Well, here I am again, end of November, not running much, trying to get focused and settled on a work/family schedule that enables me to be a competitive athlete. I haven't been able to achieve this in months and months. I need a goal. More importantly, I need a grip.
You see, I became derailed from my training and racing earlier this year. I started a job in March. Yes, that's right, a j.o.b. - "just over broke." I had to - I wanted to. A Running Conversation was just not viable in this economy. Perhaps it could have been if I was a different person, one with a tireless entrepreneurial spirit and laser sharp focus and determination. But I was just me and a very very tired me. I didn't have the energy.
I didn't entirely throw the dream aside. I continued to work with runners to help them accomplish some of their running goals - a 5K, half-marathon, or a marathon. But mostly I had to get to work to make a living. And at this point I'm not sure what will come of ARC, but that's another story.
I want to run. And when I run, I want to run well. This means competitively. I am not ready to say "Oh yea, the 50's. Everything goes to hell after you turn 50. I should just run because I love getting out there and smelling the salt air." I am not willing to go there. I ran a personal best in the marathon this year at 51 and I am not ready to stop competing.
The truth is I had to back off on account of a tugging hamstring and an Achilles tendon inflammation. After the Beach to Beacon 10K in early August, I decided I needed to get serious about my recovery. I had to pull way back and deal with this problem. I've heard horror stories about athletes doing significant damage to tendons and muscles, etc. I wanted to be prudent. And successful.
I did some work with Dr. Jamie Raymond, a chiropractor that is also certified in active release technique, which is a soft tissue treatment. He helped me to get my hips lined up better to minimize the extreme pull that was happening on one side and the Achilles seemed to get better. He suggested I continue to run, but then the inflammation malingered.
Then I raced the Tufts 10K in Boston in October two minutes slower than last year. A serious ouchy.
Late last month, I went to see Deb Merrill, a massage therapist in Brunswick, Maine. Deb is a genius. I have known her for nearly 20 years and have always thought this about her and her work. Deb is a scientist in an artist's body. (She helped me design the logo for A Running Conversation.) As a scientist, she prefers to tell you the problem(s), issue the solution(s) and send you home with homework not to be seen or heard from again. She's that spot on and confident.
Deb is also very practical. Her treatment of choice for my Achilles tendon was an eraser, you know, the soft, flesh colored rectangular kind that you used in grade school. The goal is to soften the lumpiness on the tendon, to break down the scar tissue, to massage it out using cross-fiber, eraser driven massage. The trick is to hold the tendon steady with one hand and with the other, rub the lumpiness up and out! Scrape it out using the eraser.
It can be painful and it's a bit awkward to do on oneself, but this treatment, combined with ice after swelling, and some eccentric stretches she showed me, have me back running! Not much but some. I'm officially on the mend.
This evening I registered for the Mid-Winter Classic 10-Miler in February.
There's nothing like having a goal.