Sunday, August 27, 2006


I took a little detour this week on the "Competitive Veteran Marathoner" training schedule. Friday morning I woke up in plenty of time, I just couldn't drag myself out of bed. I was tired, likely because I stayed up too late the night before, and my hip was still bothering me. Four weeks into the new plan and my body has forced me to reevaluate.

I was really hyped on my new all time high mileage. I felt like a runner. I've been a runner for 3 years but setting and achieving this goal made me feel just a little more legitimate. I know better than to judge myself or anyone based on feelings, but the feeling was there none the less. I guess my 45 year old body is trying to tell me to slow down a little. I know that rest may not be all I need, but it certainly can't hurt and at least of few of you agree. I like Drew's advice to run through as long as it doesn't affect the running. It really doesn't. I do find it interesting that we humans and probably men more so, are likely to follow the advice we want to hear rather than the advice that makes the most sense.

I guess it really boils down to my goals at St. George. My primary goal is to knock another state of that list. My longer range goal is to keep running, specifically marathons, for as long as I'm still upright and breathing. Taking some time off, less mileage or no mileage, won't hurt either of these goals at this point. I'm confident I can finish a marathon with the base I have.

The shorter terms goals are my dilemma. My performance at SEAFAIR had me totally psyched for improvement at St. George. I saw the effect of increase mileage overall and specifically increased number of long runs. I was determined to build on that, couple it with the downhill course at St. George and see what I could accomplish. I hoped to push ever closer to that BQ I harbor in the back of my mind. I figured 3:40 was completely doable and with the right circumstances who knows what's possible.

I did a lot a stretching during the day Friday. That seemed to help my hip feel better. Saturday morning I hosted the CA Cruiser at Bonelli for a 10 mile loop. I was a little disappointed with the turn out, 6 people showed up. Our group can be up to 20 strong on the right day. Jesse seemed to think that people in Orange County have a metal block about traveling up the 57 freeway into Los Angeles County. Those who showed still had a nice run.

My schedule called for 13 miles so I headed over early and put in 3, mostly on trails before the Cruisers arrived at 6:30 am. I figured this would be a pretty easy effort run. I felt responsible for making sure everyone knew where they were going. Jesse and I led the pack and waited at important junctions so that no one got lost. Jesse had to bow out early so I ran with the group at an easy pace for the last 3 miles or so. My hip felt good during the run. It was a busy day at Bonelli. The cross country team from St. Lucy's, a Catholic girls school, was meeting at the park and ride when we got started. In the park, Glendora High School was conducting a time trail for both the boys and girls teams. Dr. John ran through their finish line. The looks he got from the kids and parents were hilarious. At the end of our run, as we enjoyed some ice cold water, bananas, grapes, string cheese and muffins (I was hosting the run), the cross country teams from Diamond Bar High School came streaming into the lot as they finished up their run. There was probably between 30 and 40 of them. It was cool to see the range of skills, abilities and body types coming in.

This morning, after laying in bed for about an hour after the alarm went off, I finally decided to get myself over to Bonelli again for my usual Sunday morning loop. Counter-clockwise this time. I got there later today than usual. I was surprised about the number of people there. I usually see some bikers in the parking lot but rarely come across anyone on the trail. Today I came across a man running with a golden retriever pup, a group of about 8 mountain bikers and a group of 4 HS country guys. The parking lot was full of bikers getting ready to go into the park when I was finished. Seeing people out moving always brings a smile to my face.

As I was driving out, an older man maybe late 60's or so went by. He was all decked out in compression shorts under running shorts, a white singlet, sweat band around his head, hand held water bottle and i-pod. He was tall, a little heavy and stooped over but he was sure keeping up a pretty decent power-walking pace. More power to him, I say. People like him and Dr. John give me hope that I'll still be out there moving like that in 30 years.

The plan called for 45 this week, but because I took Friday off, I hit 38 miles. Next Saturday calls for 22. I would really like to keep that commitment. The following weekend we will be out of town so a really long one will be out of the question. If I miss next weekend's 22 then I only have one more chance for a 20 miler before state #7 in 6 weeks.

My hip continues to ache, especially when sitting behind the wheel in the car and at the keyboard. I may reluctantly rest for a couple of days next week. The "Competitive Veteran" thing may just have to be pushed out into the future a little. What's the big hurry, huh? I've still got at least 42 more marathons to get there!


Joe said...

Some deep issues here, Darrell.

When is the goal right and you need to work through the difficulty?

When is the goal too steep and your body is trying to get your attention?

One possible evaluator is your plan for 22 this coming weekend. Especially knowing you won't get a long run in the following weekend. Thus the 22 becomes a key indicator. Is that a logical target? To evaluate how the prep for and running of the 22 goes??

Just some'll figure this out fine.

Wes said...

I agree with you, Darrel. Don't do anything today that may affect you for weeks later. I think you will be fine if you give your hip some time to heal. Its fabulous that there are so many runners out sharing your passion. I smile everytime I see a runner on the road. Today, there were people out in my neighborhood running at 1 PM in the afternoon, in Georgia, in the sun. I luved it!

robtherunner said...

Re-evaluating goals has been a big part of my running this year. I hope the hip trouble goes away and you can get the 22 miler knocked out like you have planned. I'm glad to hear that you are thinking about your longevity. Save some of the scenic marathons for 3+years from now so I can join you on some of them.

Anne said...

You know people like me cringe when they hear about hip pains. I ignored mine and look at me now -- still unable to walk without assistance or pain. Beware, Darrell.

Robb said...

I think you are bang on buddy. Good attitude regarding the 'competitive' thing and be sure to allow your hip to heal. I'll be 45 in 15 days Darrell and I completely relate.

Bex said...

Stretch, stretch, and then do even more stretching. Yoga would also help a lot, too. I remember reading what one elite masters runner said about being able to run into one's dotage: It's about lengthening and strengthening our muscles.

Also, I grew up not far from you. First in Sierra Madre, then in Claremont ....

Celeste said...

Okay, Darrell, more advice from the not-running-presently friend of yours, but DUDE!!!! you definitely need to listen to your body!!! My ankle pain never bothered me WHILE running until two days before NYC marathon and then WHAM- a grade 4 stress fracture... Please take it easy and allow your body to heal:)

Mike said...

Sorry to hear about your hip Darrell but ditto everyone's thoughts here- take it easy!!!
Definitely not worth risking all the gains you have made in your running- a couple days off and some easy running will not affect your fitness!

Sarah said...

Sorry to hear your hip is still bothering you. I've had a chronic problem with my right hip that comes and goes. More pain while sitting sounds familiar. I've gotten progressively better with more strength training, regular use of the foam roller, and periodic massages.

As for mileage, I hope you don't give up on pushing the upper limits. (It doesn't sound like you will.) Right now may not be the time but you'll get there. Your margin of error may just be a mile or two.

Good luck!