As I'm heading into mile 9 of my 1/2 Marathon attempt at a new "Personal Record" I suddenly realize that this was probably not the best day to challenge myself for this particular PR. The headwinds coming up to Aquatic Part were buffeting me like a moth in a wind tunnel. As I rounded back towards the east heading out to the pier I was relieved when my pace dropped back down to the low 8 minute miles.
When I made the pier turnaround and headed back west again...the dream went up in a puff. I pushed up into Fort Mason and things got worse. A couple of young runners, one male, one female were ahead of me so I pushed to keep pace but after 10 miles I rapidly faded. I felt like I was on the verge of a muscle meltdown and things were beginning to lock up.
Somewhere in the middle of mile 12 I made the decision to just turn back and run with the hurricane winds to my back thinking I'd make time. By the end of the 13th mile I was lucky to even be able to walk. I'd never been this beat up. Even after my first Marathon I didn't feel like this.
It wasn't that I was bonked but, my muscles just froze up with pain and exhaustion.
I was two minutes off my best time but, with this wind I felt like it was OK and didn't let myself feel too defeated.
After grabbing a GU gel, Sport drink, Cliff bar at Sports Basement I began trying to jog home but my legs wouldn't have it. I did the long walk of shame all the way home.
Sometimes you hit these tough spots or dark places that make you question-
"Why am I doing this to myself"?
It's OK though. Either way I'm benefiting from it. Isolating myself and getting away from negative thoughts and interactions throughout the day have been making a difference in my mood and attitude. I'm in amazing shape although I'm stiff all the time and getting out of bed in the morning is a bit of bother.
I'm just so jealous of these younger runners with their pristine cardio-vascular systems. I'm dedicated sure enough but, those fast times and personal records are so elusive for me.
My weekly mileage is moving up considerably without too much physical aggravation, except for my back which has a mind of it's own...actually physically, that's true. It's is something that will never get back to the way it was 40 years ago. Come to think of it my back wasn't that great then.
Now this brings me to the subject of athletes who dope. I'm reading a book called the "Secret Race". It's the story told from the experiences of Tyler Hamilton, a close friend and competitor of Lance Armstrong. He basically spills it all about how huge the doping conspiracy is in the world of cycling. It's jaw dropping. I respected Lance and for a long time denied that he would be one of these dopers but, now I'm convinced pretty much all of them at one time or another were doping and I now can understand how so many athletes have been easily led into this last resort method of increasing their performance. I've gone from being in denial to angry and now I think If I were them I probably would have done the same thing.
It's a very compelling story and I'm glad I didn't choose to become a professional athlete back in the day.
I now feel bad for Lance and all the other athletes that traveled down that dark road but, I understand how it happened and I hope they can come to terms with their erroneous decisions, put it all behind them and find some peace and happiness in their lives.
The question remains, will this ever end and will there be more ways to cheat against the system to become a winner and make money for the sponsors who are really the motivation behind all this.
Happy Doggy pictures of the week: