Sunday, March 10, 2013


I was on a 20 mile training run two weeks ago when I hurt my ankle...bad. The run was an out-and-back from Bradbury State Park in Pownal, Maine to Pineland Farms in New Gloucester, and by mile 15 of the return I knew that I had done some damage. Each step of the next 5 miles reaffirmed that fact. By the time that we got back to the parking lot I couldn't put any weight on it and I ended up on crutches for the past two weeks.

I usually do okay with acceptance...and with putting things in perspective. Yeah, I couldn't run but I could still walk. I couldn't train the way that I wanted to, but I could still train. I wasn't battling a more serious illness, wasn't dodging bullets in a war zone, wasn't an innocent man on death row etc. Things could definitely be worse.

But, for some reason, this injury was a tough one for me to accept. I just began running regularly again after a taking some time off this winter and (after some huffing, puffing, and humbling first runs) I've never felt better. More importantly for me, this past winter presented some difficult personal challenges and as I hit the fresh dirt trails which snow had covered for the past several months I felt as though I had met these challenges not only intact, but stronger. I just bought a new GPS and some new gear, built up my mileage with a few 10 and 15 milers and a solid 20 two weeks before the injury, and was feeling that feeling that I get every time that I return to race training: it's a feeling of pure and absolute passion. It reminds me of the role that running plays in my life and, this year in particular, of the primal desire to race and race hard. I've never been more excited about a racing season and with the Traprock 50k and the Wapack and Back 50 miler fast approaching I ended up in serious funk. The past 14 days were spent hobbling to the YMCA in Portland and swinging kettle bells, rowing on the Concept 2, and focusing on targeted strength training (mainly deadlifts and squats, and core work) that will correlate to a stronger race performance once I'm ready to get back on the trail.

I ran my first mile this morning and I'm in no pain as I write this. I'm planning on a 3 miler tomorrow morning and I'm optimistic. But, most importantly, somewhere along the line I've regained the perspective that I lost along the way....

There's no "it's only running and I'm grateful for what I have" morale here. Just the opposite. Running has become a huge part of my life over the past few years, largely due to the amazing community that I'm a part of and partly due to my discovering a passion for the 50 and 100 mile distance and the races that I've put on my radar a result.

The past two weeks have reminded me that I am extremely grateful to have something that I love so fucking much that it kills me when its gone. Those are the kind of experiences that I want to fill my life with, the type of relationships that I want to have, and the degree of importance that I want the important things in my life to take.

Looking forward to the run tomorrow, and the one after that, with the sense of gratitude still fresh in my mind. Looking forward to the Traprock 50k and the Wapack and Back 50, where hopefully the only pain that I feel is the pain that I've earned on the trails.