"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Monday, January 25, 2010


"I'm standing in the middle of the road with my past behind me." - The Pretenders.

Running's been tough. It's hard to remember that I couldn't even climb a flight of stairs two months ago - until I start running. Making a comeback is difficult, doing it during incipient geezerdom is harder. Add the usual and unusual stresses of life and I get to thinking about retiring. Again.

I can run about four slow miles without pain, but by six, I'm starting to hobble and it's excruciating by 8. Broken bones on broken glass kind of pain. It's not going to get better, so I have to start thinking about just how much pain I'm willing to tolerate.

I tried to run long on Friday, because the weather was nice and I ended up doing 9 miles, one short of the long run of the year (on January 1). Saturday, I went to watch the Securian 1/2-Marathon in hopes of getting inspired. I went running later in the day and it started raining heavily; I got in 8 miles before I had to stop and limp, gingerly, back home. Sunday was going to be the last warm day in the foreseeable future (back below zero this week), so I had one more chance to get in some running. The ultrarunners around here are all doing 20 milers on trails (or 30 plus, in one case) and it's killing me that I can't.

Thinking about the 1/2-marathon got me a little angry. I'd watched it with a few acquaintances. Here's how part of the conversation went:
"How many times have you done this race, Steve?
"Depends on how you count it. I did it both years it was a full marathon and about once every five years since."
"When was it a marathon?"
"1982 and 1983."
"I wasn't born then... What kind of times have you run in the half?"
"In the mid '90's, I ran 1:22:20 here on a cold day. I may have done better, but I wrote that one down. I saw it on an old calendar yesterday."
"Wow. Did you win?"
"I think I was about 50th."

This year, that'd be 8th place and it was warmer than usual this year. No one seems to care any more. I probably could've forced myself to run 1:35-1:40 this year and that would be 100th to 150th place, but I wouldn't be able to move for a week if I had and why kill oneself for 100th place in a race no one cares about (and which is way overpriced)?

Sunday, I headed out, determined to run long, even though "long" is about half as long as it was last year. At 11 miles, I had reached the furthest I'd gone this year and felt okay, if sore. At 12, I thought I'd make it to 20. At 14, I thought I'd make it to 17. At 15, I forced myself to go one more mile. I didn't make it.

15 in 2:19. And it hurt like hell. I've got a long way to go, if I'm not quitting.


ShutUpandRun said...

Oh, you're not quitting.

Anonymous said...

What kind of injury do you have? Is it something which rest or cross training (snow shoveling, walking to and from grocery store carrying 2 x 10 pound sacks of groceries, etc.) won't cure?

I am recovering from a tight left knee, had to take 6 weeks off, it is finally getting better. I did a lot of walking and tried running once a week. The thing which helped the most was 2 hour walks up and down a snow covered hill. Injuries are like puzzles, there is a solution, but sometimes the pieces are not readily found.

Don't give up, or as Churchill once spoke - "never give in, never give in, never give in!"

Bill P. said...

For you, Steve, I think the song lyric should be "standing in the middle of the road with my "pants" behind me.... ;-)

Also looking forward to some more of your new TV show ideas.

Bill P.

Jean said...

Steve, I hope the runs start feeling good again soon. Take care of yourself, and all the best to you!