The wheels began to fall off as I landed flat footed in icy puddles and high-stepping along frozen chunks on the sidewalks.
In my first run since the Los Angeles Marathon, the Saturday morning pack left me in its wake after 2 miles.
From here back to the shop, all the miles would come from deep inside. My pace faltered with each passing block. But it was great to be outside again — and the mid-morning gray filled my lungs with the intoxicating air of winter giving way to spring in Grand Forks.
All my thoughts flashed back to the marathon.
Reflecting on the race, I didn’t have any answers. There were too many variables.
Once I read about an elite coach who said there are no fluke good performances, only fluke bad ones. It makes sense if you’ve run well. But it still isn’t all that comforting if a race doesn’t go well.
In Los Angeles, more than 20,600 people finished the marathon, where the early hills and mid-race heat provided a punishing toll. And while my finishing time proved to be my slowest in nearly 7 years, it was my best finish compared to the rest of the field. Presumably, I was able to suffer better than most.
Hours after Saturday’s run, my legs ached — as though someone pressed push pins and dragged them along the back of my legs, just short of breaking the skin. An odd sensation similar to the pain and doubt that creeps into the crevices of your conscience during a daily running streak stretching into week 12.
By the next morning, it didn’t feel any better.
But, later that day, I went to the gym and dialed up the treadmill. My steps felt easy and smooth. And my focus shifted to the future — and the miles yet to come.