The year is 1974. The guy on the right in this picture (#428) sporting the headband and long hair is Frank McBride. The guy on the left (#125) , also sporting the headband and long hair, is me. It's the First Dexter to Ann Arbor run and we're poised and ready for the gun.
I didn't really want to be there, Frank somehow coerced me in that subtle way he had, and there I was. Frank would run 1:28:33 on the hilly fifteen mile course and place second in his age group. I would run 1:25:58 and place 14th overall (seventh in the 18-23 group).
The fastest years of my running career were at my feet, so to speak. Frank on the other hand, was old. He had run the Olympic trials 1500 (and placed seventh) way back in 1952! 1952? My first birthday party had yet to take place in 1952. And yeah, Frank was pretty quick. He could still knock out a mile under five minutes and for a while, he was the US Masters record holder for the 800. But, geez, the guy was OLD!!!
So, as I sit amidst the youth of my 61 years on the planet, pondering the direction my running will take today, tomorrow and twenty years from now, I am reminded of this: Frank McBride was 44 years old that day in 1974. Man, he seemed old.
My mileage total for 2012 will be nearly 2800 miles. The goal was 2500. I guess that's a good thing. The marathon goals for the year (to run 3 and qualify for Boston) were stymied by a calf heart attack (see http://runspittle.blogspot.com/2012/09/theres-guy-with-red-cross-over-there.html orhttp://runspittle.blogspot.com/2012/10/lowering-expectations.html for details). The Savannah Marathon was not even completed. Some other goals like the half ironman I planned never happened and neither did the 50K. On the whole, the year was (to me) a complete and utter failure.
No, I'm not out on the ledge. Before you place that call to the suicide prevention hotline, rest assured that I understand that stuff happens. The best laid plans and all of that BS. I'm actually okay with it. What I'm not okay with is where to go from here.
My business plan for the coming year is finished. I know where that part of my life is going and based on where it's been, I am confident about an excellent 2013. It's this running thing that has me bewildered. Because of where it's been, especially the past three months, I'm unsure about its direction.
I'd love to be the guy who races, runs marathons and logs miles. Maybe, however, 100,000+ miles have taken their toll and that is an unrealistic objective. On the other hand, I could be the guy who logs his 3 or 4 miles a day and stays reasonably fit enough to climb a flight of stairs without incident. The problem (or opportunity) is that 3 or 4 miles doesn't do diddly squat for me. 3 or 4 is when my physical, cognitive and emotional juices are just getting warmed up. 3 or 4 is, as Bob Babbitt would say, merely a cocktail weenie.
And yeah, I know, I could find another activity (NOT gonna happen, by the way).
If the truth be told, the incompletion of the Savannah Marathon really did a number on my confidence. I am unaccustomed to falling short of my marks and did not like how it felt/feels. Dwelling on that, however, seems counterproductive.
Focus could be placed on the excellent training prior to the injury. I mean, I was cranking out some nice runs and certainly could return to that form. But maybe it was that training that brought about the injury. On the other hand, sometimes this calf stuff just happens! There is no knowing which of those possibilities is the truth and therein lies the problem: I just don't know. And I don't like not knowing.
The solution is simple. I will go for a run of much more than 3 or 4 miles and optimistically figure it out. I will engage in "Solution by Action"...... Yeah, that's the plan. I like it!
But, Geez, I wish I was old. Like 44 years old.