Where did August go?
I honestly feel like I just got out of the awesome Dodge Avenger that we rented (thanks Priceline!) for our road trip from Cleveland to Rhode Island for the wedding of Sheila’s cousin Kate and her beau Justin. Although I have only met most of them one or two times, I really enjoy spending time with Sheila’s mom’s extended family. They welcomed me with open arms into the family right after we got married and we do a pretty good job of keeping in contact via Facebook. Despite never actually having the opportunity to meet him in person until the wedding, I have actually talked about sports and fantasy football with Justin for several years. I can’t believe we didn’t get a picture with the bride and groom, but here’s a picture of Sheila and I before the ceremony:
Needless to say, I was stoked for the trip! Although Dodge Avenger has horrible blind spots, I was pleased by the fact that it did have SIRIUS Satellite Radio! When I saw that there was an entire channel devoted to fantasy sports, I was pumped.
Anyhow, the trip was great, but in the back of my mind I was worried about my hamstring for much of the trip. I had a hamstring injury that just would not go away, and it really put a damper on my running for much of July and early August.
Having suffered through the ups and downs of Peyton Hillis’ hamstring injury during the nightmare that was the 2011 Cleveland Browns season and having spent many anxious Saturday nights and Sunday mornings agonizing over whether a hamstring injury would keep one of my fantasy football players on the bench, I was well aware that these injuries don’t go away quickly and that the best remedy for these injuries is stretching and rest.
As time went on, I began to wonder if running the Towpath Marathon was still in the cards for my fall. Part of me thought that I should bag it and focus on setting a new half marathon PR. The other part of me took a look at my future and realized that life in 2014 could be much busier than life in 2013. My responsibilities at work have already ramped up significantly.
By early 2014, we could easily own a house and by late 2014 we could be preparing for the arrival of a little one. (No, we are not actively trying, and I hope that this statement doesn’t mean that people we know in real life are going to start besieging us with questions about when we will. I simply put it up there because this could potentially be something that we hope will happen next year!) While I certainly plan to keep running regardless of what types of changes in life circumstances come our way, I also have realized that marathon training is much more time-consuming than half-marathon training, and there’s no worse feeling than doing a long training run and knowing that you’ll have approximately 30 seconds to ice down and rest before having to move onto another activity.
With a bit of trepidation, I decided to move forward with marathon training and told myself that I’d dial back down to the Towpath Half if my hammy didn’t get better. After a series of great shorter training runs with no pain, I decided to hop back into my plan and go for a 10 miler.
The first half of the 10 miler went very well, with absolutely no pain whatsoever. After I refueled at my car with a delicious Powerade that tasted like cotton candy, I headed back for the remaining 5 miles feeling great about how everything was going…
…until I got nipped by a dog at mile 5.25!
At first, I was pretty stunned and shocked. I expected it to hurt worse than it did.
Shortly thereafter, my shock turned into fear as I started to wonder if any muscle, ligament, tendon, or bone damage had occurred.
By God’s grace, this occurred on the Towpath right in front of a factory who was open because they were receiving a shipment. (The incident occurred at around 8:30PM, so many of the industrial operations adjacent to the Towpath on Canal Road were closed.) A very kind gentleman saw what had happened and came out with a high-powered OSHA first aid kit, and I bombarded both of the bite areas with hydrogen peroxide, antiseptic spray, and iodine. I was extremely grateful that they were there and that I was able to get the site cleaned up.
All the while, I was also consumed with thoughts about what I should do next. Butters may look cute on the blog, but he has an aggressive side to him as well and we had a close call with him on July 4th when a child who loved him too much smothered him to the point where he gave a very short and terse warning bark that indicated he was at his breaking point. (Can’t really blame the child, of course; he’s a cute dog!)
Although I was really annoyed about the fact that I had been bit, I also didn’t want to do anything that would cause the dog owner to lose their dog. At the same time, I wanted to make sure that nothing with significant long-term effects would happen to me or my leg. (I also really wanted to finish my run, which I did after everything settled down. Crazy? Maybe.)
As I thought about what to do, Gandalf’s quote from The Hobbit rang out in my head: “True courage is about not knowing when to take a life, but when to spare one.”
I eventually concluded that there was no point in reporting it to the police as long as I healed properly and as long as the dog’s rabies vaccination turned out to be current. I figured that if America would allow George Zimmerman to walk free after he shot an unarmed teenager in supposed “self-defense”, I shouldn’t go after an innocent pup when he reacted in a way that is only natural to him when he is startled.
The next day, I confirmed the dog’s rabies vaccination status and talked to my doctor about the incident. He said that I didn’t need antibiotics unless it got infected. I also had my mom, who is a nurse, examine the site two days later. She said that it looked fine and that I was blessed because the dog missed my tendon by an inch or so!
Fortunately, the site has healed properly and I’ve had zero pain or soreness in the area.
Since then, my marathon training has kicked into high gear. So far, so good! After initially being caught off guard by the sheer increase in difficulty between half marathon training and marathon training once my long runs began to exceed 13.1, I’ve adjusted my expectations and recalibrated my approach and this has helped immeasurably.
Best of all, I have had no lasting injuries. When one’s stomach feels worse than one’s legs and feet after a 15 mile run, that’s a good thing, right?
I have more thoughts about marathon training that deserve their own post, so I’ll save those for later.
For those of you who are training for fall races, I hope your training is going well!
What fall races are you running? How is your training going?