Monday, August 16th – Friday, August 20th ……With the start of the new week came a renewal of my dedication to the cause. I woke up determined to put in the extra effort to ensure that I mitigate the risk of me feeling as horrid as I did on Sunday. I sat in my office Monday afternoon watching the clock, actually looking forward to making my lungs burn for 5.5 miles during the evening’s planned tempo run with the team.
I went to the gym that afternoon, prior to heading out to Central Park, and I went through my usual work out routine with vigor. I raised the weight amounts for several exercises, feeling a jolt of excitement in the commitment. By the time I headed to the park, my arms and chest were achy…..which was exactly how I wanted to feel.
The tempo run that evening was crisp. Sure my legs barked at me a bit – but vibrant enthusiasm allows a person to raise their level of performance. As we made our way around the bridal path, my heel began to ache. The pain wasn’t going to take away from my effort, however. The Tool attempted to make an appearance on my shoulder…but I was pumping full of adrenaline and anything he muttered in my ear was drowned out by the sound of my labored breathing. I felt fantastic as we finished our evening routine with stretching. I went home Monday night feeling like I had righted the ship.
Tuesday, the rally continued. Work out in the afternoon. Raise some of the weights. An extra set thrown in for good measure. Go home achy. Perfect. Aches = progress in my new book.
Wednesday, the momentum couldn’t be hindered. The gym got another visit from me. Then I ran with the team, performing speed work and covering some of the hills along the northern park of the Park. My running form has improved, so I knew to swing my arms to help me up each of the hills without losing a step on my group. Wednesday night I fell asleep with a smile on my face.
….well, my dear reader….if you’ve learned anything about me by now it is that I am as sharp as a bowling ball. Why do I say this amid all of the positivity that my keyboard just oozed for the past 20 minutes? Well if I were smart, I would have gradually stepped things up little by little, allowing my body to get used to the increased demand / workload. A smart athlete would have also treated his known injury with ice in order to limit any chance of the momentum being slowed. But ladies and gents, we are talking about ME here. I’m lucky if I can spell the word cat if you spotted me the “c” and the “t”. There are your normal, everyday idiots…and then there’s me: Lord of the Morons. And I found out just how dumb I was on Thursday morning……..
Thursday morning I woke up with that grin still on my face. But that grin was erased rather quickly as I slipped out of bed and placed my feet on the floor. The heel was killing me. The pain had graduated from the heel pad to now include the area directly below the ankle. It was tender to the touch. My arms were sore. My back ached. I made a b-line for the kitchen and my big bottle of Advil. As I entered the kitchen and opened the refrigerator door there sat The Tool, perched on the top shelf. He started in immediately….
The Tool: “I kicked your ass royally!!! First Sunday, and now – HA! How does your back feel by the way?”
Me: “STAI ZITO! I knew I’d be sore. Maybe not this sore – I mean DAMN, this hurts – but like the old saying goes: pain is weakness leaving the body.”
The Tool: “….then you were a HUGE wimp.”
Me: “Oh gee that was clever. Are you sure you don’t want to be a night club comic?”
The Tool: “ummm….Joe….I’m the embodiment of your negativity. I don’t actually exist except in your own mind. But you do live and breathe, however. And old Mrs. Santino in 14C is getting a show right now. Here you are, talking to your fridge, wearing a pair of boxer shorts that say “Vote For Pedro” on the back, in full view of her as she’s trying to cook breakfast for her husband. Who’s the tool now?”
Me: (ducking behind the refrigerator door) “…..that would be me.”
The Tool: “Then my work here is done. God it’s good to be me.”
….and POOF – he evaporated, leaving me to deal with the glare of the mu-mu wearing Mrs. Santino and my Advil.
Thursday’s run still contained the enthusiasm that I craved…but it hurt. The aches and pains were adding up, as I assumed they would at some point. Part of training for a marathon is pushing your body to its limit, and then redefining its limits all over again…and then pushing those limits as well. Of course you are going to hurt. When you choose to run a marathon, you choose to experience an amount of pain. It’s the pain that we go through that makes the overall challenge hard….but it’s the hard that makes finishing a marathon great.
I enjoyed my Friday off. I rested completely. I realized my mistake from earlier in the week and I took steps to address it. I iced my foot. I “enjoyed” an ice bath. I allowed my rather flabby muscles to heal. For Saturday, as always, brings a test…another long run.
“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” – Japanese Proverb