Sunday, January 1, 2012

15 to go

I went to the finish line of my first race of 2012 as a spectator. As soon as I got out of work after midnight on January 1st, I jogged a block to Central Park in hopes of catching Lauren finish the NYRR Midnight Run. I saw her cross line with a big smile, as always and got to hear her race recap for a change. When it comes to roles, she definitely does a better job as a fan than I do. It’s hard to match that enthusiasm. But I hope my cheering was acceptable.

Of course, every time I watch a road race, I have one constant thought: I wish I was out there. As I watched the top men cruise to the finish in perfect conditions at the Midnight Run, my thoughts were no different. It was supposed to be a stress-free down month, but December ended up being largely discouraging. I battled a minor case of plantar fascitis, followed by hip pains, followed by quad pains, remedied by inserts, massage, stretching, drilling, Epsom salt and ice. After three weeks of taking sporadic days off and feeling sore and uninspired on runs, I was starting to wonder if my 2012 plans were realistic. Running has always felt natural, but each time I stepped out the door I felt like I was forcing my body to do something it didn’t want to do.

Then came Saturday. I walked out of the gym, did my toe-touches – pardon me – tried in vain to touch my toes and started toward the park. Something felt different. I can’t quite explain it, but it felt as if my legs had just come out of the packaging. There was a spring in my step. My stride was smooth. It felt 100% different than every other run I had done since early December. I was able to complete my workout (6X600 at 1:50) with no aches or pains. Then, this morning, I set out for a 16 mile solo long run. Every step felt great. I could have run for 20 miles. The weather was perfect. The scenery from the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges was inspiring. I had new music on the iPod.

Armed with a rejuvenated body, it’s time to buckle down. Training for this Boston Marathon is going to be a totally new experience for me. I’ll have to rely on my own self-motivation more than ever before. I’ll have to sacrifice more down time than ever before. I’ll have to run more solo miles than ever before. I’ll have to make sure this race isn’t a drain on Lauren. With all that in mind, I’m ready to go. 15 weeks is not a lot of time.

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