Monday, April 5, 2010

Starting Over

It's been too long since we took the time
No-one's to blame, I know time flies so quickly
But when I see you darling
It's like we both are falling in love again
It'll be just like starting over, starting over --John Lennon

I can see why people might get discouraged when they first start training for a race or just run for exercise. Back when I first started running and racing, my last race of the year would be a November 7.1 mile race at the Mount Hope Estates in Lancaster County, PA. The start/finish of the race was a small winery. They didn't give out T-shirts but wine glasses to all participants. It was a beautiful run through the Amish countryside which, I felt, was a great way to end the season. And, then, for the winter I would play racquetball once or twice a week to keep 'in shape' until middish-late February when I would start running again. (Unfortunately, that race doesn't exist anymore. I think it was folded into another race run in that area around the same time.) But I wasn't running marathons, half-marathons, and, for the most part, hardly anything more than a 10k.

Since then, the Blue Dawgs were formed with the idea of keeping us motivated knowing there will be other people showing up on a cold winter's Wednesday night willing to run the hills of New Britain, PA throughout the season. And, for the most part in the past few years, I was there on those Wednesday nights to be fit enough to participate in the Bucks County 5k spring series races.

But, this year, I went back to my old ways. Partially due to the 80+ inches of snow we had this winter (have I mentioned that once or twice or maybe more?) and other reasons, I took some time off from my running lifestyle. And, since the beginning of March, I started to run again. A few miles a week. Slowly getting back into it. And I mean slowly in so many different ways.

When I started again, I wanted to make sure I didn't overextended myself. And, I also always think I can do the same things I did 30 years ago. So, I set out to run about 3-4 miles with the Blue Dawgs on a chilly Wednesday night. I was TIGHT!!!!!! (and not in a good way). You could've used my hamstrings to play banjo at the Grand Ol' Opry. The next day, I was sore. Everything, including my feet, hurt. I mean I only took off a month and a half!!!!! But, I was discouraged that I felt this way having taken so little time off. I could only imagine those that are just starting out to run and train.

I knew the tightness would eventually go away once I got out there a little more. But, it wasn't the next time out. Nor the time after that. I was showing signs of Plantar fasciitis up until last week so I was concerned that I wasn't even going to be able to run at all this spring. But, again, like everything else, even my feet muscles needed to be stretched a bit. So, having known all this ahead of time and still feeling discouraged, imagine if you didn't know this beforehand? You can almost see why people would give up. I mean, I'm not sore when I don't run and then I'm sore when I run. So, why would I run? (If you are running for the first time, don't give up. There is a lifelong payoff that is hard to measure)

In my mind, at least, as the late, great John Lennon once said, it has been long since I took the time. Time does fly so quickly. This year, for me, it'll be just like starting over.