Wednesday, September 30, 2009
It's the last day of September 2009. The fall of the year is officially starting to pull us into the deep end where it all goes dark. Fortunately that's not how I'm seeing September and the hereafter.
But things have been a little tough lately. And this year has been less than ideal as far as running is concerned. Granted, my expectations are pretty reasonable -- stay healthy, develop my aerobic fitness and get after some off-road (mountain) racing here in SoCal. Still, this has been an uneventful year, one of which I can easily say I didn't progress much (so far) and therefore feel fairly unsatisfied. But that's not how I see Jan--September either.
I set aside a lot of my racing goals early on because my wife was studying for a huge test. She passed that one and then became eligible to take another one. She passed the last one in August. I am so proud of her. Going into the first one, we were both saying "go big or go home" (pass or move-on). She passed. The second test was almost perfunctory. Done deal. Mission accomplished.
As for my year running-wise. Physically, I've been a mess. I got a little leg injury (calf) early in the season from going too hard too quick? I guess. Then I got going again, but with no races on the schedule (nod to wife's goals) I just sorta plodded along. I picked-up again on the aerobic program, started to work on that and just tried to groove that with an August race on the calendar. I was going to hit my first 50k. With my failure to develop a disciplined program of running early early, before the family got going, I flailed at some mid-day work-outs in the heat, between appointments . . . obnoxiously ineffective. One of my solutions? Run on the treadmill. I proceeded to develop some shin splints and other tweaks so I had to then deal with that, with a 50k on the horizon.
You guessed it: only 1 loop, 25k. But I felt great. With very mediocre training (total crap) I had a good run and the body, shins and all felt pretty solid. Nice.
Then a couple of days later, after a run, I developed a bruised heel. The Bulldog descents? Perhaps. By limping around on that, trying to walk on my forefoot, I aggravated my ankle. I was a mess! Oh yeah, a week before the 25k, I found myself grappling at a jui jitsu practice and I strained my groin. Geeez.
So really I've been hobbling around for a few months, since July really, but I was able to get in a nice 25k that left me feeling really good about doing what I'm doing.
Then three weeks ago, I came down with a cold. My son had a little something, but he never got worse. I proceeded to get bronchitis! I haven't had that in a loooong time. My wife got it too! We have been toast for 3 weeks. Unbelievable. Really demoralizing, incapacitating. Huge bummer.
But I have to say, I did a lot of thinking. A lot. I read a lot. I kept-up on my buddies' blogs. I grew to appreciate more than I ever have the beauty of working-out, of going hard and having a few laughs with friends, drinking a beer. We were in lock-down. Brutal. But the light had gone on. I was making commitments to myself and my wife (and even my son). I couldn't wait to get back at it, make the most of every day. You hear that and you think whatever, talk about cliche. But I feel that. I feel so blessed to have the freedom to go. And that's what time it is.
So, I have had my off season (After last off season --December/Jan-- I said I would never do that kind of total down time again). I am ready to go. I finished the steroids I was on (yeah) on Sunday. I felt the turn Sunday night and Monday. Worked all day Tuesday.
I ran 4 miles today. I felt amazing. And although I got a little weak this afternoon (uh-oh!), I think I'm through the crap. The run was flat but the sun was perfect, it was early and I felt none of my tweaks. The shin splint is long gone. The only soreness I'm going to feel is unfamiliarity. I have goals. I can't wait for 2010 but I still got some '09 left.
I will be in touch!