Caught between before and after…where do I go from here?

It’s been a couple of weeks now since I ran my first half-marathon (the recap can be found here and here, in case you missed it), yet it already feels like so long ago…how can this be? Part of the problem is there are two different things going on: my brain got used to the endorphin hot-tub of hard workouts, and really wants to do it again; but my body (especially my ankles) is pushing back against the demands I have placed upon it lately, and would like nothing better than a few days…or weeks…of rest.

Not a destination, but rather a direction...

Not a destination, but rather a direction…

It seems to me that this journey of recovery must somehow bring together these opposites, to regain the unity of mind and body that leads to truly excellent performance – it’s not the pace, or how many miles we cover, it’s the honest joy of the experience that ultimately makes us runners. It is my search for that joy that is my new training goal: I must learn to run for today, not merely for race day. This is what I am bringing with me “after” my first half.

As I write this, on the eve of the Houston Marathon lottery drawing, I literally have moments where I feel short of breath in anticipation…every smaller step I have taken this year towards this ultimate goal has met with success, so a sense of inevitability begins to settle in….the ebb tide of “before”. I push this away, as there is no disappointment harder to recover from than the one with no basis in reality. Whatever comes, comes…besides I have a a back-up plan!

I wrote recently about the need to maintain my commitment to the ministry work in the prisons; this is no less matched by my commitment to running. I had to scratch a couple of events off my list, but the fall and winter months are lousy with races, and I have set my eyes on two in particular: The Rock-n-Roll Marathon comes to San Antonio, TX in November; and in December we will see the inaugural running of the McAllen Marathon. (The South Texas Valley is suffering enormously under drought conditions and other economic difficulties; marathons and other events could bring valuable tourist dollars to the area, and at the same time, what a great way to support local runners?) Races within driving distance are going to be the rule for me, at least for the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t really limit me that much – Texas is rich with opportunities! But it is entirely possible to find myself running three full marathons within a span of eight weeks – and don’t say it can’t be done, you all know better than that!

There is one further commitment I need to remain faithful too – that is you, my faithful readers. I want to thank you for staying faithful and vocal as I make this journey, and I have ideas about how to give something back…keep watching for some new features, and perhaps some new adventures for you to share in!

That’s all for today, but be sure to check in tomorrow, for my weekly wrap-up, my lottery news, and maybe some previews of things to come. Bye now!

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