05 February 2009

I Smell Spring Thaw!

It’s ugly-like cold today, but the days are longer, the weekend was warm, and I was able to generate some good self-induced pain for the first time in months. It’s like a spring thaw. Normalcy is just around the corner, I can smell it.

A warm spell this past weekend gave me the opportunity to get out and do some good old fashioned ice chopping on the driveway, and for the next couple days my hands were sore and my grip a little weak, the usual result of a good whacka-whacka session. It’s the first time since October that I’ve imposed pain on myself and man, and it felt good. I’m not averse to the cavalry of neighbors showing up with their big machines to help out in a blizzard, and I’m extremely thankful they’ve been helping my wife during my incapacitation, but I’m a shovel guy at heart. Snow shovel, push mower, and marathons. It’s a consistent mindset, if nothing else.

Along with finally getting a bit active, the other sign of the impending spring thaw is that emails are arriving from all over about spring and summer races. My running friend Ron goaded me to join him at the Pineland Farms Trail Challenge, which might be a little too much too soon for my horse-assisted tendon, but sounds like a lot of fun, and that’s even before you consider that they give out cowbells. Another friend sent word of the Tri-Valley Front Runners Boston Tune-Up 15K. While I don’t expect to be doing anything particularly fast for the next few months, that one has more of a realistic shot of landing on my slate. Besides, I have a fondness for the distance, and 15Ks are few and far between anymore.

The grand-daddy of them all is, of course, the Utica Boilermaker. Or so I’ve been told. I grew up a mere hour and a quarter from Utica yet have never run it. It’s rather funny to look back now and think how, in the First Lap days of my youth, we turned our nose up at the fine city of Utica, considering we lived in (or at least near) the fine city of Binghamton. Oh, our self-centric views. How we needed to get out and see the world and get a little perspective. Today, the Boilermaker is on my list of ‘must run some day’ races.

Meanwhile, we had our own 15K back home in Binghamton, the Forks XV, which I’m pleased to say is still being run today, and is on my list of ‘must go back and do that one again’ races. It’s nothing on the scale of the Boilermaker but it’s got a great and long history. The course record is still held by my old friend Tom Carter who smoked the course at sub-5-minute pace, and the women’s record is still held by my old school-mate Cindi Girard. Not to be outdone, it ranks as the best race of my First Lap days, when I semi-smoked the course at 5:33 pace. That’s well beyond my Second Lap capabilities, but then again, I didn’t burn sub-3-hour marathons back then. Or any marathons for that matter. Times change, focus changes.

And my focus now is to get back on the road at any pace. Dr. Foot Doctor and I exchanged emails this evening and I’ve got the green light to cautiously work away from the air cast more than just around the house. I managed to get a real shoe, rather than just a sandal, on my foot today for the first time in two months. It’s time to loosen up the bolts with some cautious activity and get ready for some leisurely March Mileage.

I smell spring thaw!

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