First of all, this post is about yesterday's 18-mile run. But Matthew wasn't there to take pictures so I'm using a picture he took last weekend at our 17-mile run that I never got posted on here. I wore the same running shorts both weekends if that helps you pretend the pix are from yesterday. Even though I wore a black tank top this weekend. And I ran almost 7% more distance.
Now that that's out of the way, here's what our running group has dwindled to from our initial population of 15 people:
Our shrinking population isn't a total surprise; only about seven of us are training for an actual marathon. And now that it's summer and (theoretically) hot, we're running at 7:00 in the morning instead of 10:00. And a lot of our casual runners would much rather get their Friday night drink on than their Saturday morning running shoes on.
But I had an epiphany yesterday after my group pulled ahead of me as it always does after our Gatorade stop at mile 4: I can't keep up with them. It's not that I'm having a bad run or I didn't eat enough or I should just push myself harder, which is how I usually rationalize away my slowness. The fact is I'm 41 and I have a predisposition for knee and foot injuries (I have a sinking feeling I reactivated old stress fractures in BOTH feet yesterday) and I'm 8ish pounds heavier after a year with my personal trainer and it all adds up to a big case of the slows. And even though I can't do much about the age and the injuries, I'm way too vain to let myself lose any more muscle mass than I have to for a stupid marathon.
So I am no longer Jake The Guy Who Hopes To Run A Marathon In Under Four Hours. In fact, I have demoted myself to merely Jake The Guy Who Is Pretty Tired Of Marathon Training And Is Just Doing The Bare Minimum To Make Sure He Crosses The Finish Line In October And Then Devote His Winter To Getting Even Huger And Vainer And Presumably Even Slower For Next Summer's Training Which Will Be His Very Last Since He's Guaranteed To Run New York In November 2010 And That's Been The Dream All Along So Once It's Over He's Going To Find A Different Summer Hobby, Preferably One That Doesn't Require So Many Capitalized Words Like Maybe Just Knitting Or Something.
And I'm just fine with that. I've all but stopped doing shorter runs during the week because it takes me so long to recover from my longer weekend runs. And my weekday running buddy, who lived two blocks from me, just moved in with his girlfriend in the south Loop so it's not like he'll be bugging me to get up and run at 6:00 any Wednesday in the foreseeable future.
In the mean time, I'll spend my weekdays throwing weights around in the gym and my Saturdays propelling my slow old self through space and time as I build up a tolerance for 26.2 miles and all the while hope that if I get injured I get the kind of injury that makes supermodels want to kiss me.