After my 29 mile waddle around a decent portion of Manhattan, I limped home to assess the damage:
- My feet were sore – well that’s no big surprise. I just ran 29 miles and spent a good portion of the time treading on concrete. The slight pain I felt was focused around my left heel – the very heel that gave me fits with plantar faciitis about two years ago. I told this as a sign from the running Gods to retire my beaten pair of Brooks Glycerine running shoes. I made a mental note to hit my local running store for a brank spankin’ new pair this week. (Note to my fellow waddlers, turtles, and/or nuggets out there: don’t wait until your feet begin to feel some serious pain to get new running shoes. From what I’ve read, running shoes are usually pretty good for 300-500 miles. Then…well…you’re playing roulette with your feet – and The Tool is Pit Boss of that casino. Trust me: you’re better off spending money on new running shoes than taking a chance and winding up with plantar faciitis, because that injury can take anywhere from 6-18 months to completely heal.)
- It felt like The Tool found a nice, comfortable spot right on top of my head, and proceeded to pound my forehead with a Louisville Slugger right between my eyes. My head was throbbing – and since I’ve been running for a decent bit of time, I knew what that meant. I was dehydrated. REALLY dehydrated. Although I tried my best to maintain fluid intake, I screwed up. I took too much water early on, and not enough later in my run. Dumb move. Yet another reason to do as I say and NOT as I do. I highly recommend NOT trying to run 26.2 solo for MANY reasons, dehydration being only one of them. I know the rules of staying hydrated, first of which is this: if you wait until you’re thirsty to drink water, it’s already too late. From what I’ve read in various marathoning books and running magazines, one of the themes I’ve noticed was that distance runners need to make sure that they drink at least 4 ounces of water every 20 minutes. While I have absolutely no idea what the right amount of fluids are to take in each mile, I do know that I waited way too long in the later stages of my run to find some Chateau Bloomberg 2012. Say it with me: Joe, you’re an idiot.
- I got too much sun. Way too much sun. I left in the morning looking as white as my Mom’s retriever, Henry (oh trust me – his hair is white even though he’s technically a yellow lab)..and I returned looking like the long lost love child of George Hamilton. I didn’t remember to put on sun block. Why? Well you know the answer to that question. So say it with me: Joe, you’re an idiot.
- My upper back was stiff – but not as bad as I expected it to be. And my arms were sore – but it was a satisfied kind of sore. Know what I mean? It was the kind of sore that was the result of a really good work out. I guessed that the work I’ve been putting in to strengthen my upper body was beginning to pay dividends.
- I experienced very little chaffing. Thank the Gods for BodyGlide.
- I was not hungry. Sounds odd, right? I just burnt well over 3,000 – 3,500 calories, and when all was said and done I was not hungry. It was as if my stomach basically sent a message to my brain saying “hey dude, you’ve been running for the last six hours. All of us in here have been bouncing constantly to the point where we now feel like Michael Spinks about 90 seconds into his bout with Tyson. So forget the delicious dinner. Just say no to post-race goodies. Get all of us home and GO TO SLEEP. Fortunately my stomach, my back, my sore feet, and every other part of me that felt like it was just pulverized…I didn’t listen to my body. Instead, I actually did something right: I grabbed a cold bottle of chocolate milk. According to many runners much wiser than me, chocolate milk is supposed to really help the recovery process. So I grabbed a big bottle of Quick and continued my trek home.
After I took a shower I drifted off to the soothing sounds of a wonderful air conditioner. I felt like I accomplished something – accidentally running more than 26.2 was dumb, I know. But it also taught me that I could go longer than I thought possible.
Lord knows I’m not nearly as gifted or as strong as many of the runners I am lucky enough to be surrounded by – but I saw some progression today. I realized that I could dip into my reserves for more when called upon. Historically, I’ve been the kind of guy that takes his foot off the throttle when things get really tough. Although I don’t quit – I’ve found myself getting to the finish line with a few drops of fuel left in the tank. And I regret that simple fact. But today was different.
As I lumbered into Central Park and realized that my watch had died, I knew approximately how much distance I needed to cover in order to reach 26.2. But I was not 100% positive. And I didn’t want to come up short. As I passed my tiny finish line I had a choice to make: say “enough is enough”, and then go home and possibly come up short – or drop the hammer and see just how much gas I had left in the tank. Ordinarily, I would have taken the easy way out. But as I crossed the statue at the 72nd street transverse and the west side drive which was supposed to be my final destination, my feet chose to simply keep going. Today was a day that I chose NOT to disappoint myself. To see how far I could go. Granted I didn’t go another 10 miles or more – I only went about 3 miles more than I really needed to – but I kept going. As I waddled up the west side drive toward the 102nd street transverse, I kept thinking of a saying posted on one of the walls of the Mission: Space attraction in Epcot. It’s by Arthur C. Clarke: “The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible”. Yesterday I felt like my absolute limit was 26.2. Today I ventured past my limits…and it felt good.
If you really stop and think about it, there are no limitations as to what each of us can achieve. Walt Disney came up with a process called “Blue Skying”, where he and his team of what are now known as Imagineers sit down and develop an idea. Or two. Or three. During the discussion, only positive terms can be used. The team “pluses” the idea and grows it, ignoring all limitations and thereby allowing the concept to grow to its full potential. I woke up Monday morning achy yet refreshed…and determined to Blue Sky my life. That’s why I’ve begun to place that last sentence on each of my blog entries: “you don’t get today back, so make it count”. It’s a reminder to myself not to waste time. To stay focused and develop my ideas instead of sitting back and letting them gather dust inside my head.
Paul Tergat once said “ask yourself, ‘can I give more?’ The answer is probably yes.” That’s the kind of attitude I now need to harness. Correction: that’s the kind of attitude I now will harness.
If you’d like some information on The Dream Team Project or would like to make a donation to their amazing cause, please stop by the website: www.wdwradio.com/the-dream-team-project I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I really believe in what The Dream Team Project stands for. It raises money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, helping to grant the wishes of children suffering from life-threatening illnesses. Being s former wish-granter for the NYC Chapter of the Make-a-Wish Foundation, I can tell you first-hand just how much of an impact this organization makes in the lives of children. Please consider donating to this worthy cause. Thanks!
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