Around March I wondered if 2010 was my last good year of running. Not that it was brilliant — I had my share of injuries and didn’t meet my own expectations in any but one race. And no elite Kenyan runner ever gets a worried look when he or she sees me limbering up near the starting line. But still, it was pretty good, and I was pretty healthy. No ankle sprains, for one thing.
In 2011 I had more than my share of injuries, assuming my share is zero. Which it isn’t. So the one big one that got really…chatty with my hip and lower back, and which has nagged at me for almost two years, and which has resisted both rest (to be fair, I’ve probably not given it enough of that) and physical therapy (more than enough of that, darn it, and more than enough ibuprofen too!) coupled with a couple of minor re-sprains, made me melancholy. But all in all, I shouldn’t complain. I got three decent trail races in, taking home an age-group mug in two of them and a gigantic glass for completing all three in the Running Fit “Serious Series.” And Dances With Dirt, always fun, was, well, fun! Thanks Sarah, Merry, Julie, and Dave!
The day after Dirt I left for the book tour, and that meant too many cities with too many unknown routes and having only bits and pieces of days that were my (in theory) own to fit a run in. So training for the Detroit half-marathon became dicey. But I stayed healthy throughout (a miracle given the number of planes I flew on and hands I shook) and mostly pain-free (thank you, naproxen) and was able to get maybe 75% of the work in that I needed. And that included lovely runs in Los Alamos, where the air is thin, along the Hudson and Charles Rivers in NYC and Boston, a lovely trail in Durham, and a long, hot, and dry 9.5 miles of road in Austin that surprised me by not killing me.
So, Detroit arrived and Dave wasn’t there to stop me from going out too fast. (His nagging injury this year was worse than mine.) Without the voice of reason I went out…you guessed it…too fast, and was at about last year’s pace at the 10K mark without last year’s training to back it up. That yielded predictable results: I was already fading during the international underwater mile, and stayed slow for the next five. If the splits are to be believed, I actually picked up the pace again at the end — the race photos show me grimacing at the finish, so maybe I did — but a smarter overall run would have netted me a better time. Still, I was about 5 minutes faster than I had predicted for myself the week before, and snuck in under the wire to finish within the time range I predicted in January. By one second, but I’m grateful for that second!
I haven’t run since because it’s really and truly time to try to heal the tendinosis and the tear underneath the left Ischium. By spring? Here’s hoping, because I miss it. Right now.