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Blood on the Sock January 24, 2010

Posted by jassnight in Change, fitness, Job Search, Life, running.
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On my first attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon, I blew out my quads. A runner will turn his hat around when his goal is lost.

Here I am. After an 18 mile run I am in bed with a cold pack on my heel and a corn bag on my left thigh. I am a mess and this is only the beginning of the training for the Boston Marathon, my last bastion of freedom.

So I started out this morning, already sore in the heel (now thinking that it is the return of an old injury – Plantar Fasciitis) and new soreness in the knees. At mile nine, a quick stretch on each leg calmed the knee soreness but from there a malaise of pain gradually took over my lower body until around mile 15, when it felt like my legs were on fire. After the run, while slowly unraveling running gear (it was very hard to bend over) I discovered blood on the top of my sock where a persistent hot spot has opened up despite Body Glide ®, and taping. Yes, I am in sad shape and it is only the beginning.

I remember the training for my very first marathon. My buddies and I were experiencing a whole world of hurt that season. I was popping ibuprofen like it was candy. During the carb-loading pre-race dinner the night before the race, I made the grand pronouncement of, “Hey, maybe because we trained so well, it won’t hurt so bad.” My buddies, having run a marathon before, just laughed and laughed at that statement. They laughed again when I discovered that I was wrong – very wrong. I couldn’t go up or down stairs for a week.

I don’t know what is up with my thought process. Yes, I have embraced change. Yes, I am working hard on making my life the life I want. However, I always think, “Oh this will be easy.”  What the hell am I thinking?  My run in Boston this coming April will be my 7th marathon. You would think I would remember how painful the training is. It doesn’t get any easier, and now that I am 50, I have the age thing working against me.

At one point in my life I loved being able to say, “I have succeeded in everything I have done.” It was a hollow statement. I never challenged myself. I never thought that maybe if I took control of my life, I could make a better life. I was in an unsupported career, working with people who were not collaborative or open to new ideas. I ignored a relationship that had become nothing but a conciliatory, domestic partnership. I had the body of a 75 year old, wearing out before its time, and I didn’t care. Of course I am going to be successful accepting mediocrity and compromise. Anyone would. Things have changed. I have given myself monumental challenges in a quest to become the true me with a life better suited for me.  At one point I remember saying, “Changing careers will be a snap. Creating a relationship rich in intimacy, passion and commitment – no problem. Running marathons – bring it on.” Now it is mile 18 and I am feeling the pain.

Break it down into parts

Since the winter season dictates that I leave my bike on the rack, my cross training for this race is swimming. This will serve two purposes; Cross training for the marathon, and streamlining my stroke for a future triathlon this summer. My coach has us doing drills that break down the mechanics of swimming into individual elements. He has us focusing on each part in an effort to slowly rebuild a new, more “efficient forward propulsion,” as he describes it. Again, you guessed it, I found myself saying, “Oh! This  will be easy.” Wrong! I have completely forgotten how to swim! Rebuilding something new after years of doing it wrong is not easy. Frustratingly, painfully, incredibly difficult to say the least. Damn right.

“Rebuilding something new after years of doing it wrong,” that is what I am doing. I have to remember that it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time. Breaking each element down into its smallest parts is the best way to approach this. I am not ready for the end result yet. I still need to tear it down, correct the misconceptions, practice each part, rebuild from scratch. You can’t rush the end result if the end result is to be successful. Patience and persistence will get me across the finish line when the time is right. Toss in a little blood on the sock as a reminder that this is not easy, but it is going to be worth it – someday.

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Comments»

1. Nicki - January 24, 2010

Get yourself a rub down – not too hard but a good rub down. And, start all over again. You can do this and you know you can. You know it will not be easy but it is doable.

Can’t wait to see you cross that finish line in Boston!

2. Steve Gallow - January 24, 2010

Well written, and great article. You’ll do very well. I don’t think you take an easy path in your life. You have amazing drive, and push yourself further than just about anybody I know.

I laughed again when I read the part about your statement at the pasta party.

Well done on this training and your healthy choices.

3. BigLittleWolf - January 24, 2010

The metaphor is powerful, and the stamina required for this sort of approach is admirable, to say the least.

And you capture it all, right here:

Rebuilding something new after years of doing it wrong is not easy. Frustratingly, painfully, incredibly difficult to say the least.

How many never stop to ask themselves the tough questions? To look at their behaviors, their motivations, their lives? Yes, brave and challenging choices indeed.

PJ - January 24, 2010

I would say that most people would not be bothered with the hard questions until they are forced into it. I recently spent an interesting evening with three other ladies drinking wine and “solving the problems of the universe”. One beautiful friend was too young for such weighty issues but the rest of us talked about what forces you to pull your life apart and put it back together, piece by piece. For one, it was health issues… she is now a vegan. Another, facing the fact in her mid 30s that she just doesn’t get the “stares on the street” that she used to. I would like to add that at 50, she is still stunning, For another, it was her mate falling apart and trying to put himself back together again. But, once confronted with these things, only a fool would bury their head in the sand and pretend that all is as it should be. Hard work indeed but work that must be done.


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