Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Box Full of Marbles

Imagine this: find a shoebox, fill it with some marbles, and set it on loose gravel surface. OK, just hold that thought for a few moments.

One of the many things I've learned about blogging is that when you feel as if there's nothing to talk about, hence "blog" about, a reason appears. This last week has been highly frustrating. If you've been following along, I was foolish 2 days after the Akron Marathon and I tore or sprained my right calf muscle. I've run a few times since but it seems that I just keep resetting the pain each time. I found that after 2 days off, I could run but it would be sore. So after last Saturday's trail run, I took Sunday - Tuesday completely off. Wow, that really stunk bad. I'm not in the weight-loss mode anymore, but after losing 50lbs about a year ago, I'm always "aware" of my weight and when running comes to a halt, I'm suddenly asking my wife: "Does it look like I've gained weight?" " This shirt feels tighter on me." Sound familiar? The scale has crept up about a pound, maybe 2 lately, but that's it. Anyway, today was the day to take the calf on a "test drive." I'd compare it to those R&D (research and development) guys at Honda who in central Ohio, drive masked test cars around the countryside listening for squeaks, rattles, etc. So I headed out this morning around 4:50am on a quiet, rolling country route for an easy, predictable 5 miler. I took this route due to the lack of traffic or life for that matter. Dead silence is common on this route except for the occasional animal noise in the nearby cornfields. So here I am, about 3/4 of a mile into the run: focusing on my gait, stride length, breathing...everything. Simply trying to take an inventory of how this running "machine" is functioning. All is well. Remember that box of marbles? Go ahead and give it a kick across the gravel. Hear that sound? That's what I heard as I tripped over a well run-over, dry, dead piece of road-kill!......OK, take a breath....yea, it was as bad as it sounds. My stomach dropped straight to the ground. I was sick. I stopped, slowly turned and looked. Yep, that's road-kill alright. Probably a opossum or raccoon but too trampled to tell...thank goodness. It just slid across the ground...making that "marbles in a box" kind of sound. I then slowly pointed my headlamp towards my green-toed Brooks blood or anything. However, I made a mental note NOT to touch that toe anytime in the near future. Maybe Chef Bill can get me some sanitizer spray from GoJo??? Did you notice I mentioned I was wearing my headlamp? I wear that thing PRIMARILY to miss the road-kill on these country roads and second for cars to see me. Well, it was tilted upward to provide more of a flood-light path to follow instead of pointing at the ground. This helps that tunnel effect created by fresh new batteries if pointed straight down. Plus, my mind was in la-la happy to be running after a whole THREE days off and without any pain. Anyway, there you have it. The rest of run went well except for a few more "freak-outs" from animals near the edge of the non-harvested cornfields. I must have been spooked 3 or 4 times this morning.

Back home, I was happy. 5 miles very easy and everything feels good. I can't afford injuries right now with Mt. Masochist 3 1/2 weeks away. One thing is for sure: recovery/rest is so very important. The body will recover regardless of whether you do it purposely or by getting injured. There's a point, I think, where we all feel unstopable and like we can run forever. This is an awesome feeling but one that has to be embraced with caution. We are, after all, only human.

Till next time, watch your step!!! (yet another reason to get OFF the asphalt and ON the trails!!!)

Happy Trails, everyone!

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