The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Archive for May 2017

Thirty 5Ks…#21-23 (The Blessed Single Digits)

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The chiropractor told me last week that my hips were out.  Like, pretty far out.  And not in the groovy way, baby.  More like the right hip was in Waukegan and the left hip was in Round Lake.  And then she asked what the hell happened, and I pulled the list out of my pocket:  I’ve been running, I’m getting older, I’m drag-ass tired from the school year, and I weigh 200+ pounds.  Thus, my hips are out.  It was a good time to talk about avoiding injury, and for me to remember that a lot of athletic injuries are caused by poor form and exhaustion, and exhaustion can cause poor form.  So what to do?  Keep running, of course.  Duh.

Actually, if not for being on this quest, I would have laid off running 5Ks by now.  I usually do at this time of year because of the stress and exhaustion from the previous 8 months of teaching.  When I don’t let up, I get about halfway through a race and start wondering what the hell I’m doing, how I’m going to get to the end, and why has every force in the universe conspired against me to make me feel like crap?  And then I wonder why I hyperbolize so much, and thinking about that pretty much helps me get through the race.  I usually feel like crap at the end and am unduly sore for a few days afterward.  So yeah, this is a good time of year to not be running.  But I have been.  I ran more 5Ks in April than any month so far, and that meant doubling up two weekends in a row so I can knock my thirty down to a manageable number, and then into single digits well before the school year is over.  And of course all that meant that I’m still tired and not running very well.  And I’m courting injury.

“Everything is against me… Nothing is going right for me.”

Thankfully, other runners know your pain and frustration.  Sometimes they don’t mind if you draft off them if you’re lucky enough to find someone running the right pace for you.  That’s what I did when I was knocking out #23 two weekends ago.  Under normal circumstances, I’d probably be facing prosecution if I chased a middle-aged woman through Lincoln Park.  In fact, given the state of Chicago policing, I’d probably have a bunch of crimes pinned on me and would be tortured until I confessed to them.  Nonetheless, there I was a few steps behind and at times abreast of a women in her fifties who was running with headphones on.  The pace was slower than what I usually maintain, but I wasn’t caring about time so much as I was caring about getting through the race and getting one step closer to thirty.  She pulled ahead by thirty or forty feet after two and a half miles, and I didn’t have it in me keep up.  I did thank her at the end, though, for pacing me.  She said she was happy to oblige, and had herself paced off others numerous times when she wasn’t quite feeling a running groove.  I recalled being the inadvertent and unintentional pacer for a guy who finished behind me at Great Lakes late last summer.  I didn’t even see him throughout the race, but he tracked me down at the end and told me thanks for setting the pace for him.

I frequently think about what it is about running that makes runners so stubborn and disciplined, and many times it comes back to how you learn self-sufficiency early on when you start running.  Nobody is going to be out on the course pulling or pushing you along.  You have to do it yourself.  While that may be true, the race two weekends ago was a good reminder that it’s not so lonely out there sometimes.

Written by seeker70

May 22, 2017 at 2:13 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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