After running on the treadmill the other day, and thinking about how great that run was, I have had a paradigm change.
I just had my most enjoyable run yet.
I am back again.
A week ago, I shut it down after I woke up with pain, probably better described as discomfort, just above the area where I had Achilles surgery. I had been pushing it a bit, just a little, with some “boxing” at my in home boxing gym (in my garage), some long (virtual) PT sessions, other stretching, and the advent of a short, but steep, hill into my runs.
It was bound to happen.
I’m a runner. I love running. But, I didn’t want to run tonight.
Well, I am falling onto a nice pattern, running every other day, just like when I first became a marathoner about 18 years ago. Back then I strictly followed the marathon plan in the great book The Non-Runners Marathon Trainer. That plan called for three or four runs a week – basically every other day. In the years since then I became a sometimes every day runner and other times a five-day-a-week runner. In my prime, when I set my marathon PR in Chicago (2006) (boy, that was a long time ago…) I was peaking at 50+ mile weeks.
But, for now, I am an every other day runner and my distances don’t compare.
It’s all part of the process.
It’s a good process.
It’s a strange feeling, learning to walk again. Because of the surgery to repair my right Achilles tendon, I went about seven weeks without walking.
…but that doesn’t make this feel any better.
I knew it was time. I know I had to do this, but it still hurts.
…and with that long run, my 2019 marathon dream is over.
Today was supposed to be my last long run, a final effort, to prove to myself that I could actually do the marathon. The truth, the reality I must face, is that I can’t. Not this year.
I gave it everything I had.
And then some.
Today I bit off way more than I could chew.
I was fortunate, all three of my sons were home to celebrate a birthday, and two of them, Ryan and Ethan, are training for some upcoming long races. Because of that, they were both willing to slog along on a twelve mile “run” with me.
Our goal was to complete the entire Saddle River Bike Path, from Ridgewood to Rochelle Park, and then back again…a twelve mile jaunt.
I believe that the marathon is about equal amounts of physical and mental toughness. I think the mental toughness aspect of the race is often times more important than the physical side. There comes a time in every race, and in every training run, when most runners want to quit. I can say this unequivocally, there comes a time, usually multiple times, in every run when I want to quit.
Running is hard. Very hard. I have to continually and constantly resist the urge to quit.
My favorite runs are the ones I spend with my dear friend Ed. Ed is a 33 time marathoner (I have just done 21 of them). He’s also an IRONMAN (something I will probably never be). Ed is a warrior and an inspiration.
He’s also a close close friend. I cherish the times we run together.