Saturday, May 26, 2012

So I guess you could sort of say I've started running again

After my last post whining my way through long injury, making dire deals to run less, run smarter, run better when(ever) I was able to run again, I have started running again more or less, though many fewer miles and hours than I used to, and I am very happy about it. I am running smarter (I think), definitely less, and I'm enjoying it. I'm trying to keep it to 3 times per week, although as I often find myself in the company of children, when a live adult calls and asks me to go for a run I rarely turn them down even if it makes four or even five runs in a week. I don't do well in sit-down-and-chat situations, so running is basically my social life. I can talk and run all day long. Sitting and talking starts to make my head buzz after 20 minutes. I don't know why.

Right now I'm trying to do a tempo run and track run and a long run every week. I am mostly following Bill Pierce's marathon training program in Run Less, Run Faster. I did my first track workout this morning, 3 miles with a quarter mile jog in between, 7:45, 7:30 and 7:15. Not really smoking fast considering I ran a 22-minute 5K just last October, but this will do as a good jumping off place for the rest of the summer.

My foot and knee are still sore, but screw 'em, I'm still running. They aren't getting any worse, and each week they do get better. They no longer hurt just walking around. They hurt when I first start running, then calm down. I am sitting here right now with my feet in an ice bath and my knee wrapped in an ice pack, and so goes my day. Every day. I'm seeing a chiropractor on Friday afternoons, my old friend Bobby, who is happy to do whatever I want him to. We are experimenting with the Graston technique and ART (active release technique). It seems to be working. I had to miss one week and I totally felt a difference, in the reverse direction. So....

I don't have any races on the horizon. I'm hoping to be back to the ultras by fall, but we'll see. No reason to rush, I guess.

My life these days revolves more around swimming. I swim most mornings for 90 minutes, anywhere from 4500 - 5500 yards. I am now a regular among the 5 a.m. swimmers, a group I used to fear mightily. They are lovely people. I have a waterproof workout book with more than 100 workouts. I am happy as a clam. It would be cool if I could find a serious masters swim group (the master's group at the Y where I swim is remedial at best: I need more). I watch my daughter's team in the evenings, listen to the coach, and try to incorporate some of her wisdom into my workouts.

As I mentioned in my last post, I am signed up to swim a 6 mile open water swim race in Vermont in July. I have been out in the open water a couple of times this year. I have to do a 4-mile swim (honor system) before I'm allowed to compete in the 6 miler. Maybe next weekend....

My friend Muireann is renting a house on Mason's Island here in Mystic, so I have done a couple of open water swims from her dock. The water is cold, but the wetsuit keeps me warm. I'm hoping to race without a wetsuit, so I'm going to have to toughen up and take the darn thing off one of these fine days.

Little head; little me

I sort of look like a sharpei here. The ever loosening skin of middle age.

Half an hour in cold water. Not too bad.

And on a totally separate note, I have started reading David Foster Wallace's book The Infinite Jest. Jonathan Franzen, in his book of essays Farther Away, cites this as his friend Dave's best book. And it is indeed a wonder. It's whip smart, somewhat difficult to follow, and dead on in so many ways. He talks a lot about competitive tennis, but much of what he says is easily transferred to running (or, for that matter, swimming). Anyone read it? I'm only about a quarter of the way through. I'm taking bets on whether I finish it.

"The true opponent, the enfolding boundary, is the player himself. Always and only the self out there, on the court, to be met,  fought, brought to the table to hammer out terms. The competing boy on the net's other side: he is not the foe: he is more the partner in the dance. He is what is the word excuse or occasion for meeting the self. As you are his occasion. Tennis's beauty's infinite roots are self-competitive. You compete with your own limits to transcend the self in imagination and execution. Disappear inside the game: break through limits: transcend: improve: grow as a serious (player), with ambitions. You seek to vanquish and transcend the limited self whose limits make the game possible in the first place. It's tragic and sad and chaotic and lovely. All life is the same, as citizens of the human State: the animating limits are within, to be killed and mourned, over and over again."
DFW, The Infinite Jest, p. 84