I still love to run! Races, on the other hand, are starting to frustrate me.
The back of the pack is filled with a different type of runner. The back of the pack crowd often sign up for a race without training. They trot along having conversations with the people around them. They don’t worry about form. Often you can hear them slapping their feet onto the ground like they are wearing wet flippers. They hold their phones in their hands so they can listen to their music without headphones. Occasionally, they will take a phone call and have a conversation during the race.
When I first started running a few years ago, I was in this group and I hated being beat by people who obviously had poor running form and little or no conditioning. Yet, there they were, some of them, faster than me. I knew that the only way to avoid their distracting conversations, music, and foot flapping, was to train harder and get faster and stronger.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not going to win anything and if you are one of those conversating, foot flapping, music sharing runners, good for you! I’m glad you are out there having fun and enjoying this great sport. I’d just like to run with those that take the running part a little more seriously, at least during the race, but I’m just too slow.
But here I am, back with the back of the packers, running slower than I was last year, even after my initial injury. I have gone right past slowing down from injury, to slowing down from lack of training. My lack of training is now hurting me more than my injury.
I ran the Folsom Blues Breakout half marathon last Saturday. My time was 28 minutes slower than it was last year. My Achilles was a little sore, but my quads were burning the last 2 miles and I had to slow to a walk a couple of time just because I was out of breath. I’m carrying almost 20 pounds more than last year, which doesn’t help. My Plantar Fasciitis is better, but my Achilles hurts, especially when I run on pavement.
I still love the run, the people I run with (or behind), the beer after (if there’s any left), and the swag. A few years ago I couldn’t imaging running a marathon. Now I’ve completed a couple and two 50ks and a 50 miler. I just can’t imagine not doing more of that.
Truth be told, I have to find or create time to train, and I have to heal completely, so I can move back up in the pack. I’d like to be able to keep up with some of my friends, and get away from the back of the pack.