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Road to Nowhere

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Road to Nowhere

Post  Mark B on Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:36 am

Somewhere an a trail in Indiana's Yellowwood State Forest last December, a thought that has been taking shape deep inside my head began to worm its way into my consciousness.

"You know what?" it said. "You're really not enjoying this."

Yes, I know: Just about EVERYBODY thinks that at one time or another in that no-man's land between the half marathon point and the end of a marathon. But this time, it felt different.

Maybe it was the fact that the last satisfying race I ran was in 2009.

Maybe it was that every big race since then has ended, more or less, in disaster.

Maybe it was that, hours into a very tough trail marathon, I knew I had hours left to go and didn't really know if I could - or even wanted to - make the cut-off and finish.

At some point, the reason why doesn't matter. What mattered was that the conclusion I reached during the Eugene Marathon last May - that I wanted to be done with racing - wasn't simply limited to road marathons.

It was racing itself.

It seems to me that racing makes the stakes too high - when something like a twisted ankle, bad meal or unexpected conditions can ruin months of careful preparation. (You can shake off one bad race, but five in a row? Not so much.)

Even the timing of races is a problem: you build up to decent mileage, start to feel the extra training do its job, just in time to cut miles for the taper, race and recovery period.

That last bit might be the most annoying part of it. Racing gets in the way of running.

Which brings us to… my blog's title and theme song for 2012, courtesy of The Talking Heads:

Road to Nowhere

Well we know where we're goin'
But we don't know where we've been
And we know what we're knowin'
But we can't say what we've seen
And we're not little children
And we know what we want
And the future is certain
Give us time to work it out

We're on a ride to nowhere
Come on inside
Takin' that ride to nowhere
We'll take that ride

I'm feelin' okay this mornin'
And you know,
We're on the road to paradise
Here we go, here we go

[CHORUS]

Maybe you wonder where you are
I don't care
Here is where time is on our side
Take you there...take you there

We're on a road to nowhere
We're on a road to nowhere
We're on a road to nowhere

There's a city in my mind
Come along and take that ride
and it's all right, baby, it's all right

And it's very far away
But it's growing day by day
And it's all right, baby, it's all right

Would you like to come along
And to help me sing this song
And it's all right, baby, it's all right

They can tell you what to do
But they'll make a fool of you
And it's all right, baby, it's all right
We're on a road to nowhere



That's right: I'm going nowhere.

2012 will be the year without a goal race or massive training cycle. It's time for a break.

Now, that doesn't mean that I'm taking a break from running. The truth is quite the opposite. My plan (once I get out of this #$@! walking boot) is to steadily build up the weekly mileage and hold it there. Exactly how many miles, I'm not sure yet; it will depend on what my body and schedule will allow.

I'll get into more details as the blog progresses. But don't be surprised to see a return of low heart rate training, as well as trail runs, hills, llamas … and maybe even a spur-of-the-moment race. You know, just for kicks.

I have no idea how this is all going to turn out. But if it works the way I hope it does, it'll put me on track toward a much larger goal: To end up running a very long way in the middle of nowhere, and loving it.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Tom H on Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:24 am

Mark - I understand where you are coming from. It may be the right time to reboot (pun intended) and get back to a place where you can enjoy running once again. I look forward to the adventures, llamas, scary splashes in the dark and some great observations on the roads/trails you are running.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mike MacLellan on Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:45 am

Amen, Mark.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Bob on Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:09 pm

Love it, Mark. Happy New Year.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Sara Jane on Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:54 pm

<3
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Traveller on Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:12 pm

Good Luck, Mark!

Sometimes a reboot (I steal from the best) is just what is needed.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  JohnP on Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:29 pm

Good luck, Mark. You have the foundation for this eventual re-start as you did a long slow steady climb with the LHR training. i think that will be very beneficial to you.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  John Kilpatrick on Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:09 pm

I think it sounds great - take some pics while out - you always have interesting outings and come up with cool pictures. Enjoy 2012, runner!

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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mark B on Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:59 pm

@Tom H wrote:Mark - I understand where you are coming from. It may be the right time to reboot (pun intended) and get back to a place where you can enjoy running once again. I look forward to the adventures, llamas, scary splashes in the dark and some great observations on the roads/trails you are running.

"Reboot"? Ouch! Even from you, Tom, that was painful!

@Mike MacLellan wrote:Amen, Mark.

Thank you, Brother Mike! We'll both work our way through our Sisyphean angst soon enough. I promise.

@Bob wrote:Love it, Mark. Happy New Year.

Thanks, Bob. My Mayan horoscope (I'm a white spectral dog, if you're keeping track - find yours here! ) says I need to let go of the illusion of control in 2012, which sounds like a pretty good idea. What it specifically says: "This year asks you to let something go, forgive, release, let go of control so that you can be liberated from something. Simplicity. Stripping away. Liberation!" Me likey. Very Happy

@Sara Jane wrote:<3

Thanks, SJ!

@Traveller wrote:Good Luck, Mark!

Sometimes a reboot (I steal from the best) is just what is needed.

Ouch again! Did NOT see that one coming. And I think you're right, Clark.

@JohnP wrote:Good luck, Mark. You have the foundation for this eventual re-start as you did a long slow steady climb with the LHR training. i think that will be very beneficial to you.

Thanks, John. I'm thinking that it's time to get back to what worked so well a few years ago. Maybe the flaw wasn't the system, but how I was approaching it.

@John Kilpatrick wrote:I think it sounds great - take some pics while out - you always have interesting outings and come up with cool pictures. Enjoy 2012, runner!

You bet, John! And I'll be sure to have something with me to take photos while I'm at it.

For those youngsters who think MTV only has horrid reality TV shows, it once played music videos. (Honest!) Like this one, which I still find marvelously quirky. Very Happy





Last edited by Mark B on Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:00 pm; edited 4 times in total
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  charles.moman on Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:05 pm

You are a wise man.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mike MacLellan on Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:28 pm

I admit, I had to look up sisyphean. Great word.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Tue Jan 03, 2012 1:12 pm

Sounds like a fun adventure. Remember it isn't a failure if you find an "event" you want to add to this "adventure" either.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mark B on Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:58 pm

@charles.moman wrote:You are a wise man.

Thanks, Charles. But if I were truly wise, I probably would have tried this a long time ago!

@Mike MacLellan wrote:I admit, I had to look up sisyphean. Great word.

It seemed apt.

@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:Sounds like a fun adventure. Remember it isn't a failure if you find an "event" you want to add to this "adventure" either.

Good point, Michele. I will allow myself to be opportunistic, if the opportunity arises and it feels right.

Actually, that's why I listed "not racing" as my official New Year's resolution for 2012. Everybody breaks their resolutions, don't they? Wink
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mark B on Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:06 pm

It's going to be a little difficult feeding this blog for a while, what with my left foot all trussed up waiting for whatever is wrong with it to finally heal up. I have a note into my doctor to find out if anything turned up in the X-ray they did last week. I doubt anything will show up, but I hate not knowing.

I could go on about my Oregon Ducks winning the Rose Bowl yesterday (finally!!!), but I'll spare you the quacking. Very Happy

Instead, here's a photo I took this morning as we were walking Alec to the bus stop. It was moist and mild, with a pinkish sunrise.



Hope everybody has a good week.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mark B on Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:10 am

Good news, bad news...

Good news: The X-rays showed no sign of any fracture.

Bad news: My foot still hurts, actually a bit more with the boot on.

Good news: My doctor has conceded to refer me to a podiatrist for a closer look.

Bad news: Until I see that podiatrist, my doctor says, I should use crutches.




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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Traveller on Wed Jan 04, 2012 1:37 am

@Mark B wrote:Good news, bad news...

Good news: The X-rays showed no sign of any fracture.

Bad news: My foot still hurts, actually a bit more with the boot on.

Good news: My doctor has conceded to refer me to a podiatrist for a closer look.

Bad news: Until I see that podiatrist, my doctor says, I should use crutches.



Ain't that the way it always goes with doctors. I hope you get a good answer and get back out there in the minimum appropriate time.

BTW, I blame you for the ear worm I've had all day. Of course, Road to Nowhere isn't bad as ear worms go. Smile
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:51 am

@Traveller wrote:
@Mark B wrote:Good news, bad news...

Good news: The X-rays showed no sign of any fracture.

Bad news: My foot still hurts, actually a bit more with the boot on.

Good news: My doctor has conceded to refer me to a podiatrist for a closer look.

Bad news: Until I see that podiatrist, my doctor says, I should use crutches.



Ain't that the way it always goes with doctors. I hope you get a good answer and get back out there in the minimum appropriate time.

BTW, I blame you for the ear worm I've had all day. Of course, Road to Nowhere isn't bad as ear worms go. Smile

I have the same ear worm - thanks, Mark!
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Glenn on Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:31 pm

Alright, a shiny new New Years blog. I totally get it! I occasionally have to remind myself (especially after a bad race) that the goal is to be running well into old-age.... Not hitting PRs every race. If the marathon is a carrot to make that happen, cool. If it takes something else - also cool.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Kenny B. on Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:35 pm

Mark,

Just re-entering the boards a bit and sorry to hear about your foot pain. Is the solution on the horizon? I hope so.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Joel H on Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:51 pm

I like your new blog...I feel somewhat the same way right now with regards to running. I still owe you a blog but it won't show up until after my race in less than 2 weeks. Wink
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mark B on Thu Jan 05, 2012 12:52 pm

@Traveller wrote:

Ain't that the way it always goes with doctors. I hope you get a good answer and get back out there in the minimum appropriate time.

BTW, I blame you for the ear worm I've had all day. Of course, Road to Nowhere isn't bad as ear worms go. Smile

Thanks, Clark! It could be worse, you know. I just looked up the "Hit for the week you were born" bit on FB, and now I can't get "Sugar Shack" out of my head. Aiee!!

@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:

I have the same ear worm - thanks, Mark!

Like I said, it could be worse! ("There's this crazy little shack....")



@Glenn wrote:Alright, a shiny new New Years blog. I totally get it! I occasionally have to remind myself (especially after a bad race) that the goal is to be running well into old-age.... Not hitting PRs every race. If the marathon is a carrot to make that happen, cool. If it takes something else - also cool.

That's exactly it, Glenn. My desire to keep running just to run far outstrips any ego-driven goals. I'm not saying I'll never race again, mind you. Just not anytime soon.

@Kenny B. wrote:Mark,

Just re-entering the boards a bit and sorry to hear about your foot pain. Is the solution on the horizon? I hope so.

Boy, I hope so, Kenny. I see a podiatrist on Friday. Hopefully he will be a good one.

@Joel H wrote:I like your new blog...I feel somewhat the same way right now with regards to running. I still owe you a blog but it won't show up until after my race in less than 2 weeks. Wink

That's all right, Joel. I can wait. Good luck in your race!
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Kenny B. on Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:13 pm

Good luck with the podiatrist on Friday. I am sure you will update us.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Mark B on Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:12 pm

@Kenny B. wrote:Good luck with the podiatrist on Friday. I am sure you will update us.

But of course, Kenny! It IS a blog, after all. Very Happy

So here's the update:

I went to the podiatrist this morning wearing a boot and trying to navigate on crutches.

I got back home walking in my Free Runs.

Woot!

It's not quite as simple as that, of course, but I got what I'm taking as mostly good news.

The podiatrist (unlike my doctor) worked every joint and tendon in my foot, testing what caused pain and what didn't. Nothing lifted me off the table, but there was one spot that definitely hurt. Diagnosis: Probable tendonitis of the peroneal brevis tendon.



He said if it wasn't helping to be on crutches, it'd be fine to go without. He said I might try it without the boot, as well, but go back to the boot if things aren't getting better. He suggested the normal, icing and NSAIDs, and he put in a referral for PT, which I will probably do. Might as well be aggressive treating this. Just waiting for it to go away hasn't been as effective as it usually is.

He also took a closer look at the X-ray of my foot (those with delicate constitutions might want to avert their eyes...)



Scary, huh? I show it not to shock (though that is fun), but rather to brag. The podiatrist said (after manipulating the joints of my foot) that, if my body hadn't done a superb job compensating for its deformity, I would have been walking on the outer edge of my feet all my life. While it looks bad here (and it is... the angle between the metatarsals and talus bones in the mid foot are supposed to be pretty much 0 to 30 degrees, the angle for mine is something like 50 degrees), when my foot is weighted, my mid and rear foot compensate - effectively forcing my foot to flatten and pronate - and allow the foot to work properly. Weird, but convenient if you want to walk.

Now, he did mention that it's not just me. Human feet are marvels of adaptation. Mine is just a fairly blatant example.

However... it wasn't all great news. Looking at the X-ray, he couldn't find much evidence of cartilage between some of my metatarsals (3rd, 4th, 5th) and mid foot bones. He saw some evidence, in other words, of early (?) arthritis. He said that has clearly been developing for years, but it's possible that my sprain might have caused inflammation that made it more evident (my foot has hurt in that area). He said it if still hurts, he could try a cortisone shot, though it wouldn't really do anything but alleviate discomfort. I said no thanks.

So, short-term, I have more time to go before hitting the roads. Long-term? I guess we'll just have to see what happens.




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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  Traveller on Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:53 pm

Glad to hear you have news, and that a lot of it is positive.
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Re: Road to Nowhere

Post  MioMabusy on Fri Jan 06, 2012 10:37 pm

You're a cool man dude Smile

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