Monday, April 21, 2008

Runnin' down a dream

"It felt so good, like anything was possible...

Yes, such was my passion for running this Sunday morning that I casually (ok, there were some stomach butterflies) joined the marathon group with the Running Room, deciding that instead of 12 or 16 or 18 kilometres (the Half-Marathoners were doing 12), I'd go for 24! Why not?!

I realized why not at about the 18 kilometre mark. My muscles didn't want to be pushed anymore, some chipper blond had just suggested that my plantar fasciitis symptoms meant I shouldn't be running at all, the conversation was dying down, and ... I'd already run 18 kilometres!

But I pushed on. Outside the DFAIT building, while the group waited for a red light, I tried to sound casual when I asked group leader Scott "would you mind telling me how far we've gone?"
About 21.5 km, he figured.
Exactly the distance of a half-marathon. What a coincidence.

The coincidence would only last about another five blocks; by the time we hit that weird intersection outside the National Gallery my mind was made up (or at least my mind could not convince my body otherwise any longer). I filtered off to the side and let my fellow runners stream ahead. Then I walked. It only lasted about two blocks, but it felt great.

It didn't feel nearly as great to walk home. And I apologize to anyone in Hartman's or on Bank Street Sunday at 11:30; if I gave you the death stare it's just because you were not my bed.

Speaking of which, right before bed I decided to check out this whole plantar fasciitis thing. It's bad. You know carpal tunnel syndrome? The secretary disease that puts people out-of-commission or in orthopaedic contraptions for years? There's also tarsal tunnel syndrome, and it can lead to all sorts of nasty things...namely, not running.

Have I learnt nothing?
On Sunday morning, as I was cavorting with the marathoners and feeling all proud of my ambitious self (hubris!!), one of the marathoners said "well, at least you know your limits." I had been explaining how, ten years ago, I ran a beautiful 4:06 marathon in Victoria, B.C. Then I got all excited about being a 'real' marathoner and attempted one six months later in London, Ontario.
Too soon! Not enough training! Too sick the week before! I don't know what the Greeks said about resting on your laurels, but I'm all for that now. My second marathon was weak, unsatisfying, and 40 minutes slower. I missed a concert and I only remember pain. O yes, and that awful Cher song that I couldn't get out of my mind:
"Do you believe in life after love
I can feel something inside me say
I really don't think you're strong enough, no ..."

Imagine that for 42 kilometres with nothing but your ho-hum hometown to distract you.

So the lyrics continue. Now I seem to be running down some dream that may, in the end, require surgery. I iced my legs and wore shoes to bed, and this morning my feet didn't feel like they had marbles surgically implanted in them overnight.
Like resting and icing and stretching, we have to ward off our ambitions in order to stay injury-free.

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