Running From The Weekend

One of my favorite events to run is the Equinox Marathon, even though I’ve only ran it once I realized what a special race it was. I ran the marathon in 2008 and finished it respectably in a flourish passing some guy with about 200 yards to go in a mad sprint that I later would discover intensified the destruction of the cartilage in my right knee. During the winter I went through the pleasure of treatment including steroids, cortisone injections and physical therapy, this also meant the I wouldn’t be running at all in 2009.

Fortunately I have a fall back, cross-country skiing and that allowed me to still get my sports fix and not think about my lack of running. I spent a year wearing a knee brace and was scared to do anything without it. Finally in early spring of 2010 I tried running again, just a short three-mile jog to see how the knee held up and it was fine, a little sore with a half mile to go but it showed promise. I started running each with a little at a time until I was ready to really train.

Within a couple of months I was able to lose the brace all together and begin racing again. I ran four or five shorter races and for the first time in two years I had the marathon in my sights, but sadly I would fall victim to an awful summer flu bug that would first take me out of a wonderful 16.5 mile trail race and then an 8 mile trail race. The final stroke came when I recovered from the flu and began training again, I succumbed to yet another virus that I contracted from coworkers working sick. I missed a half marathon that I use as  a stepping stool to the marathon and lost out on about three weeks of much-needed training.

That second illness dashed any hopes I had of returning to an incredible race experience and I vowed to myself that I would bury the memory of the marathon deep inside of me, pretending that the race never existed. As the days passed I managed to forget all about the race and went on with my life, until yesterday.

While on the way to the store I passed a large pullout that is along the race course and there were many cars in it, and as I traveled down the road I began to see a runner here and there, flag people, yield to runner signs and people on the side of the road. It finally dawned on me that it was the marathon.

I felt so alone, so left out. I felt like a kid who wanted to go to a friend’s birthday party but was the only one in the neighborhood that wasn’t invited. I felt like I was missing out on something special and I wanted to be a part of it. When I returned from the store I went for a run on a local trail, pretending I was running a portion of the race but about two miles in to the run I caught my foot on a tree root, spun around and strained my back. With each stride came a sharp pain from my pelvis, I was cursed, prohibited from experiencing in any way the feeling and pleasure of running in the race. I tell myself that there is always next year, but in my mind I know that this year was supposed to be the year and it wasn’t.

All I can do now is face the facts that summer is over and with it the end of the racing season. A new tomorrow is coming and with it winter approaches and skiing will dominate my life. So now I’ll put this horrible experience behind me and believe as I have in the last two years that spring is only eight months away and I can set my sights on the marathon once again, maybe next year is the year after all.

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