Sunday, August 22nd ……Ah yes: the day after. The achiness may begin late in the afternoon on Saturday…but the real pain sets in the morning after the long run. Sunday mornings are particularly rough, as the sun beams through the bedroom window rather early, hitting me right between the eyes before 7am. Now I know what you’re thinking: Joe, if you know you want to sleep late, then why not just draw the blinds and block out the sun’s rays? Well I have a very good answer to that question. You ready? Here it comes: I NEVER think about important details like that.
You see, I’m the kind of man that consistently makes the same mistake over and over again. (Notice I refrained from using the term “guy in that last sentence? Well that’s because there’s a huge difference between “guys” and “men”. “Guys” leave the toilet seat up, wear baseball caps with a decent suit and think it looks “coooool”, talk incessantly about themselves and their high school junior varsity batting average on a first date, and have posters of Pamela Anderson – post silicone enhancement – hanging from their bedroom walls. Men……well…..men evolve from the subgenus “guy” species over time. So ladies, please be patient….). Fortunately for me these mistakes are never grandiose in nature. The mistakes I make are smaller in stature…but that’s what makes them VERY annoying. Here are some examples:
- Like I just mentioned – I never think to close the drapes before I hit the sack on a Saturday night,
- I am inconsistent with icing the heel of my left foot – which results in the Sunday morning waddle to the gabinetto taking 7 ¾ minutes,
- I forget to give my chin the once-over in the mirror prior to leaving the house in the morning, only to realize that I missed four spots while shaving this morning,
- …I have even forgotten what day it was on several occasions. The result of which was me waiting for the train to work on a Sunday morning, wondering why there were so few people in the station at “rush hour”.
…I know there are MANY, MANY more – but I wanted to just provide a sample of my utter absentmindedness. I drive me nuts sometimes…..
So Sunday morning I was awakened by the bright sunlight and its heat on my face. I waddled around the apartment, preparing myself for this morning’s recovery run. My legs ached because of the work I demanded of them yesterday – there was a revolution being staged in my quadriceps, and I was losing control over the masses. I got changed and headed out the door to the park, in the hopes of ringing up 4-5 easy miles set to U.S. military cadences. It was one of those perfect days weather-wise: no humidity. 75 degrees. A soft breeze. Not a cloud in the sky. One of those days where anyone staying inside should be fined by the Lazy Police.
The miles felt comfortable – thanks to the ice bath on Saturday. The heel, after I warmed it up by walking to the park itself, felt loose and it didn’t pose a distraction. My form felt fluid. My arms swung smoothly and my legs followed suit. It was one of those days where I wanted to press on past my set mileage simply because of how great it felt. Anyone reading this that plays golf can relate to how this run felt: a golfer can play 9 holes of horrible golf – losing balls in the woods, missing short putts, and basically hacking away for 2 ½ hours in a vain attempt to be Tiger Woods (ok – maybe not my best choice of golfers to throw into this conversation…), only to hit a PERFECT drive off of the 10th tee, that sails 280 yards down the dead center of the fairway. That one shot keeps the golfer coming back for more. Well this run is one of the reasons I come back to the park for more. It’s the feeling of possibilities. It’s possible that I’m getting better at this. It’s possible that I’m getting faster. It’s possible that I’m evolving as a runner. The pieces appear to be coming together.
As I walked back home from the park after logging my 5 miles, I felt…disappointed. I wanted to do more. However, as a distance runner, it is extremely important to follow the training schedule. If a runner consistently does more than the recommended mileage regularly, he/she is setting him/herself up for an injury that can blow up the whole marathon season for him/her. So while it was disappointing to leave while I felt so groovy (God I love that word – I have to use it more often…), I looked at it as furthering my overall healing process. This sport – distance running – is one that tests your limits…there’s no reason to rush the final exam, and if you over-study you could get all your facts and figures mixed up. The final grade: a big fat F. I think I’ll shoot for my solid D-plus / C – and help raise my running GPA…..
“There are clubs you can’t belong to, neighborhoods you can’t live in, schools you can’t get into, but the roads are always open.” – Nike