Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Sometimes trying harder is easier

Recently, I decided it was time to run a marathon. I just turned 40, and it's not going to get any easier. You learn a lot about yourself, and about life trying to do something like this, and last weekend was one of those times.

Last Sunday morning, I ran the Carlsbad 5K, which is widely known as the fastest 5k run in the area, if not the US. And now that I'm in the "Masters" category, we run at 7:05am. (I love the euphemism. I suppose they can't call it the Geezer's race.) Just to make it perfect, my marathon training routine had us running 16 miles the day before. I did well, but the inside of my knee was very stiff all weekend.

Last weekend was also my dad's birthday. So I had concert reservations at a local Jazz club, including dinner before. We all drank our first absinthe, and enjoyed a great concert, and good food. I was a little stiff in the legs when I got up, but it did not feel too bad.

The problem is that my dad also wanted to catch a movie that was only playing in San Diego that week. So after all that, we go see a 10:30 movie. As you can guess, I did not get home until after 1am. And I have to get up at 6am to make it to the race. And sitting through the movie meant my legs were even more stiff.

So finally, I'm at the race, on probably 4 hours sleep, with a knee that is too stiff to extend fully. We do a little warm up run waiting for the race to start. Everything is moving, just not well. We line up with the 8 minute/mile flag, thinking I'll be lucky to keep that pace. Everyone starts crowding towards the front as the race is about to start.

Once the race starts, it's so crowded, it's hard to move at first. The crowd is moving slow, so I start passing people. As I run faster, my knee starts feeling better. Pretty soon, I'm running the fastest pace I've ran since I started training. Instead of 8 minutes per mile, I'm under 7.5, and getting faster. And everything is loosening up as my body comes awake. Somewhere along the line I dropped my GPS cell phone, so I'm not sure how fast I ran at the end. But it read 6:57 pace for the last .15 miles.

Running was actually easier running harder, because I got my body going. I wonder how often things would get easier in life if I actually tried a little harder to get past the obstacles and really get things rolling?