Tony Runs Boston

Tony Walter, after qualifying at Steamtown, 2012 for Boston.

Tony Walter, after qualifying at Steamtown, 2012 for Boston.

Back in May, 2012, a group of us from the SJAC decided we would head up to Scranton for the Steamtown Marathon in October, 2012.  One of our dedicated group, Brian, suggested we should write a blog about the group preparing for this event.  I happened to be the one who moved forward on this suggestion, and the sjacmarathoners.com was born.  Through the hottest summer on record in the Philadelphia area, we trained as a group, sweating, running, sweating some more, wringing out wet socks and shorts, hydrating, rehydrating, and getting in the miles.  Our experiences were documented in our blog.  After the grueling summer, and a bit cooler September, our group headed up to Scranton to participate in the Steamtown Marathon.  It is small as marathons go.  Three thousand signed up, the maximum allowed, and the event was closed to registration by the end of May, which speaks to it’s desirability.  It is also known as a Boston qualifier, since an average of about 25% of runners in this race qualify for Boston.  What this means, though, as I found out, was that it is an elite runners marathon.  The reason so many qualify for Boston is that so many fast runners run this race.  This was evident when we were gathered in the gym at the Forest City high school, waiting for the start.  I had not seen so many Boston Marathon jackets since I ran Boston in 2011.

Tony ran Steamtown with an eye to qualifying for Boston, although he would have been happy just to put in a decent performance.  He needed to hit under 3:40 to qualify.  He also needed for Boston not to be filled up by the time his race was run.  There were a few factors that made this prospect interesting.  One was that the Boston Athletic Association decided to change the qualifying times the year before.  Two years ago, Tony could have qualified with a 3:45:59.  They decided to drop the time for all entrants by five minutes, and drop the 59 second allowance.  That set the new time at 3:40 flat.  In addition, they decided to allow finishers who beat the time by certain margins, 20 minutes and 10 minutes, to get preferential sign up privileges.  Theoretically, one could make a qualifying time but not be allowed to run because all the places were taken.  This happened the year before, when some runners had hit the qualifying time, but there were no places left.  For 2013, an anomaly occurred.  The 2012 Boston Marathon was run under very hot conditions, with temperatures into the high eighties.  Participants at Boston who normally would have qualified at Boston for the following year had times much slower than normal due to the heat, and some actually decided not to run.  This left a few places available still in October, after the Steamtown Marathon.  So, when Tony hit his qualifier of 3:39:06, he was able to sign up for Boston.

At the end of Steamtown Marathon, Tony was beat.  He could hardly move, and when someone in our group offered to get him a drink, he had the look of a zombie as he answered that he really couldn’t say.  Our group went out to eat lunch at a very nice Mexican restaurant in Clarks Summit.  Tony ordered a delicious tortilla soup, which remained untouched as he stared at his bowl not saying a word.  We got a little worried about him, but he still had a pulse and respiratory rate, so we figured he would be okay.  On the way home to the Philadelphia area, he stopped at a rest stop to get some coffee.   Lisa, one of our group, followed him there, just to check on him.  Seeing he was managing alright, she drove on and Tony eventually made it back home.

The next day, he signed up for Boston.  Good thing he did, too, for it filled up by Thursday of that week.

Tony is a terrific training partner.  He seems like he is always in a good mood, and he always has kind things to say about everyone.  He is very steady in his training, and got through the summer having put in the miles, logged the long runs and done the track work to be well prepared.  He kept the rest of us going strong, and set a good example for us.  In other words, he earned it.

Many of my non-running friends have asked, “what is so special about Boston?”  Anyone who has run a marathon knows about Boston.  It is the oldest modern marathon, run since 1897, with the exception of 1918, during the first world war.  It is also a marathon for which one must qualify in ones age group.  The runners are all elite runners who have achieved a qualifying time which puts them in the top echelon of marathoners world wide.  But the best thing about running Boston is the support of the fans, who turn out in droves on the day of the marathon to cheer on the runners.  It doesn’t hurt that the event is held on Patriot’s Day, commemorating the start of the revolutionary war, and, as it happens, a holiday in Massachusetts.  The crowds that line the route, cheering, giving support, and making a lot of noise, especially in the last few blocks before the finish line, make the race a wonderful experience.  And, to make it all that much sweeter, the students from Wellesley, an all-women’s college, come out to offer kisses and high fives to the runners as they pass the midpoint of the race.

Tony will be running his first Boston Marathon tomorrow.  From his training partners back home, who didn’t make it in to Boston this year, we wish him the very best.  This morning, after our Sunday morning training run, a 13 mile route, the group gathered to offer Tony advice.  “Don’t go out too fast (duh…).”  “Go out easy and then back off.”  “Go get ’em, but take your time at Wellesley.”  And “whatever you do, make it across the finish line.”

I would like to ask any one reading this to offer support for Tony and we will pass on your advice and good wishes.

Best wishes to Tony from the SJAC Marathoners back home.

Best wishes to Tony from the SJAC Marathoners back home.

A Week to Recuperate, and a little give-back

Newton Lake

Newton Lake Park, Camden County, New Jersey October 13, 2012.

It is now six days after Steamtown, and my legs are recovering.  The first two days were rough, with pain in the quads, which was particularly awful going down stairs or getting up after sitting for a bit.  But now the pain is essentially gone.  I’ve taken this week to slowly recuperate, and to get ready to put make another push to the next race.  I ran Wednesday, a mere three miles, and it felt smooth and easy.  Friday evening, in the dark, with a headlamp and reflector straps (yup, it’s that time of the year), I did a nice and easy six mile run.

Today, as a way of giving back to the church which allows us to use their facility for our monthly running club meetings for no charge, we held a “Grace Race”, named for the Grace Church of Haddonfield.  It is a 5K, and all the entry fees are donated to the church.  We hold the race at the beautiful Newton Lake Park, in Collingswood, in Camden County.  The race is over paved trails around the lake, and includes a pancake breakfast after the race for the runners and their families.

Runners starting to gather at the start.

Runners start to gather at the start, to sign up for the Grace Race.

This was the first really cool day of the fall.  There was actual frost on the ground this morning, and the large green leaves of the squash and zucchini plants in our garden, which have been so prolific this summer, turned gray and wilted.  I put on long tights and a long sleeve shirt, packed a back pack with a fleece, jacket and knit hat, put on gloves, and headed out to run to the race.  I was a volunteer for this race, and the extra clothes were to keep me warm while I stood and stopped traffic at one of the road crossings.  The temperature was a cool 30 degrees at the start, but would warm up to the mid 40’s when the sun came up.

Runners warming up.

Runners warming up before the race.

Dave S. getting a feel for the course.

Dave S. one of SJAC’s finest, gets a warm-up in.

The race went off at eight AM, still cool, but no wind.  The number signed up for the race was modest, but then, there are a lot of competing events at this time of year.  We were very happy to get the runners that we did.   This being a small race,  if you run, you’ll have a very good chance of getting a medal in your age group.

Newton Lake looking west.

Newton Lake, looking west.

Oddly, there were two runners who joined the race late.  So, after the bulk of the runners had passed my station, a woman came up to the road crossing, looking lost.  She said she was running the race, although it was perhaps ten minutes after the last runner had gone by, and this woman was not fleet of foot.  In fact she looked like she was going to take some time to get through the course.  Still later, a few minutes after she ran by, one of our club members who is a fast runner came up to the crossing, and started to head up the return path.  “Tom”, I yelled.  “Are you running this thing?”  “Yes”.  “Well you’re going the wrong way.”   I got Tom back on track, but knew he would have no trouble catching at least the slower runners of the main group.

Ducks in the pond.

Ducks doing what ducks do, swimming.

As it turned out, our trailing female runner did get a bit off the route, was directed back on, and finished, well behind the rest, but she finished.  She was sweating, and clearly had put some effort into the run.  She got a hearty round of applause, a finishers certificate, and she had someone take a photo of her at the finish line.  It turns out it was her first 5K ever.  She’s signed up for another in Atlantic City in a week or two, and she said she would get to the start line on time, next time.

Vapor Trail

A vapor trail in sharp relief against the clear blue sky.

We then moved on to the hall where the pancakes were waiting, along with sausage, coffee, tea, orange juice, and trophies or medals for most.  Volunteers from the church flipped flapjacks and grilled the sausages at the Mason’s Lodge in Collingswood.  As the runners and their families ate and talked, Brandon, SJAC president presented the awards.

Jim F. at the awards table

Hmmmm, it says here he’s sixteen, but he doesn’t look it. Ed, check the numbers.

Jim F. scores.

Ah, that’s more like it, 46 and still a medal winner.

Tory scores.

Tory T. walks off with a nice memento.

The kids in the hall.

A finer group of guys you couldn’t find. They’ll help you drag your truck out of a ditch any time. They’re enjoying the breakfast at the Mason’s Lodge.

So, that’s how it went Saturday, Oct. 13, 2912, six days after Steamtown, still in recovery mode, but soon to get cracking again.  It was good to give back to the nice folks at the Grace Church for allowing us the use of their hall.  It was a beautiful, sunny, crisp fall day, and everyone had a good time.  On the way home (running, naturally), I stopped at the Collingswood farmers market, to enjoy the last look of the season at the fall vegetables.  I picked up a couple of really interesting egg plants, $0.75 each, and now will try to figure out their best use.

Frank

Eggplants

Sicilian-style eggplants from the farmers market in Collingswood. They’re about 9 inches long, and purple with white streaks.

Report from Steamtown, USA

We made our way up the northeast extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, often a difficult drive, with tractor-trailer trucks being driven like Miatas, and never ending construction zones.  This Friday evening, though, it wasn’t so bad, and my wife and I made good time.  We were heading up to Kingston, to spend a night with friends, and to shorten the trip to Scranton the next morning.  I sent a “Glympse” email to my friend, Ivan, with whom we’d be staying.  This clever app allows your host to follow your progress in real time along the road, know how fast you are going, whether you’ve made a wrong turn, and know when you will arrive.  It was nice to spend the evening enjoying a delicious spinach quiche made by Ivan’s wife Cheri, have a beer, and sit outside with an outdoor fireplace going in complete relaxation mode.

The next morning, I went for a really slow 3 mile run with Ivan, which was a good way to keep the muscles warm and working.  The weather, which had been predicted to be rain the whole weekend, was starting to look less monsoon-like, and more like scattered showers, especially on Sunday.  After some pancakes, we left and headed up the last half hour of driving to Scranton, and to the pre-race expo.  This is held in the Scranton High School gym.  For a small marathon, which is capped at 3000 entries, the expo was well organized, and had all the necessary elements:  a line to pick up your number and T-shirt, commemorative shirts, hats and other Steamtown branded items for sale, vendors for gels, sports drinks, and accessories, and a nice wall-sized map of the course.  I got the feeling this was a “runners” marathon, since I saw an awful lot of Boston Marathon jackets on the people picking up numbers, and no-one looked like they were just there to take an easy jog from Forest City to Scranton.

After buying a couple of T’s, some gels for me, a hat, and, oh yes, picking up my number, we left and headed up to Clarks Summit, about five miles north of Scranton, and checked into our hotel.

Tony, Frank and Lisa

Tony, Frank and Lisa, outside the Hampton Inn, Clarks Summit, with the fall colors in the background.

We took some time to relax in the hotel, then headed out to dinner, at Bellissimo Pizzeria and Ristorante, with the others in our group.

Welcome to Marathoners

Bellissimo Sign welcoming the runners.

At the restaurant, we had a large group, Lisa, Tony Brian, his wife Sarah and their two kids, Dan and his girlfriend Ashley, Steve and his wife Caren, and my wife Kathleen and me.

Lisa, Tony, Carin, Brian, and his daughter.

One half of the table, Lisa, Tony Caren and Brian with daughter.

Frank, Steve and Dan

The other half of the table, Frank, Steve and Dan.

Pretty much everyone stuck to the rule of pasta before the race.  There was ziti, ravioli, penne, spaghetti, and a few others which I don’t recall.  Tony drank a Bud, and Lisa had a Yuengling.  It seems that’s a sure way to do well in a marathon the next day.

We called it a night pretty early and headed back to the hotel.  The staff at the hotel was very accommodating, and told us they would have breakfast ready to go at five AM the next morning, so we would be well fed heading our for our race.  True to their word, the waffle maker, and the whole rest of the breakfast buffet, was ready to go when we came down the next morning.  Thank you, staff at the Clarks Summit Hampton Inn!

Brian and Frank at Breakfast

Frank and Brian at Breakfast

It took some work, a degree in logical thinking would have come in handy, in order to figure out the car arrangements for getting to the start of the race in Forest City.  Our final plan was for Caren, Steve’s wife to drive Steve, Tony, and me to Forest City, then Caren would head to the first support zone.  Lisa would drive Brian and Dan to Scranton and then they would take the bus up to Forest City.  Sarah, Ashley, and Brian’s kids would arrive in Scranton in time for the finish, and Kathleen, likewise would drive to Scranton and find her way to the finish line.  On the way to Forest City, we got to see the starting gun being towed to the start, the “gun” being a civil war canon.

Starting "gun".

The Starting “Gun”. It really sends out a shock wave when fired.

In the gym at the Forest City High School, we took care of last minute details, including, of course, a trip or two to the porta-john.  Interestingly, they had separate units for men and women, which, I’m sure, made the women very happy, since we guys are not exactly neat and tidy.  The runners were filing in, past the cheerleader brigade out front, the friendly students handing out coffee and hot chocolate, and the busy looking officials.  For a smaller marathon, they do know how to make us comfortable.  My impression at the expo was again confirmed, that everyone of the assembling runners looked like they were fit and ready.

Gym at Forest City H.S.

The gym at Forest City H.S. starts to fill up.

Steve came up with the idea of writing our names on our bodies, so the fans would know who to yell for.

Steve gets a name.

Let’s see, that’s S…..T….E…, don’t want to make a mistake!

STEVE!

Nailed it! STEVE : )

Frank and the magic marker.

They’ll need to look at my legs to see my name. I wonder if that will work.

And here’s the group all together, getting a bit nervous, and wanting to get the show on the road.

The group from SJAC

SJAC Marathoners wait in the gym at Forest City, H.S. Dan, Brian, Steve, Lisa, Frank and Tony.

The race started off close to the planned start of 8 AM.  Fortunately for us all, the rain stayed away for the entire race.  The temperature at the start was about 40 deg., and it warmed up to about 50 by the end.  True to all the stories we had heard from former runners, the start is a very steep drop down hill.  The net drop in the first 10 miles is about 900 feet, and one really gets sucked in to the speed one gets from letting it rip down hill.  I noticed that at the halfway mark, while I was still hanging with Tony, my half marathon time was faster than any half marathon I’ve run, just under 1:45.  Ed, from SJAC, warned us about going out too fast.  My feeling was that to slow down also takes a big toll on the muscles, from the braking action, so you are damned either way.  Just past the half marathon mark, the run gets into a rolling hill, up and down, mode.  It heads into the woods over graveled trails, which I found hurt my feet.  By sixteen miles, I had given up all my time savings and started to really slow down.  My legs were in pain, and I was starting to get some twitches  in my calf muscles.  Between the pain building in my muscles and the twitches turning in to real cramps, I could see my time goal not just slipping away, but having left the station a long time ago.  So, what to salvage?  By the way, Tony had steadily moved forward at the halfway mark and it was the last I saw of him until the finish line.  Leaving the last of the trails in the woods, we continued on rolling roads as we headed toward Scranton.  I had the honor of running beside  “Hizzoner” Mayor Chris and his wife Donna, of Scranton, who were both looking very good over the last several miles.  As we ran along, the crowds grew large, and their support for their mayor was tremendous.  I got energized by their loud cheers for their mayor, pretending it was for me, which really helped drive me to the finish.  Over the last two miles I was getting some very strange cramps in my left leg causing my foot to twist almost sideways.  I’m sure I had a bit of a Quasimodo look as I headed up the remaining climb to the finish line.  Crossing the finish line, I was barely able to lift my arms to shoulder height, trying unsuccessfully to look good for the camera.  I finished in 3 hours, 57 minutes and 11 seconds.  My personal best is 3:44:14, so I didn’t make a PR, and I certainly didn’t make my Boston Qualifier.  But, I finished under four hours, and I was happy to have done so.  Tony was brilliant, finishing in 3:39:06, under the Boston standard of 3:40 for his (and my) age group.  He was very depleted at the end of the race, as were we all, although I think he was worse off than the rest of us.  Steve finished in a very respectable 3:45:34, not what he wanted, but then, it’s a tough race.

Tony at the finish.

Tony, wearing the smile of his best marathon ever, and a Boston Qualifier!

Steve, at the finish

Steve, happy to be finished.

Frank, in front of the Scranton court house.

Frank, glad to have warm clothing on, and happy to have survived.

Caren and Kathleen

Caren, Steve’s wife, and Kathleen, my wife, provided invaluable support and cheer in our efforts to prove ourselves on the marathon course, and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts.

After we had a chance to warm up, replenish some fluids and let the muscles stop twitching, Tony, Steve, Lisa, and I, along with our support crew of Caren and Kathleen, headed back up to Clarks Summit for lunch.  We ate at a surprisingly good Mexican restaurant across the street from our hotel, called La Tonalteca, a chain, but with very authentic food.  Poor Tony found it hard to face eating anything at this point, leaving a beautiful bowl of tortilla soup untouched, but the rest of us found it in ourselves to chow down.

I find each marathon I run to be tremendously challenging, often painful, and mostly discouraging.  As soon as I’m done, why am I thinking about the next one?  I think I really love this sport, greatly respect the runners who run with me, and want to keep pushing to get better.

Frank

one small regret

It was a great weekend. Unfortunately NOW I have my appetite back and I think of the tragedy of the missed meals with my fellow runners Frank, Steve, Bryan, Dan and Lisa. Also Frank’s wife Kathleen and Steve’s wife Caren who were so kind to a very beaten up runner (me). Ah Saturday night in downtown Clark’s Summit at the Italian restaurant and all I could eat was a side of ziti and lots of bread…are you kidding? And Sunday lunch at a great looking Mexican joint and I just stared at my Taco soup. The horror. Give me another chance and boy would I do my restaurant mates proud. But alas. The run was probably the best run I ever did (btw trust the taper). I wanted to do even splits the whole way. I didn’t but I wanted to. Target time was 3:40 and not a second over that to qualify for Boston. At 13.1 miles I was at 1:45 which is…hmmm…oh yea 3:30 for a full. I felt good but knew I would give some of that time back on the back half with the hills. Sure enough I started fading a bit by mile 16. That’s where the mental games kick in. “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” and ” pain is temporary” and “just do it” and thinking about all the training that I’ve done with Frank, Steve, and Bryan. Head games man. Started fading but fighting it. Finally made the right hand turn onto the home stretch about a mile to go most up hill. My watch said 3:30 something… a runner next to me kicked it in and started sprinting up the hill. I thought “Goddamnit I can’t let this go” and started sprinting also. I was pissed. I needed that emotion. Kept at it and the clock said like 3:39:30. Talk about no margin of error. Of course I paid for it the rest of the day. I didn’t mind the sore muscles so  much as the upset stomach which prevented me from enjoying the meals with my friends but what can you do? Thanks guys for everything and Frank too as sort of the Godfather of the whole event.

The Art of the Taper

Frank tapering

Exercising the brain, i.e., doing a NYT crossword.

What a cheap excuse!  No, not running today.  I’m tapering.  Tapering my butt!  I’m expanding.  I must be.  My shirts are tapered.  No-Iron, too, but that’s for another blog.  No, I can’t be running less than half of what I’ve been running, and then say that I’m gaining fitness.  My last long run, 21 miles, was 10 days ago.  Since then I’ve managed to get in a total of 19 miles, all at a repressed pace to allow for the magic of the taper to take effect.  Part of that low mileage was due to my being on call last week, so I had to work some long hours, and didn’t get in the usual run with the club on Sunday.  It was, in a way, a forced taper.  Now we only have three days left before the marathon, and I don’t feel like a sprite dancing over the water.  I was expecting, perhaps, a feeling of “incredible lightness of being” with homage to, and a twist on, one of my favorite authors, Milan Kundera.  Oh, I will grant that I’ve taken my bluejeans belt up a notch, and I’m running comfortably at paces which used to be impossible.  But I have a fear that all that will slip by, that the peak is passed, and that the old bugaboos will still haunt me when it comes time to face the start line.  We say we are ready, that we’ve put in the miles.  We have certainly sweated a lot these past four months.  Imagine the cost of all the sports drink which cycled through our systems, only to be lost as a stead flow of drips on the ground, and wrung out from shirts, shorts and socks.  Running is considered an inexpensive sport, since there are not many necessities, but buying shoes every few months, and refueling with organic, healthy foods to replace the calories burned is not cheap.

One of our club mates asked that I report on who eats what the night before the marathon.  Our group will be heading out to dinner together the night before, at an Italian restaurant.  Steve, who made the reservation, had the temerity to ask the owner if he was sure he would have enough pasta to feed us.  I’m sure there was silence and disbelief on the other end of the line, then “what, are you jokin’?”  Wine or beer the night before?  Good idea or bad?  I don’t know, but I plan to go ethanol-free.  All these fears come bubbling to the surface a few days before the marathon, but come the day, I’m sure they’ll be suppressed, and only confidence and good cheer will prevail.

Now, it’s off to run my last Wednesday night run before the race.  By the way, I signed up for Philadelphia, Nov. 18.  I think it’s good to keep looking forward.

Frank

Bucket List

As Frank did not run on Sunday, I’ll act as the “fake” Frank (“why yes that chianti was lovely with the lobster bisque!!”). In case anyone has forgotten, the marathon is this weekend. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this. Some include being nervous mixed with not quite dread. I mean it’s a hard run, man. But I know how good I’ll feel having completed the damn thing- yadda yadda yadda. Someone mentioned bucket list which I really don’t have this penciled in anywhere but certainly a great idea. I do have a bucket list for my old dog though. That list includes a drive through at McDonalds, a visit to the beach, an afternoon with the Kelly’s dog Daisy with the loose morals, and a night sleeping in the kids bed. Anyway I’ll be eating some pasta this week and trying to stay positive (and this is not a plea for a lot of phony “ah, you’ll do great!!” comments thanks anyway). I did do the El Torro roller coaster at 6 Flags over the weekend so if there was a bucket list that would be on it.

I run. I doctor.

As an Internal Medicine resident I penned a letter to the Nike corporation suggesting they sponsor out internal medicine team. Sports companies sponsor amateur teams from Little League to college. It seemed reasonable the best known sports company in the world may want to throw its sponsorship in the direction of some underpaid, overworked residents, especially when I imagined the TV commercial.

University Hospitals of Cleveland, 2 AM .…Any day

….the camera catches the bottom the green scrubs, the tail of the well worn white lab coat a glancing view of the Nike swoosh as it pans the ankles and feet of medical residents in a dimly lit room. You can barely make out the tired voices….

Resident #1: “Ms. Murphy spiked another fever. I need to draw blood cultures after I get the ABG on room 545, and check the PTT on 318. Only 16 hrs and my 36 hours are over. Then I can sleep in my own bed.”

Resident # 2: The Chief Resident called – we have an admission in the ER. A 78 y/o woman with urosepsis and a change in mental status; another sleepless night.”

Overhead announcement: “Code Blue!!!, 8th floor Lerner Tower, Code Blue!!!

The camera catches four figures scrambling out the door, stethoscopes in hand, rounding the corner. When they spot another medical waiting at the elevator they crash through the door into the stairwell and furiously climb flights of stairs, beads of sweat forming as their breathing becoming simultaneously more rapid and audible. Springing out of the stairwell the four heroes dash into a patient’s room as the crash cart slides in, and other team members collapse into the small patient room. The four residents take their positions: chest compressions, airway management, vascular access and the senior resident at the head of the bed barking out commands. They work  feverously works to regain a pulse while the other medical team, the one waiting at the elevator, watches helplessly from outside. As the cardiac monitor acknowledges the beep and digital display of a heartbeat, across the screen in large letters:

Save Lives.

Just Do It! Then the Nike swoosh and …fade to black.

I never received a response.

Now my rounding looks at lot like my running. No sprinting to codes, just the long plodding of more miles; caring for patients with chronic illness. The punishing 36 hour shifts have given way to years of patient medical practice.

I now take call from home, but needing to round at two hospitals this past Sunday. The Steamtown Marathon is two months away and I am in the midst of increasing mileage. No time to take a weekend off. At 4:45 AM I rolled out of bed, and by 5:25 I was starting the first steps of 17 miles. A quick shower, a 2 minute breakfast, and then out the door to start hospital rounds.

At the end of the day I am fatigued and can feel the ache in my legs, but I am satisfied my miles and my medical advice have been solid. And satisfied from a day of physical and mental work. Hopefully both result in positive outcomes.  

I have no true aspirations for a professional sponsorship – at least not from running. At one time it was fun to think about a completely different biathlon: running and saving lives. But those days are long gone. I run. I doctor. Two separate events that keep me whole.

Should you run when sick?

It is a question that comes up often in our running club. Should you run when injured? Should you run when sick? I think there is no definite answer, and it depends on how injured, or how sick. After a really nice long run last Sunday, I got hit later in the afternoon with a scratchy throat. This developed by Monday to a full blown viral attack, of the real virus kind. My voice plummeted two octaves to the croak range, and I felt weak and easily fatigued. By today, though, it seemed the worst had passed, although I still felt a bit shaky. So, I headed out this evening for our usual Wednesday night group run, not sure how I would feel. As it turned out, not so bad. Keeping the pace easy made it possible to actually have a decent run. Running when injured also can be mysterious. Some injuries seem to do better with a controlled run, while some just get worse. Some injuries seem like they will never get better, and mean the end of running, but then magically improve. The ones runners fear most are the cartilage and tendon tears, which can be a game ender. Stay loose, don’t overtrain or push too hard, and have a good run.
Today’s run, 7 miles at an average pace of 8:45.
Frank

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