On The Run
Taking an extended break from anything can be both rejuvenating and frustrating. Sometimes you have to dial it back in the short term to come back stronger in the long term. And with running, when you start again, you can't just pick up where you left off.
Last fall, I was suffering from right Achilles tendonitis and decided to stop running after doing the Reach the Beach relay in September so I could take care of the problem. I could still run, but the tendon was very sore and tight and I didn't want to take a chance on waiting until it tore or ruptured, which would require surgery and a longer rehab period.
So I went cold turkey and eventually began getting physical therapy to help strengthen the tendon again. It was a tedious process involving calf stretches, massage, ice, plyometrics and strength work, as well as eventually getting back on the treadmill for short durations.
When I wasn't at PT, I was at the gym doing low-impact aerobic activities like riding exercise bikes or using the elliptical, in addition to my regular weight workouts. But it wasn't the level of activity I was used to when I was running; add in all the holiday eating excess and by the end of the year, I was 10 pounds heavier than I was when I stopped running.
My goal was to run the Frosty Four race in Salem on New Year's Day and I was able to accomplish it, even if my time was slower than I would have liked. I knew it would take some time to get back to where I wanted to be. It took a while to get back into the swing of things, running four or five times per week, but I got there.
There's also the issue of diet. I try to eat healthy but there are many temptations along the way (cheese, desserts, greasy food, libations). I'd like to say my will is strong, but sometimes it's not as strong as it needs to be. I'm working on it.
Instead of throwing myself into a lot of road races, I've only signed up for a few this spring, including the Wallis Sands Half Marathon in Rye, N.H., in May. With a few weeks to go before the half, I'm up to a 10-mile long run. However, my speed isn't quite where I'd like it to be. I haven't done any speed work at the track yet, but I plan on doing so as part of my training for a fall marathon.
Ultimately, knowing when to stop is as important as knowing when to run.
Starts and stops
As was well-documented on these pages and elsewhere, Monday's Boston Marathon was one of the hottest in recent memory. In the days before the race, the Boston Athletic Association went to the unusual step of allowing entrants to defer their race entries until 2013 if they didn't want to deal with the extreme heat. The BAA specifically warned novice marathoners and folks who weren't in great shape to skip this year, but the offer was taken up by more than a few entrants who were targeting a specific goal time and didn't want to deal with the adverse conditions.
Of course, there's no guarantee that next year's marathon won't also feature temperatures in the 80s, but it's certainly not typical for this time of year. As for this year's race, emergency medical personnel were kept busy but thankfully there were no fatalities reported. The advance warning at least forced runners to adjust their race strategies to the heat. Congrats to everyone who gutted their way through the marathon.
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The 16th Annual North Shore Wellness Fair 5K Road Race and Fun Walk is scheduled for Sunday, April 29, at the Salem State University O'Keefe Center. The wellness fair will take place from 8 to 11 a.m. and the road race begins at 9 a.m. Packet pickup is from 7:45 to 8:45 a.m. The event aims to promote a healthy lifestyle and to raise money for LifeBridge, the Northeast Animal Shelter and the Wellness Center. Chip timing will be provided by North Shore Timing. The first 250 pre-registered runners and walkers receive a T-shirt. Register online at http://runraceregister.com. For more information, contact the Wellness Center at 978.542.6550 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The 2nd Annual Patrick Downey 5K will take place on Sunday, May 13, at 8:30 a.m. at the AOH Hall, 58 Lowell St., Peabody. All proceeds will benefit the Esophageal Cancer Awareness Association. After an awards ceremony at the AOH immediately following the race, Brodie's Pub will host an after-party with free appetizers and a cash bar. All race details can be found at www.patrickdowney5k.com or by contacting email@example.com.
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On the Run is a biweekly column about the North Shore running scene. Send any questions, comments, or news to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, April 22: Energize the Earth 5K/10K race, Lynch Park, 55 Ober St., Beverly, 10 a.m. Organic shirts and bibs, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. festival, vendors and food. Contact: Ashley Steeves at 1-978-836-0271 or email@example.com.
Halfway to Halloween 5K at the Tavern in the Square, 189 Washington St., Salem, 9 a.m. Race through the streets of Salem to benefit the Special Olympics. Contact: Paul Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://racewire.com/halfwaytohalloween.
Ring Around the Neck 5-Mile Road Race, 5 Corners, downtown Marblehead, 2 p.m. Contact: Jaime Bloch at 1-781-631-9622 or email@example.com.
Wednesday, April 25, May 2: Danvers 5K Fun Run, Sweet William's Garden Center, 141 Pine St., Danvers, 7 p.m. Free, timed run. All welcome. These events are part of a weekly 52-race series. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, April 26, May 3: No Rest for the Wicked Weekly 5K-ish, Salem Common, Salem, 6:45 p.m. Free 3.2-mile run. Contact email@example.com.
Friday, May 4: Happy as a Clam 5K Road Race, Essex Elementary School, 12 Story St., Essex, 5 p.m. Includes a 1-mile family fun run and walk, wellness fair and carnival. Contact: Jen Tolo (Essex Elementary PTO) at 1-978-290-1983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit www.northshoreroadraceguide.com/race-calendar for more race listings.