Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Turtle in a World of Rabbits

Tomorrow is the 115th running of the Boston Marathon. I know four people who qualified to compete and registered to go. Out of the four, two are definitely running, one is definitely not running due to injury and one is traveling there hoping to compete, but not sure if she will because of injury.

This is how it is sometimes in the sport of running. You sign up for something, you hope to do it -- and then you don't. Christopher McDougall, who wrote Born to Run, had the same experience. He signed up to run the Boston and was going to do it barefoot, then his father fell ill, and although his family told him his father would want him to run, he realized it might be what his father would say, but it certainly wasn't what his father would do if any of them were sick. So he didn't run. He went and saw his dad.

I will never be fast enough to qualify for road races like the Boston, and that's okay. Runner's World posted a wonderful Bart Yasso quote as their Facebook status before they started their Boston obsessive posting, "I often hear someone say, 'I'm not a real runner.' We are all runners, some of us just run faster than others. I never met a fake runner."

Runner's World must get that although a large number of their subscribers are obsessed with speed and super athletes, that a number of their readers are in it for the fitness or (god forbid) the pleasure. Because they also just released a Runner's World Trail Guide edition this month. In it the Letter from the Editor Josh Dean (who I love because of this article) talks about how he runs, but he's not a runner. He has no personal bests. He doesn't get up and do it every day. But he runs for health (and a fair amount of vanity) around NYC. For this issue of the magazine, he wrote about trail running and suddenly finding out that he loved it because it requires a runner to disconnect from distance because all you can do is concentrate on the path in front of you -- or you'll hurt yourself. This made me laugh, because it is true. Of course, I feel this way about running (or walking for that matter) anywhere. Today, I didn't lift my foot up enough on a 12-mile run and almost lost it on a sidewalk in front of Meadowbrook Park on a virtually flat surface. :-)

I am less than two weeks away from running my first half marathon at the Illinois Marathon. I don't find this a particularly giant athletic feat, as I know half the city is signed up to run it with me. But if you think of where I was fitness-wise the last time I attempted something like this (2001) before I totally screwed my IT bands and the doc told me I'd never run more than a 5k ever again, it's kind of a big deal. I know I'm ready to go. I know that in comparison to my bunny-like neighbors (who will be done and at home showered and eating lunch by the time I finish) that I am totally the tortoise. And as a tortoise, I have a running plan to stick to, because my performance is inconsistent (at best) and is largely based on my mental mood. My hardest run times are, honestly, getting outside to run (particularly in crap weather) and from mile 1.5 to mile 3 and from mile 9.5 to mile 10.5. If I can get through those, I'm doing pretty well. And I haven't had any kind of knee, hip or back pain since I signed up for the half in the middle of March.

For those of you who will be out in Urbana watching the first half of the marathon, I'm guessing I'll be running 12:15 minute miles on average, since I'm doing a walk/run approach. (It's kept me injury free thus far, so I'm sticking to it.) But I'm also sure that I will start toward the back of the pack between the folks that look like runners and the folks that look like walkers. It's my comfort zone at the line up, so it might take me a while to get to the starting line. For those of you far away, I'll be trying to use an iPhone application that will let me communicate where I am in the run for you. I've registered for both 26.2 and Glympse. I haven't figured out which will be better. But I'll try to link it through Facebook, if possible before the start.

Other than that, it's just me, hoping for decent weather, and that I'm not too cranky at the start. I'm not an early riser. I like it when the clock says 7 a.m.

However, on a different note, I will be making rabbit for dinner this week.

1 comment:

Andrina said...

Good luck with that run! I know from my first 1/2 last year it's a tough slow through those last couple km... although for me turning the last corner and making my way up the final stretch was way more emotional than I expected and gave me a boost to finish in style - my last km was my best pace time through the entire race! It's an amazing feeling to finish - savour it. And then sign up for a massage session as soon as you can after - you'll totally have deserved it!