The Comeback Trail…
February marks an annual event for NWBRRC that everyone does their best to attend. The Annual Beach Run sees the club transport its usual sweaty, tired limbed presence from the Starbucks on Coral Ridge to the Cove Parking lot in Deerfield Beach. A variety of runs are planned up to and around 10 miles. When the various rapid perambulations are complete, we all convene for a bagel and coffee with, of course, all the usual road stories and badinage for which we are famous.
Last year I ran out for 5 miles at a very easy pace to make sure I could escort a friend. On the way back I picked up my usual pace but noticed at the finish that I was feeling more sore than usual despite the relatively sedate nature of the warm-up miles. One of the club coaches reminded me that as the years pass, and a few have sneaked their way past me for certain, we need to take greater care. To cut a long story short, my year stuttered from then up to the first week of December. It was at this point that I had to shut everything down and take at least three months off from running.
Why do I relate this tale? Basically, I forced myself out of bed early for the first time in three months to join my club mates at the beach run to be faced with the very real prospect that I was standing at the threshold of the ‘Comeback’. Since curtailing my runs I had added 15 pounds, become very unfit and was still in possession of two rather fragile knees. How was I going to start on the road back to enjoying a glorious morning run, hopefully along the beach sometime, when faced with all the mojo sapping factors?
How indeed? Certainly, the encouragement of one of the club coaches ringing in my ears helped. I left the Beach Run thinking I had to get out on the road again. I even felt a little of the ‘mojo’ filling my previously empty chest.
The Comeback is something at least three of our members are facing. We will approach it in different ways, but I as the eldest of the three by far needed to adopt a plan. This plan would include a whole-body approach including diet changes, attitude changes, gym work and even a little running. It is this latter part that needed to change most. I have done the other things in various measures but I have always trained n the hard roads. I hated the ‘Dreadmill’ as I call it. Running in the gym was anathema to me. Melissa Schwartz finally got through to me. Her constant berating of my love of road running exclusively struck a chord in my dense brain. I needed ‘vary my surfaces’ and even run in the gym if these knees were ever to carry me around a race course again.
I certainly have missed running, I have looked longingly at runners easing along the roads close to my house. I have been envious. I know now that if I am ever to enjoy the thrill of a race or the emotional and physical challenge of a longer run again I will have to be smart. Smart means listening to running colleagues. It means eating better (less fish and chips and beer apparently) and it means using the tools available to us to preserve fragile joints. I will even risk looking a little odd in well cushioned shoes if it means I can run again.
The moral of this tale is this: If we are to come back and stay back, then we must train smart, eat smart and look after our whole body. Considering the shape I am in at present I will look forward to the changes I hope to effect. This month I have focused on me more than usual, but when I realized the scale of the comeback effort needed to rejoin my friends I thought it made sense to write about it. With the guidance of Melissa and others in the club I will relate over the coming months how 2017 will, I hope, be an altogether better running year than the last one. I wish you all the same. Be smart, be happy and be sensible and if you are on the comeback trail, have a plan and use the knowledge of coaches and experienced running friends. I failed to do this and nearly lost one of my greatest loves – running!!!! So…
Get a plan and use it. You know that makes sense, don’t you!!
Mark Darley aka Britrunner