Friday, April 23, 2010

Not This Day.

This was taken from the Ultra List. I have enjoyed being a member of this list for several years now. Some people think it is just a big waste of time. Sometimes I agree. When Lazarus Lake from the Ultra list posted this, I realized again what keeps me on this list. Thank you, Laz for inspiring me. You made me smile and cry a little tear today. You reminded me to slow down and enjoy the journey and appreciate the fact that I can still be out there covering mile after mile. Thank you for your unwavering courage. I hope someday to meet you......

i did two miles yesterday in 50 minutes.

you people dont know how lucky you are
that i am not on here every day
babbling like a middle school girl
over every step i take.

my running career has just about gone the full circle.
it seems only yesterday that everything was always on the way up.
that i was endlessly breaking new barriers
and setting new PR's.
working my way up thru the different running sports
track, cross country, road racing, marathons, ultras,
and eventually all the way to multi-days kept me on the upswing
well beyond where the natural curve should end.
because whenever i did something i never did before
it was a new PR & felt like improvement.

but we cannot be newbies forever.
eventually the PR's stopped happening.
running became all about maintenance of effort.
the only new "accomplishments" were cumulative;
measures of many years & many miles of running.

in recent years it has become a battle against slippage.
the wear and tear of what is approaching a 50 year running career.
the cumulative cost of a sometimes wild and dissolute lifestyle.
(no, i would not change a damned thing. but thanks for asking)
the cruel tricks of genetics and age.
little by little i have watched my running choices dwindle...
and my "career" wind down.

over the last 3 years have had some rough spots.
i have had to face the fact
that i could no longer actually "run".
i have had to settle for walking along & keeping the threads going.
the past two years, when i finally notched the 30+ effort
to keep my streak (now at 34 years) alive
it was a big thrill.
finding a timed event where i could participate has become a treat.
and when i actually "beat" someone it has been quite a thrill...
altho it sure doesnt say much for anyone i do beat.
(c'mon people, have more pride than that!)

i reckon i must have thought i could live forever
as long as i kept training
because i was surprised to find that i could lose ground
even while i continued to push myself.
that my speed and endurance could just dwindle away
despite using my legs every day.
but to this, like everything else we encounter in life,
we just have to adjust.

so it was a big thrill when i had a dr tell me
it was possible i might run again.
to be fair, his emphasis was that i needed surgery
to save my leg.
but you guys understand, i am sure,
possibly being able to run again
(even just a little)
was a powerful incentive to agree.
and seemed like a good place to set my sights.
it was a pretty tough surgery,
just the sort of ordeal that ultrarunning prepares us for so well.
accepting some discomfort
to pursue a goal that is too far away to see.
the hardest part was being patient during the early recovery
waiting on the instructions i know how to follow:
"at this point, the more you can stand, the better you will get."
what sweet words.
moderation is so difficult to achieve.
excess is what we are natural at!

so i am on the road again.
it has been sort of tough.
but i know ya'll understand when i say;
"not any of us would want it any other way."
every day i hit the road thinking;
"if this is as good as i get, how long will it take me to finish this year's 30 miler?"
(this year *IS* goinG to be # 35!!)
when you are having to stop every 20 yards to let the pain recede
and taking over an hour a mile,
the prospect of doing 30 miles in a stretch is sort of intimidating.

at the end of last week,
i finally got 2 miles under an hour.
monday, for the first time,
i walked an entire mile before i had to stop.
and yesterday, yesterday was glorious.
for the first time,
at the very beginning of my "run"
(before the leg started to hurt)
i felt the urge to break into a slow jog.
i resisted, because it isnt quite time yet...
but it is coming soon.
i made it nearly a mile & a half
before i had to stop the first time,
and finished the 2 miles in 50 minutes flat.
(the first mile in a sizzling 22 minutes!!)

ever since the first time i had to accept that i could not run any more
i have looked at this as the last great contest.
time is trying to take me off the road.
i am not planning on going down easy.
time is a tough opponent,
it never quits, it never tires.
and i know that some day time will win.

but not this day.



Ewa said...

actually I don't know what to say.
I cried reading it for being sorry for myself and for being so weak while there are such amazing people around.
Thank you so much for posting it.

BTW, may I ask what forum is this from?

kelly said...

Ewa, you are welcome. It affected me the same way. I am glad that you enjoyed it.

If you go to, on the bottom right corner of the page under Internet Resources you will see how to subscribe to the Ultra list. There is a lot of information on this forum and a lot of boring stuff too. I enjoy it most of the time. Check it out!

SteveQ said...

Exactly what I needed today. Thanks.

kelly said...

You are welcome, Steve! Hope you have a nice Sunday.

meredith said...

This is wonderful. I had to take a brief break this week after the guy who was "quitting" ultra-running.

This post reminds me that there is a positive and hope to keep one foot in front of the other!!