Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Reflections on the Half-Marathon and Beyond

Well, it’s been two months since I ran and finished the Austin half-marathon. I injured my toe in the race probably around mile 9. Shortly thereafter, I lost a couple of toenails which really, really hurt and also prevented me from continuing to run as I couldn’t put any pressure on those toes. It really sucked because I was really jazzed about my time and I wanted to run more. It took a while to heal and recover but then it seemed like returning to a regular running regimen just wasn’t meant to be. Life got in the way. Storms blew through. Work.

But I yearn to return. I yearn to run faster, better, longer. I know now (and I guess I knew then too) that I did not properly prepare for the half-marathon. My toes are a testament to that and so were my hips the next day! I prepared for the half by running on trails and only doing a couple of long runs. I didn’t do any road running, weight lifting, or track workouts. Not good when you’re preparing for a long road race. As a former competitor in mountain bike racing, I knew better. But at the same time, I didn’t want to feed that competitive drive of mine because I don’t have the time to devote to that hungry beast. I just wanted to finish. I just wanted to prove that I could do it. I wasn’t thinking as a competitor but as a finisher. And I achieved a pretty darn good result. Can I do better? Yes. Do I want to? Yes and no. I want to achieve a better result as well as get in better shape. But I don’t know if I want to commit the time required to do my personal best. Maybe next year.

With all this floating in my head, I headed to Town Lake yesterday to test my feet (still no toenails) with a short run. I guess everyone in Austin had the same idea because the trails were packed with dogs, walkers, runners, and cyclists. It never ceases to amaze me how active the people are in Austin and it’s not just the young college types. I am constantly being inspired by folks older than me catching up with me on the trails. I love it! I hope I’m as active and inspirational to others as I grow older. Although it was a short run, I took it easy and just enjoyed being out there again. It was difficult to get back into a pace and my knees were not as welcoming in that first mile. But, overall I felt great and I ran pain-free. Now, I just gotta find a running group with fun folks that don't take themselves too seriously but who still push.