Perspective

Is it possible to train for a twelve-hour run in three months? Is running the Grand Canyon rim to rim (to rim?) still a feasible goal this year? I’m about to find out.

It occurred to me today that I haven’t run in nearly six weeks. The last time I took that long of a hiatus was following my knee surgery in 2007. I worried then about the very real and heartbreaking possibility that I would never be able to run again. This time, my forced hiatus was due to what turned out to be an upper respiratory viral infection that took nine full weeks to run its course. It ended up getting worse before it got better, even after I thought I was on the mend. Worried about setting the stage for a self-imposed jinx, I became increasingly reluctant to declare to those who asked that I was feeling better, even if I was. Today, however, I can say with confidence that coughing no longer keeps me up at night, that I have kept the same box of tissues around for more than four days, and that I can hold a conversation for more than three minutes. I have been able to resume some of my favorite activities, including playing my guitar and, well, breathing. I enjoy breathing.

The Crud, as I have fondly come to call it, was not for the faint of heart. In the end, it took several nights in a row of decent sleep, Mom’s chicken soup, and an Advair inhaler to make The Crud go away once and for all. I would not wish The Crud upon my worst enemy.

At last, following six weeks of trying to convince myself that shoveling snow and doing lunges during TV commercial breaks are alternative forms of marathon training, I am ready to lace up my running shoes and see what these legs and heart have in them. Part of me is terrified to realize how much fitness I have lost, while the other part of me can’t wait for that feeling of soreness that is achieved when one exercises muscles that have been sitting on the couch for a while and can only be described as a “good hurt”.

I have let go of my plans to run the Navy Marathon on March 24th, hoping that the race organizers will allow me to switch to the half. At the very least, I’ll be able to soak up some sun on a south Texas beach and not be entirely pasty on my wedding day the following weekend. And speaking of wedding, my plans to get married and move to Mexico- all in my life’s forecast in the next 60 days- have sort of taken a priority.

The hurt from running a marathon in three weeks would most certainly not be categorized as the good kind, and I am grateful for the sensibility to think of my hundred dollar registration fee as a donation rather than try to muscle through 26.2 miles on untrained legs as I likely would have a decade ago. I am incredibly disappointed that my plans have been foiled, but this is not a time to push my body through the stress of a marathon out of pride. Besides, the fact that I ponder the possibility of running an ultramarathon three months from tomorrow reminds me that The Crud has not gotten the best of me. I probably won’t run 100K, but it’s not entirely outrageous to think that I could keep my feet moving for twelve hours… right?

The last year has shown me more than anything that it’s impossible to predict what each day will bring. For tomorrow, my plan is to put on my running shoes and take my sweet little puppy out for a half an hour of something we have both missed dearly. And then we will go from there.

Thank you for reading!

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