April 15, 2017
Cobwebs have been spun in the corners. The layer of dust is thick, and mostly undisturbed. There is a faint smell of mold in the air.
Much has been neglected.
Whether I am referring to my blog or my passtime, I leave for you to decide.
The past 6 months were to be my first “off-season” in 5 years. A chance to attend to other neglected parts of my life. A chance to heal some lingering injuries. A chance to recharge the batteries.
The “off-season” have been mostly that…”off”.
I did no running between my last event and early March (and maybe a dozen 5-10k jogs since). I hit the pool once and didn’t touch my bike since August (but I just dropped off the bike at my local shop for its spring tune-up). I averaged an hour per week (well, maybe) on the elliptical cross trainer.
It’s been a lazy 6 months.
Today’s event was an early season “fun-run”. Hell, they serve chocolate fondue at the finish line. I registered for the event almost 2 years ago (I deferred last year as it conflicted with the new Disney World Star Wars Half Marathon). I have never had a “Did Not Start” (or DNF for that matter), so I was committed to this. I had a feeling it would be ugly, but I hoped it would stir me from my slumber and get me training for this upcoming season.
It worked…kindof…if a dozen or so 5k-10k training “runs”…at a 12 min/mile pace. Well…small victories I guess.
But, that came at a cost. I have a few lingering injuries. Knees just ache all of the time. More importantly, I have an inflamed ankle tendon (posterior tibial tendinosis) which can rupture…and for which the only cure is surgery (which never turns out well). Both of these came back almost instantaneously. I had forgotten what it is like to walk down the stairs pain free.
So, my hopes that time would heel all injuries didn’t work. I also learned what it feels like to start running again…and how much everything hurts.
This 2017 running season was always planned as a toned down season. Something fairly low key with only a small handful of races (4 race weekends total…this being the first). There are a few big events lined up, and this would either be a re-boot of my running passion, or an epilogue to a pretty amazing five year run. Looks like it will be the latter. But, I like to share these experiences, and will be dusting off the blog for a few race reports.
So, let’s get on with it.
See the green dot…that’s the starting line. See the big red blob….that’s what was heading right at us.
Fortunately, all the lightning seemed to have disappeared. It was also the warmest morning of the year (60 F) with (mostly) light wind.
I sat in the car for awhile, waiting to hear if the race was a go/no go for launch. It looked like we were doing this. By the time I reached the starting line, I came to realize that my wind resistant/rain resistant jacket was neither.
All that being said, this was a bit of a homecoming. It felt good to be here again for a no-stress event.
The race itself was a familiar course. I have run up and down this road dozens of times in the past five years. It was hillier then I remembered it to be.
We were advised that we could take a left turn at mile 1.5 if we wanted to bail and do the 5k run instead (it was tempting) and that we would be turned around (out and back course) if the storm system started to show some unexpected “energy” (aka: lighting). I was relieved to reach the turnaround without incident.
I had not run more then 10k at a time in the past 6 months. I hoped that the energy and adrenaline of the event would propel me that final 5k. You know, like only doing a 20 mile training run before a marathon. Sometimes it works. Today… not quite. I was taking a lot of unplanned “walk breaks” in the final 5k. Fortunately, the rain had stopped by this time and the temps started to climb a bit. The pace slowed a little more but still did better then expected given the slow training runs I have had in the past month.
Finish Time – 1:39:13
Pace – 10:39/mile
The medal was pretty sweet, as was the chocolate goodie bag. The walk through the muddy field (errr…swamp) wasn’t.
So, a partial success. Farther and faster then I had run all year, but chronic injuries are still there. I am expecting some great experiences during the rest of the season, but I will not be returning to my old schedule and my old running form. This may be an epilogue to this story, but I plan to put an exclamation mark on the final few races.
Now, I must segue to Triathlon. Three months until my next event, and I must become friends again with my bike and the community swimming pool in the near future.
Hopefully, the cobwebs will be cleared up at our next visit.