If you read my last Blog about Racing Etiquette, you know that race season if officially upon us. This is evident by the number and size of the blisters on my well worn out feet. But it is Spring, and my friends and I all running rampant! My face book news feed is packed with photos of my friends doing various runs and races, from virtual 10k’s to multiple marathons within days of each other.
What the heck keeps us going? Why do train all winter, in ridiculously wet, cold, windy weather, just so we can pay money, drive or fly somewhere, get hotels, get up before the crack of dawn and huddle, freezing, at starting lines, so we can run our often-battered bodies until we puke? Some people would say it’s for the medals we covet at the finish line of a marathon. Some are trying to win, or PR at least. For others it’s the elusive Boston qualifying time they are chasing. The reasons are different for everyone, and change from week to week for each runner.
On May 5th, I ran the Tacoma City Half Marathon. It was my third half marathon in a month. I had PR’d the previous week, and the only goal I had for this race was to have fun. I learned something during this race, as I always do. What I learned was this:
I need therapy. There, I said it. I’m pretty sure most of my running friends do too, but they’re not willing to admit it. (Insert smiley face) I am overdoing it again, and I am finally ready to admit it. But, my torn Peroneal Tendon, Achilles Tendinitis, Plantar Fasciitis, blisters, and bunion have spoken AGAIN. Time to back off and heal again.
But wait, I am signed up for the Rock and Roll Half Marathon this weekend!!!!
As you may know, I am (almost) in my mid 50’s. Recently, several people have expressed doubts about that, but what I say is this: Look closer. WITH your glasses on. Trust me, there are days when I feel every single year that I have lived, and then some. I am wrestling with an aging body, an immature mind, and a free spirit. I wouldn’t have it any other way, I just would like to do without the injuries. Therapy might help stop me from running rampant and continuing to exacerbate my injuries. I know many of you know exactly what I’m talking about. HELLO!!!
So, what’s a girl to do? THIS girl won’t run this whole week, but she will bike, swim, and work out at the Warrior Room. On Sunday, I will remember to bring my brain with me and take it slowly, enjoying the scenery, the great music, and the friends I will make along the route. I promise. I will try not to envy those of you that can run marathons every other week, and gleefully PR, and BQ your way into oblivion. I love you all, and you inspire me, and someday, I too will join you again and kick ass.
Why do we do this? I’ll tell you why. Because of each other. Because of the freedom of the road. Because of the looks we get when we tell someone our true age, and they don’t believe us. We do it because we have a need inside us to conquer something. We do it for the sweat, grime, pain, and elation. We do it because we have the support and admiration of our friends and families. We do it because we CAN. Ever since I became a distance runner and joined several running groups,teams, forums, and clubs, I found the absolutely indescribable, unconditional love and support of my piers-beyond anything I have ever imagined. When I run, they are all with me. Every step. Every wonderful or painful step.
Just like Derek Redmond in the 1992 Olympics, when his father helped him limp to the finish after a sudden injury, I feel the loving supportive arms of my running community around me, carrying me forward, no matter what. Thank you running community. I have no higher praise than this!