Marathon Journal: For 1-6-17

“Man, up…”

I’ve been coaching basketball and trying to instill a sense of toughness about playing the game. I was never a great player, but I wasn’t afraid of playing against anyone, either. After running marathons, I thought maybe I was “basketball tough” as a runner. At least, twelve years ago when I was in a real training groove and blew out my hamstring, but still ran a marathon with no training after the last six weeks before the marathon.

It’s strange how our perceptions of the past can cloud our visions of today. I’m barking at my players to, “Man Up,” and I’m hobbling around on this cranky calf, all the while making it the excuse not to run. Before someone writes in lecturing me about how “no pain, no gain” is wrong, let me remind you that the principle of overload essentially says that we must push our bodies to discomfort before adaptations occur. It would seem that arguing about fitness is about as pointless as listening to the Republicans and Democrats prove they are in it for something different than what’s best for America. My fitness reality has been that running “hurts” because of the challenge much in the same way a difficult basketball practice is a grind because of the effort that it requires. Neither fitness nor basketball requires the infliction of pain, but both require finding that threshold of pain tolerance to make the runner/athlete better.

Monday, I ran for my first time in nearly three weeks. My calf felt good, no pain. I got to my practice early and started around the court with the lights in the gym off, no music, and a calm that inspired a less than speedy pace. I didn’t count the laps and had trouble remembering when I started. I was running and that was enough. The echo in my school’s old auxiliary gym reminds me of the old Blow Gymnasium at William and Mary. I used to run there, too, and the gym had a sound that brought peace to my heart. Old Blow Gym also had the smell of decades of sweat and chlorine from the pool, but that place was the best babysitter I ever had.

After twenty minutes, I could feel a little twinge starting to invade my calf. Rather than force the issue, I retreated to a walk and then found a wall for some serious stretching. Our practice came and a few players showed up for the holiday practice and still no pain. I thought that maybe I was home free on this injury.

Then, Tuesday came and it was back to work. Somewhere during the day, the pain came back and now I’m back where I was a few weeks ago. I’m not sure work caused the soreness, but I don’t want to blame it on running. Tomorrow, though, I may be putting the calf to the test. Snow is in the forecast and there is nothing I like more than running in the snow, so if the opportunity presents itself, I will “man up” and get a few minutes of running in the season’s first coating. Like Blow Gym, there is a sound to running in snow, the crunch and the calm.

I know, I should rest… I’m tired of rest. Let’s get it on…

Thank you for reading my blog. I am running this marathon of one to support the Kennett Area YMCA. If you would like to support the Y, I have provided the link to their site below. Since this about running for a charity of my choice, I think it awesome if you would prefer to donate somewhere else. In fact, I would love it…good for this journey’s spirit!

As an aside, I did get notified of a donation that was made to the Y. I don’t like to embarrass people by using their names, so I’ll give you the initials of the donor. THANKS, MOM!…

Kennett YMCA Donations

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