12 April 2009

Bass Ackwards

This has to be the weirdest couple weeks of training I’ve ever put in. I’m doing it all wrong, and for a goal I’m not seeking. Or am I? Be true to yourself, except when you’re not sure that’s such a good idea.

It five weeks since I laced up the shoes again back on March 8th following a break that official clocked in at 134 days. On the theory that you need two days back at training to recoup what you lost for every day off, that hints that I won’t be back where I was (if I ever get back there, which isn’t really all that critical, but it’s a landmark of sorts) till December 1st. That’s simply depressing, so I am officially ignoring that theory. Hear that, theory? You’re bunk.

Officially, my goal is simple: get back in shape, drop most of the ten pounds I grew over the break, hopefully racing shape, get back close to my previous training pace neighborhood, and most importantly, get back to where it’s a little more fun than the wind-sucking of the moment. Not that I’m minding the wind-sucking, since that’s better than not running, but... And of course, don’t re-injure. There’s no timetable, though sooner means more fun, well, sooner.

But there’s this funny training run coming up that’s now only a week away called the Boston Marathon. I’m not racing it, I’m almost certainly not finishing it, but I’ve got the number so I’m going to start it, run for a while till I’ve had enough, and have some fun. That’s the party line.

There’s usually another story behind the party line. Such is the case here: I can’t deny that in the back of my head I’d like to finish it. I don’t really care how long it takes, so long as it doesn’t cause injury. It would simply be cool to run, jog, shuffle, or even walk across the finish line and get that medal. It would be a medal with very different meaning from my previous marathon medals. They all meant something ranging from ‘first marathon’ to ‘first Boston’ to ‘broke three hours’ or even ‘I earned this one with my face!’. This one would simply say, ‘I’ve overcome this speed bump in life’.

I seriously doubt it’s going to happen. I’ve only been running five weeks. But stranger things have happened.

Today, following an Easter Sunday Mass that couldn’t be beat, I set forth amidst a cold, blustery wind for my first double-digit mileage run since Wineglass. For the first time in over six months I strapped on the fuel belt stocked with gel, and headed out on one of my sweeping circle courses, designed so that I can cut in from any point and beeline home if the feeling simply doesn’t move me. And? It was good, but it wasn’t nirvana. I plodded along at what is for me a slow 8 minute pace. I remembered that I’ve forgotten how to dress for days like this. But that pesky calf held out painless for 8 miles before noting its presence – and then only slightly – an improvement that signals growing strength. Other biological bits made their presence known as well, but the source of my woes, Mr. Big Toe, offered no resistance. And I was happy enough by 11 miles in to start adding loops around my house until the mental digit counter estimated (correctly, it turned out) that I’d covered at least half a marathon.

In any marathon training program, I should have done my 20+ milers weeks ago and be tapering and resting. Instead I popped in my longest run since resuming, logged the half marathon, and crossed the princely total of 100 miles since the running reboot. Far behind any recommended schedule, I’m working to strengthen various parts in the dwindling time before April 20th. It’s just so wrong, it’s totally bass ackwards.

But it’s OK, because after all, I’m not training for the marathon, I’m working up to a long training run. Today told me I can probably make to downtown Wellesley in decent shape. And if I find myself in Wellesley, then Newton Lower Falls, Newton, take it easy on the hills, and I’ve still got close to four hours on the clock before they shut down the processing line by the Pru, well, heck, nothing like a pleasant stroll down Beacon Street, right?

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