Consider this. Between injuries, I completed 3 half-marathons this year. Here are the results:
January 22: Manhattan Half Marathon: 1:39:22
September 25: Liberty Half Marathon: 1:32:53
November 20: Philadelphia Half Marathon: 1:29:23
Granted, I ran the Manhattan half with icicles hanging from my nose and 5 layers of clothing weighing me down. But that was the race I had trained for the most. I had done no speedwork to speak of before the Liberty Half Marathon, and no long runs worth mentioning before the Philly half marathon. Go figure.
Now, well into 2012, I have no fancy running resolutions or lofty goals, but I am taking a step back, scratching the noggin and considering what went wrong and what went right over the last 12 months, in my running journey.
A Chi-running class with David Stretanski was definitely a step in the right direction. And while (low) cost has been one of the reasons running originally appealed to me, I finally caved and started consulting specialists. ART was explored, so was minimal footwear. An orthopedic was consulted then abandoned. A masseuse's services were engaged, then reluctantly given up, when finances had to be directed at finding a more active solution. And now, I have a tag team of an 'exercise therapist' and a 'running shoe expert' who have been keeping me on my feet...for the most part. I am still in the process of fact-finding. MRIs are being taken, referrals for podiatrists sought, a tiny device called the sacro-wedgy thrown into action to help align various parts of the anatomy. My workout regimen includes more dynamic and static stretching, heating, icing and strength training than running. I probably should rope in a psychiatrist as well. At the moment, I seem to require as much psychological upliftment as physical. But you get the picture...not one approach works in isolation. I am not even sure if they all work, put together. Because every morning, I wake up, take a deep breath, and swing my legs off my bed, praying that everything is where it should be, and that nothing falls apart in the course of the day's activities and workouts. I imagine this is how it feels like, to own a used car that's falling apart.
OK, that sounds grim! I really have very little to complain about. I had a bang of a start to 2012. Despite my nagging injuries 6 weeks leading up to the race, which made anything more than a 1/2 mile an exercise in frustration, I won the Resolution Run 5K, on January 1, with a 24-second PR...19:28!
In spite of this mentally uplifting performance, I don't know what to expect in 2012. I haven't set any goals, and am thankful on the days I can wake up and run with no twinges. I have a bunch of weak tendons in my lower legs, which crash at frequent intervals; and they have an aggravating way of breaking down when I need them most i.e. in the midst of training for some much-anticipated race. I dare not even dream of a marathon.I am not religious, nor spiritual, nor do I believe in conversing with the spirit world. But I do believe my father had something to do with my performance at the Resolution Run and at the Philly Half Marathon. I believe he was with me, every step of the way. He is with me when I train. I feel close to him when I run. I can hear his voice like it was yesterday...encouraging me, the pride in his voice when I called him after a race (the first phone call I made after every race was to my father). And that is one of the reasons I will keep on running. That is my way of honoring his memory.
Happy New Year!