Aged nineteen, on 22 August 1970, I ran my first marathon in 2:44, followed five weeks later with a 2:41. I was hooked, and in the 43 years since, have run more than 50 marathons. In my 20s I ran a 2:19, in my 30s another 2:19, and in my 40s a 2:38. As I slowed, the love affair began to wane and I only ran two in my 50s, the best of which was a 3:04. Now in my 60s, with an ageing body and chronic injuries, I plan to deploy all of my experience in pursuit of one last sub-3 marathon.
Sustaining a running injury is a "first world problem" unless you are a professional athlete. I'm not minimising the impact an injury can have on someone who is dedicated to, or maybe obsessed with, running, but it all needs to be kept in perspective.
Terrigal this evening
That's what I have been trying to do since straining my right calf during last Sunday's race. I had built up the importance of the race in my mind and really was upset at not realising my expectations. It's a missed opportunity that may not be repeated, but it's not life-threatening, or even lifestyle threatening, and definitely not unique. It's not hard to make a list of running friends who have had bigger dreams smashed in just the last year. Nevertheless, it's hard to stop thinking depressingly about the race outcome, and I guess the hurt will last a while longer.
On the positive side, I'm now referring to my injury as a calf strain rather than a calf tear. After being painful when walking on Sunday and yesterday, the pain is barely perceptible today, and I went for a gentle walk this evening. I'm trying to avoid undue optimism, or resume running too soon, but if I manage walking without pain tomorrow and Thursday I'll try a short jog on Friday. I would really like to do the Trotters Run on Saturday morning, because it's one I mapped and carries my name (Dave's Damn Run), but common sense tells me it would be a mistake to run with others so soon.