The Johnnycake Jog is Sunday and I have to admit, I am a little worried. Call it karma.
In previous blogs, I made a few cocky and overly-confident references to the race and how I expected it to be easy. Over the last month or two, the physical toll on me from the extra effort from this contest tacked on to normal life has kicked me in the pants. It has given me a dose of humility and respect for all the work we have done in the last six months.
So why am I worried about a simple 5-mile race?
First, I haven't run a race in over thirty-one years. Chalk up a little anxiety to that.
Second, a few things about this contest have not worked out exactly as I thought they would. One of them is the reality of my age. Do I ache all day and do my joints creak like a rusty gate? No, I feel great. But I do find that there are physical limitations at 55. Flexibility is one of them. I can run pretty well, but no way do I have the flexibility, nor the stride I had at 25. I thought I might get that old flexibility back, but it has mostly avoided me so far.
"Goodbye 7-minute miles". Or, maybe "Hello, Yoga" or "Hello, Chiropractor".
Third, running in my youthful days never resulted in an injury. Not one. Now, at 55, I already pulled a calf muscle, even after being careful. Fortunately, I was able to slowly and methodically nurse myself back to normal without impacting my progress in the contest. I discovered that I can't just run through cramps like I did 30 years ago, either. Once in a while, my feet hurt a little more than I remember. Even though I have been running for about three months, I just don't feel in top shape. I "hope" for that to come in the next several months, but no longer "expect" it.
Maybe "top shape" is not what it's cracked up to be. Perhaps it is relative, although I don't know of any of my relatives who are in better shape than me right now.
Getting back to the Johnnycake Jog: Will I finish the race? More than likely, even if it is on a stretcher. Will I do great? Probably not as well as I would like. Why? Because I decided not to push myself too hard. Instead, I plan on having fun. I do not want to injure anything I might need for other daredevil tasks like "walking" or "breathing".
Yes, I will have fun on Sunday despite the recent realization that it will be too early for Harry Buffalo to be open when I run (or crawl) by.
On the other hand, I will get a new T-shirt, so life is good.