Somewhere in cyber-universe, there is a countdown clock that reads 53:20:21:01. 53 days, 20 hours, 21 minutes, and 1 second until the 2014 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. I only saw that countdown timer when I logged into the Athlete Center to check into the marathon’s deferment policy. I wasn’t planning to pull the trigger on that yet, but I needed to know when the deadline was that I had to make yet another gruesome decision to DNS another marathon, and that date is September 8.
Lately, a lot of my friends and family have been going through some changes in their personal and professional lives, and my advice to each of them has been the same across the board: You cannot move forward on your dreams until you have enough information to make a plan. Without knowing for sure if your dreams are based on perception or reality, you’re stuck with cheap talk. Call the academic advisor at the PhD program you have your eye on. Talk to the guy you’ve flirted with over lunch and drinks a hundred times and see if he’s where you’re at. Look up the costs of getting a passport and find out if there are any required travel visas to that place you’ve always wanted to see. Even if you discover you can’t yet afford a PhD or you find out he’s not where you are or the State Department put a travel restriction on your dream vacation destination, at least you know if it’s possible. Right? Trying is underrated. Knowledge is power.
So, that’s what I have been doing lately with training for Chicago. As of today, my last long run was a 14-miler three weeks ago and that was also the onset date for whatever this THING is that’s plaguing my right leg. Since then, I have run a 5, a 7, another 5, and a 3. I went a whole week without running. I compressed, rolled, walked, carried heavy boxes, lifted heavy furniture, swam about 5,000 yards, and rested. After taking all last week off, I started a 3-miler last night on legs that I swore felt better because, well, they did. Last night, I felt fine. Walking to work this morning, I’m wincing going up and down stairs, taking shorter strides instead of long ones to get to the office, and wondering how a 30-minute, 10:00 per mile run caused me to go from “I feel normal” to “I feel like every step I take sends a dagger into my hip socket and my hamstring feels overstretched and how is it possible to feel pain in my calf and butt at the same time and what is this Charlie Horse feeling I get every time I lift my leg off the ground and does my calf muscle have a six-pack because that’s what it feels like when I roll it?” I need to know what’s up.
After my doorman told me that he hired a lawyer to help him find absolute certainty that a house he is currently in the process of buying is not going to look like a destroyed Charles Lyle LaRue in a month, and armed with the knowledge that if I defer the race until 2015, I will not only relinquish the $185 entry fee but I’ll also have to pay it again next year, I decided now is the time to take control of what is going on with me and call for help. No, I am not waiting until I get my health insurance from my new job when I have a perfectly sound health savings account to use and no, I am not going to self-prescribe this condition and hope I can still run 26.2 miles in a month and a half and no, I am certainly not going to wake up in my own bed on Sunday, October 12, 2014 and pretend not to be bothered by the fact that I should be on mile-whatever right now. I am done with the cheap talk and I’m going to find out if this is possible and I am going to find out how to keep this reoccurring nightmare of an injury out of my life.
Updates will happen as soon as I know them. Wish me luck!