Friday, February 12, 2016

A Different Kind of Marathon

When I told people I’d be taking a break from racing after the Honolulu Marathon, some of my friends expressed skepticism that I could go nine weeks between races.  That was the plan.  My last race was Honolulu on December 13, and my next scheduled race was the Los Angeles Marathon on February 14.

It’s not surprising that people would question my commitment to taking a break.  In the last three calendar years, I ran 157 marathons or ultras.  That’s more than one a week.  The last time I went nine weeks between races was six years ago.

I’ve really missed being able to train, but I haven’t actually missed the racing.  Between mid-May and mid-December, I toed the starting line 34 times, each time knowing I was injured and shouldn’t be racing.  You can only do that for so long.  Then you really need to take a break.

Most of my races involve travel to other states or countries.  Racing almost every weekend means traveling almost every weekend.  I usually leave the day before a race and return home the day after a race.  That’s a minimum of three days away from home.  Some trips are longer, either because I’m doing multiple races or because it’s an international trip.  On average, I’ve probably been away from home almost as many days as I’ve been home.  That’s hard to sustain for one year, much less three.

For the most part, I’ve really enjoyed being home.  Deb has enjoyed it too.  We’ve been able to spend more time together.  I’ve also made quite a bit of progress on my to-do list.  In late December, I had to catch up on a whole year of financial bookkeeping.  I’m still behind on a few things, but I no longer feel like my life is getting out of control.

I’m also starting to rediscover other interests that I put on the back burner.  I’m reacquainting myself with my music collection and updating my catalogue.  I’m also going to board game meetups.  I used to do that once or twice a month.  Lately, it’s been once or twice a year.

I didn’t miss the races too much in January.  I knew for several months that I’d be taking the whole month off.  February has been tougher.  Several of my friends recently did a series of races where you travel by cruise ship to six different Caribbean countries.  Each day, you run a marathon in a different country.  Had I been healthy, I wound have found that series tempting.  As I starting seeing posts by friends who went on that trip, I has a bit envious.

This week has been particularly difficult.  The Olympic Trials are being held in Los Angeles on Saturday.  The Los Angeles Marathon is Sunday.  I’m registered for that race, and I was originally planning to get there a day early to watch the trials.  I realized about a month ago that I wouldn’t be healthy in time.  I cancelled my travel plans two weeks ago, but since then I’ve been getting emails with my bib number, corral assignment, and other last-minute race info.  I’ve also been reading about the trials.  The constant reminders of what I’m missing don’t help.  I’m having some serious FOMO.

There’s one good thing about the timing.  One of the board game events I sometimes attend is the Minneapolis Board Game Marathon.  This is a monthly event that happens to be going on this weekend.  Instead of running a marathon, I’ll play Eurogames.

I’m seeing some improvement in my legs.  For two weeks, I’ve been doing daily workouts on a stationary bike.  I’m only doing about 35 minutes a day, but it’s a start.  I still need to make a conscious effort to use my hips when I walk, but it’s getting a little bit easier.  I begin physical therapy on Tuesday.  Then I’ll have a better idea of when I can resume running.  I probably won’t do any other races before the Boston Marathon in April.  Until then, I’ll have to settle for board game “marathons.”

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