comical getting to about 15 minutes and having the internal conversation with myself about possibly running Cape Cod. I guess I should be happy that I might be able to swing Stone Cat as long as I stick with low impact training on the bike, and really give my knee the time to heal. I guess the only caution would be that it was the trail that jarred the knee in the first place.
Whether or not I run Stone Cat, I guess I am realizing I need to take the steps to make sure that one month of down time (if that is what it is going to take) doesn't result in two months of recovery and greatly diminished performance. I worked hard to get back to some semblence of being a long distance runner, and this injury is the first real challenge to my fitness. The last time I hurt myself it simply meant time off and then getting back to learning how to run 2 miles, then 3 miles, etc.
Most of all, the run tonight made me realize that I need to cherish every mile and be at peace with what I can do. Yes, there is the desire to strive for more, but as any who have taken up this crazy sport know, odds are if you keep running, you will get faster and develop the ability to go farther. In a weird way I saw these marathons as the pre-requisite to run an ultra, but as I discovered on the last run with Dan and Brenda, with the right pace and the proper motivation, ultras and marathons are sort of the same beast.
I guess this is where the goals for next year begin to rattle in my head, and when USATF-NE comes out with the 2009 Grand Prix Road Series schedule, I may finally have the right fitness to run all of the races, become an "Iron Runner" and then cap it off with my first 50 miler.
Best of luck to everyone tapering for their Fall marathons or ultras - one way or another I'll see you on the trails!
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