Coach's Corner March - 2018

2018 March Coaches Corner

They say spring comes in like a lion and out like a lamb meaning the weather is usually pretty fierce in early spring but has settled down by the time the end of the month rolls around.  Not sure who’s in charge of the weather situation, God, Mother Nature, or climate change, but whoever’s at the controls this past winter I have a bone to pick with them.  This has been a rough winter for training, partly because I’ve gone into it a little bunged up and partly because either the weather is bad, or the roads are bad.

I’ve been pretty successful in meeting my goals of not missing too much time (four off days in the last three months) but it certainly hasn’t been easy.  My neighbor and I have been out running laps around the HS parking lot on days we’ve had school cancelled, dodging the plows as they try to clear the parking spots.  I’ve bundled up with two pair of running pants, a long sleeve shirt, a thermal shirt, a sweatshirt, two  pairs of socks, ice screws in the shoes, a hat and two pairs of gloves to brave the sub zero temperatures.  We’ve run in the dark with headlamps.  We’ve run on holidays.  We’ve run on three different types of ice.  We’ve even driven 90 minutes, to run for 90 minutes, to drive back 90 minutes, just so we could get our shoes on some real dirt, not the kind they throw on snow to make it less slippery.

But this old body is looking forward to shorts and short sleeves in a way I’ve never desired it before.  I think part of it is the freedom.  But I also think the tired and worn ligaments, cartilage and muscles are noticing the hardness that frozen roads and landscaping are more now than ever.  It seems my knee joints and ankle hurt after every run, and bother me when I get up in the morning.  I’ve began to wear the knee strap meant to keep the IT band in place and cause less pain.  Not sure what the magic is with two pieces of neoprene, a piece of rubber tubing and some Velcro but won’t knock the results.

When I was young, and I felt the urge to run, I just did it.  Didn’t matter what my training was, where I was with mileage, how much I’d already put into run, I just ran.  I remember on my seventeenth birthday running 17+ miles just to show I could do it but I had probably run less than 17 miles the week before.

Things have certainly changed.  If I run long I need to be careful what I do the next day.  Admittedly the 15 extra pounds I’m running around with aren’t helping any but I could get away with so much more as a youth.  Now I have to prepare, pay attention to what I’m doing and what I’m trying to do.  And while it would be nice to go back to the days where I would just go out and hammer and then turn around the next day and do it all over again, I appreciate that I have to pay attention and be a steward of my fitness.  I have to make sure I’m prepare to “train” if I want to see results.

Training has a purpose.  To make oneself better than they were before.  But before is a relative term.  I can be better than I was yesterday, but I have no illusions that I can be better than I was 10 years ago.  Moving forward is about getting better, but getting better doesn’t mean getting faster all the time.  It means becoming a better steward of the body.  Getting the most of this vessel that allows us the joy of running.  If I was a crab, or a kangaroo, or a tree sloth, running would mean something much different.  But thankfully for me it means exactly what it affords me, the opportunity to get out there and work on becoming the best I can be, in that moment, and nothing more.  It’s raw, it’s primal, it’s what I was born to do.

I’ll see you out there.

 

Date change*  

March 18th, noon time, The 6th Eighth Annual Dead Possum half marathon, New Ipswich’s hilliest half!  For more information, msmith@mascenic.org