30 March 2009

Protective Custody Denied

In an attempt to prevent an outbreak of irrational exuberance, I applied to be taken into protective custody by the Boston Athletic Association. So far as I can tell, I was denied. Since I don’t think the Federal Witness Protection Program applies here, I’ll just have to go and have some fun.

I’m now at T+3 weeks since I resumed my running. I’ve already done what every beginner does and every experienced runner says they know better and won’t do, which is to pile it up a bit too quick and pay the price. Experience kicked in, though, and I backed off, so the price was perhaps only a buck or two. My right calf started complaining, and it’s brother-in-arms (brother-in-legs?) the shin added it’s voice, so I backed off a couple of days and all feels well again. Besides, the weather was miserable today, so another day of rest was downright attractive.

The cool part about this was that by last Thursday, when I ran my daughter around a short two mile loop then added another lap for personal satisfaction, I could for the first time say that something other than my foot was my primary concern. What a milestone! I’m finding that I’m not thinking about the toe most of the time I’m running, and that mindset has started to leak over to when I’m walking, even without shoes. Mr. Big Toe still doesn’t curl, and perhaps he never may, but once again he’s doing the primary job he was designed for.

Last week I cranked it up to a nine miler at eight minute pace. A few shorter runs have clocked in a little quicker. It’s encouraging, though there’s still ten pounds to shed to regain Emaciated Kenyan status and a minute to shave off the average training pace. That’s assuming a return to the old normal, which of course may never happen. Matters not, I’m out there and loving it.

And so here we are, three weeks till Boston. Will he, or won’t he? Yes, I signed up for (and of course paid for) Boston last fall, after Wineglass, knowing I was injured. Might as well, who knew what would transpire? Six months was a long time out, even if I knew I had some healing to do. Then the surgery, then I hoped I’d be back out there by late January, then February, which became March. Boston was clearly out of the question. But I didn’t want to defer until I found out my number. Then along came bib number 1899, and while there’s not a neuron in my brain that thinks I can race it, it’s sure tempting to run at least part of it.

Which brings us to protective custody. Sanity shrieks a clear message here. The self-preservation instinct drove me to seek safe haven serving up the goodies at a water stop, just to keep me off the race course. Dutifully, though with a touch of sadness, I hit the BAA website. I was a bit puzzled when the site insisted that I sign up for a pre-race service slot but showed no race day opportunities. Assuming those must be on the next page, I agreed to sell BAA merchandise at the expo. Now, onto that next page for the race day activities – but no... Thanks, selection submitted, have a nice day.

It took me a few passes through the site to realize that there was no next page. There were no race day service opportunities. Like the race itself, they are, it seems filled and closed out. My attempt to be taken into protective custody has been denied.

Damn. I guess I’ll just have to run.

Now, there's no chance in purgatory that I’ll run fast, and I am telling myself and everyone who will listen (though few believe) that there’s no chance I’ll end up on Boylston Street. But with a ticket to the first corral, I owe it to myself to line up behind those Kenyans (being sure to stay to the side and out of the way of the racers, of course) and experience the front of the pack. Being that my Wineglass time is effectively identical to the Buffalo time that got me this slot hints I might get another chance up there next year, but who knows what next year will bring? In the long run, we are all dead. Right, Mr. Keynes? So enjoy it while it dangles.

Which offers up an interesting opportunity: start in the heat of the race, but with zero pressure, zero worries (other than to stay out of everyone’s way), not a care in the world other than how to thumb a ride home when I decide enough’s enough. I’ve ordered up a tiny little digital camera (my current one’s a little bulky), a nice big memory card, and a couple extra batteries. Unless it’s pouring rain (why kill a new camera?) I hope to have some fun and document this adventure. After all, blogs are more fun with pictures, right?

And if, hours, days, even weeks later, I wander onto Boylston Street, well, cool if I do, cool if I don’t. Let’s just hope for a nice day.

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