May 23, 2009

How'm I s'posed to get any ridin' done?

Horses running away
Originally uploaded by niznoz
The PT says she thinks my lower legs just didn't absorb the those 50 mile weeks. Anyway, my calves stopped wishing to accompany me on my runs. So because I would not stop for them, they kindly stopped for me.

I haven't been able to run 10 feet let alone 10 miles, and I even walk funny, my gastrocnemius hanging off my bones like an old rubber band.

No runs for damn near 3 weeks now. I've filled the time halfheartedly with fitful core workouts, bouts with the elliptical machine, and some weight training. But I don't have much patience for staying put any more. I just want to run, calves be damned.

I trained for the last 4 months for next weekend's Brooklyn Half-Marathon. Now I'm not sure I can even run it, let alone "shred." Physical therapy a couple of times a week and there's some improvement. But it's a long-term thing, and one more week is unlikely to put much spring back in my step.

Will I have to give up my big race? And if I decide to race it, am I setting myself back? It's all a big ol' spin of the wheel, a soap opera, a blind date in a leaky boat.

So I wait, I wonder, I hope for fresh horses. If I can't run next week, the weekend will be peevish, and both my wife and I are tiring of the peevishness. But there're other races, and my running is a long-term thing. I could be a pretty fast old geezer someday. That's the whole point of The Long Rush.

I'm about to try a short run this afternoon. Maybe it'll knock something into place, or out of place, or some sense into my head, or just piss me off.

It's a long-term thing. Damn it.

UPDATE: Chased by dogs, paced by a rooster and some spooked cows, and netted in caterpillar silk, I managed to complete 6 miles, in a gorgeous, green late afternoon, at a decent pace. I'm vacationing in rural Pennsylvania, where the air, as they say, is like fine hooch. So it was a great thing to run again, even if it set me back, even if it hurt some, and even if the hills near did me in. I like to run.

Came back to help dig a big hole to roast tomorrow's pig in. And now it's time for a cocktail and fat fabulous steak. Like the man said, I am running to Paradise.

May 1, 2009

Believe in the crash

street poem
Originally uploaded by the amazing niznoz
April was a slow month here at The Long Rush, slow in every sense, not least because I kept taking time off from running to nurse new injuries. Actually I don't like to think of them as injuries, or not as running injuries - or really anything that could be my own damn fault.

The routine goes like this. I run a really good 50-mile week. The Sunday long run is blissful and hard. But then whammo, Monday is a bitch. Legs like lead, sharp pain in one place or another, one week it's in my side the next time behind my knee. I have to rest, ice, and elevate for a week, and it's my own damn fault.

And all I can think of for that week is how much I want to get back out on the road.

The attractions of such a cruel mistress might seem strange. I guess I'm one of those guys who wears his claw marks proudly. In fact the pain and the recovery from pain is not just an interruption of the affair, but somehow its consummation. One way to stir the stale life of the office chair is to go fight dragons. The dragon, to paraphrase Pogo, is always us.

So I push out against what seemed to be my limits. I want my 50-mile weeks, dammit. By now it's pretty clear that 50 miles is a lot for me, when I've only been running 4 months. I can't stop myself trying though, and each time the crash gets a little easier and the recovery quicker.

I've been haunted the last few weeks by this soundbite, from a story I read in the paper:

At this point, I like that fine line of balancing right between injury and not injury, seeing what I can get out of my body. Sometimes I lie in bed at night and wonder if I’ve done all I can, and if I haven’t, I go out at night and do more.

Obviously, that guy's even crazier than me. But how wise too, this idea that you can't know where injury waits except by charging toward it, that not-injury lies just this side of it, and somehow on that razor's edge you make your life your own, your own damn fault.