Not two days after asserting, rather proudly, that I do not exist because I do everything wrong and have never been seriously injured, I suffered some kind of ligament or tendon injury.
I deserved that. No question.
But after 8 days of downtime I’m back, and I’m feeling good again, doing the one thing that separates us from cave men and every other mammal on the planet—running. I haven’t used my watch on my last couple of runs, clocking miles instead of time. I’ve packed on, as of today, 6.6 miles and will run another 5 or 6 tomorrow as I start extending my distance once again. In a week or so I’ll break the watch back out and see how my times are holding up on the longer—10+ miles—runs and make a determination as to whether I’ll run a marathon slowly or run a half marathon quickly.
The decision will be based on the following:
I am not, nor do I ever intend to, train for A MARATHON. I am, however, training my body and mind to once again be a RUNNER. And as A RUNNER, if I hope to condition myself to be able to not only run 100 meters quickly, but also 100 MILES. No, I am under no presumption that running 100 miles is as easy as running 100 meters, but a runner—a true runner—should be capable of doing either, even if the 100 miles takes 5 days to do it. A runner is a different breed of animal than a person who runs. A runner holds himself differently. A runner knows that if gas spikes back up to $10 per gallon, he’ll still be able to get to the office because it’s “only” 15 miles and he can run that in 2, maybe 3 hours. A runner has a higher level of fitness, poise, confidence, and general well being that merely somebody who runs. I am not training to run a marathon. I am training to be human again.
As such, I know I can run 13 miles. That is not now, nor ever has been, a question in my mind. I’m not saying it’s easy to run 13.1 miles, but I am saying it’s easy for me to run 13.1 miles. 26.2, however, is still hard for me. As such, 26.2 is my current goal, but merely as a waypoint to my ultimate goal of being able—both physically and mentally—to run 26.2 today, tomorrow, and whenever as easy as I run 3 or 5 or 10 today.
However, if based on my times in the next few weeks, I can run 13.1 miles exceptionally—that is, “exceptionally” as I have defined it being under 2 hours, and closer to 1:30 than 2:00—then I will seriously consider adjusting my training to seek that goal. Because if I can run 13.1 in under 2 hours, then I can begin to seriously consider not only running far, but running far AND fast. I know not a few runners who are quite literally torturing themselves on a regular basis in order to shave several minutes off of the 300 or so that they’re already planning to run for the marathon. Do you know what the difference between a 5:35 marathon and a 5:28 marathon is? A lot of miserable Tuesday nights, and 7 stinkin’ minutes. Do you know what the difference between a 5:30 and 4:00 marathon is? Me neither, but I’d still like to find out. But running a 3:00 half marathon won’t get me any closer to knowing.
And I guarantee if I run a sub 2:00 half marathon, a sub 4:00 full will not be too far in my future. And I won’t have to torture myself to find out.
And that would be something, indeed!