Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Running out of time

My life has become mostly centered around running these days. In a mere six and a half weeks, I am supposed to be running the London Marathon. So that means running (ideally) five days a week.

However, I am running into (pun intended!) the reality of being 40, and it hurts. I've always been athletic - I learned to ski as a toddler, took ballet classes for seven years before coming to grips with the reality that being 5'9" and 150 lbs at age 14 was never going to coincide with a dramatic ballet career, then discovered crew and found my dream sport.

I was a serious competitive rower for nigh on 15 years - through high school and college and graduate school. Then I upped sticks and moved to the land of no water (aka Arizona) and found a new sport: triathlon. No one would ever have confused me with a fast triathlete (that 150 lbs was more like 170 at that point), but I was a strong cyclist, and started to swim at the ripe old age of 25, and got to the point where running wasn't all bad. Then we moved to Houston, and its fabulously enthusiastic triathlon community. I entered a bunch of races, and in a moment of insanity entered the 2003 Marine Corps Marathon with a group of my rowing buddies from graduate school. Even more insane, we got places, and so I really had to get into the running thing. I ran the marathon that October, after an up-and-down training schedule that included a second degree ankle sprain in July (aka not ideal training). And I finished it, in 4:54. I've done half-Ironmans, 5K swims, 112 mile bike rides in less time then my marathon, and through it all managed to stay relatively injury free (excepting a few truly spectacular bike crashes in triathlons, but we won't talk about those...) (Austin Fire Dept - you're the best!)

My stated goal this time around was to aim for 4:30 - I'm pretty positive that I will never be a fast runner, or even a quick runner. But I want to go faster this time around then the last time. However, I am finding that training for a marathon is a) very different when you're 40 then when you're 30 (damn mortality!!!) and b) needs to start from a base of consistency in level of activity. Which, in all honesty, I didn't have. In the last two months, I've cycled through problems with my left hip, my right knee and, as of yesterday, my right hip, and I'm feeling a bit demoralized by the whole thing. It's a wee bit frustrating when I can go and run 18 miles one day (last Friday to be exact), but then have to quit 1.18 miles into an easy 5 miler (that would be yesterday).

Today I've been chiropracted and released and stretched and pulled and taped up. My hip still hurts, but my chiro seems to think that I should be able to keep training. This week is lower mileage overall, which should help, and it's not bursitis, which is a really, really, really good thing. But I'm finding myself more then a little bit nostalgic about past fitness. Hopefully my decrepit old carcass holds together for a little while longer...

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