Aches, pains and slow twitchiness…
Trying to get back into race shape after a summer of mountain biking isn’t as easy as I would like it to be. I’m coming up on 48 years old this fall and I feel a bit like Brett Favre constantly coming out of retirement in search of some former glory. Except my former glory wasn’t ever that glorious.
I made a deal with myself somewhere around 45 years old that I would let some of the speed and effort go. I could qualify for Boston without running all that fast, so why do it? Why risk the wear a tear and suffering of all that training? What is this lunacy to potentially trade years of extended blissful running for a few minutes of speed?
Successfully I consciously slowed my 1600 times by 30 seconds a mile. I would still work hard but not worry about the potential speed I was leaving on the table. But I miss it. I miss the feeling of power in the legs when you snap through an 85 second 400 on the track. The power. I miss the power. My power.
And so, Like Mr. Favre, I find myself considering un-retiring my speed work. I want to see what is still there before I put it back on the shelf. I want to be able to outrun my lungs and heart again. To have that threshold move way into the red zone. To have my legs push my systems far beyond what is comfortable. To fall on the ground wheezing and nauseous. I pine for the sweet suffering of oxygen debt and aerobic exhaustion.
Who are we if not creatures who strive beyond sense? Where does the life-force flicker? It flickers in the conscious search beyond the bounds of reason. It flickers in the striving. It is found when we paint outside the lines of sensibility.
My legs hurt. My knees make noise and ache. I move with tiredness and make old-man noises when forced to rise from a chair. But, lo the adventure beckons. The beast, the bitch! Once more into the breach! Follow me my children in the endless search for self that defines our wandering race. We are called, we cannot hide.