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May 4, 2008

At Age 30 with a Swollen Ear.

I attempted my first organized half marathon in 1993. My friend David and I had been running short races together for several months and I figured that I would give 13 miles a try- the Brooklyn 1/2 was right around the corner. I promised myself that I would stop if I needed to and that it would not be "quitting" if I didn't finish. That resolution proved to be a good one, as when I reached Prospect Park that March morning and hit the ninth mile, I really thought that I would collapse. I promptly stopped, turned, and left the park, and to this day I can remember the encouraging words of the guy next to me, calling out, "Hey, don't stop now- you're almost there!" But I did stop and it was probably the best decision that I could have made. The following year, after training a little bit more seriously and remembering to bring a power gel, I finished the Brooklyn Half at a pace of about 8:30. Seven months later I ran the NYC marathon.

Here we are four years later. I ran the Brooklyn 1/2 yesterday, ill prepared after several months of spotty running and certainly not enough mileage under my belt. Still, I figured I'd give it a shot, repeating in my head that if I could run 26 miles at any point in my life, I could bang out 13 now. This was most definitely true, though last sleepless night gave me time to reflect on the following:

a) At age 30, my body does not bounce back like it did when I was 25. I feel stupid typing this...but it is so true. Four or five years ago, I would run 10+ miles rather unprepared or not quite stretched and hurt later, but not nearly at the magnitude that I do now. Not. At. All. And upper body strength? I need that much more now than I did then.

b) The middle miles of the Brooklyn 1/2 Marathon- basically miles three through nine- are like running on a treadmill, slightly on an incline, on Ocean Parkway. The last four are much more pleasant but, if you are a wee bit out of shape like I was, they are also murderous on your muscles. Thank you caffeinated power gel at mile nine. Thank you.

c) Based on my body's reaction to this last race, I am actually kind of worried about the prospect of running the NYC Marathon (should I get in via lottery) this year. I'm really not sure how I will cram in 30-40 training miles per week. And even if I do, I'm a tad concerned about feeling completely obliterated afterward (amazingly, when I ran the marathon four years ago I was absolutely fine the next day- just a little tired).

P.S. This morning at about 5 a.m. I got up to deal with an unruly cat. On my way back, my pajama pant leg somehow caught on the edge of the bed frame, which sent me flying right into the corner of my night stand, the edge of which slammed neatly into my ear. For the first few seconds, I actually thought that the corner had burst my eardrum (which I know was highly unlikely), as my head rang and rang as my poor half asleep husband rummaged around in the freezer for a bag of peas to help reduce the swelling.

Perhaps this wasn't the weekend for physical exertion and motor coordination. At least the sun came out today.

Posted by callalillie at May 4, 2008 5:50 PM | Random , Running


The way you feel after a race is conditioned on all kinds of things; stress level, how much you're sleeping, how your training has been going,diet etc. I wouldn't place all the blame at the feet of your 30 year old body. My 40 year old body ran a 1:54 at the Long Island 1/2 marathon today and I feel better than the last time I ran it 10 years ago. I wasn't that prepared either so my quads and hamstrings are killing me but I feel surprisingly spry for an old guy. You'll rock the marathon, don't worry.

Posted by: Mark at May 4, 2008 8:43 PM

Quite true- I think my diet and general health is much better but stress and sleep is worse. I thought that the older you got the less sleep you needed :P

Actually, I think I need to start doing some training runs in the evening from work to Brooklyn this summer...

Posted by: corie at May 5, 2008 9:28 AM

Aren't frozen peas the greatest invention for boo boos? Ouch!

Posted by: virginia Case at May 6, 2008 10:31 PM

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