Last time I described how dramatic a marathon can be. I have gone the distance three times in prior marathons and each time suffered a setback that made completing the race a super challenge. At times I feel like the Coyote chasing the Roadrunner or Elmer Fudd chasing that pesky wabbit.
This time it has turned out to be another super challenge. On the last day of July I fell down during my training run. It didn't seem like a big deal. What's a skinned knee?
Surprise! I ended up in the hospital for nearly two weeks needing surgery and intravenous antibiotics. After the hospital I needed more than two more weeks for recuperation.
By the middle of September, I had been in bed and hardly even walking for much of six weeks. My wounded knee was sketchy, my left ankle was tender and my muscles rubbery. Here I was with only twelve weeks left until Pearl Harbor Day and the Marathon. It wasn’t looking good.
I was still determined to cross that finish-line in Honolulu. At this point, completing my Marathon had become one of life’s quests. The word had spread that I was doing it and I had raised about $3000 for AIDS Project LA. Failure was not an option! I simply could not let down the folks that had already donated to the AIDS Project, and I had a goal to raise $10,000.
When I did my first post-recovery run it was three miles and I nearly vomited from the effort. That was quite a come-down from the ten miles I had achieved on the day I had fallen.
My podiatrist had advised me to follow the “ten percent” rule and not to increase my running distance more than ten percent from one time to the next. Yet I had increased my distance from zero miles to nine in a period of ten days. Even though things were looking better at that point, I still had a long way to go from nine miles to 26.2 miles.
Using the “rule of 72,” I know that a ten percent return on your money will double your money in ten years. One difficulty with the “rule of 72” is that I didn’t have ten years to double my distance. Another problem is that doubling nine miles to eighteen miles is still far too short of 26.2 miles.
But I did have about ten weeks. So, if I increased my distance by ten percent each week I wouldn’t need ten years. I would double my distance in ten weeks! And, if I change the “ten percent” rule to the “ten-to-fifteen percent” rule I would surely make it to the finish-line in Honolulu on Marathon Day.
On November 19, I followed my “ten to fifteen percent” rule and increased my distance to 21.5 miles. That was my last opportunity for a long-distance run because that left only three weeks to Marathon Day and there wouldn’t be enough time to recuperate from another long run. 21.5 miles isn't 26.2 but it's close enough. So I know I'll make the finish line.
What quests or challenges have repeatedly stumped you? Maybe passing a professional examination or a tough course in school; or continuing to search for employment; or winning over a difficult member of your family.
In the next blog I will describe the reasons for donating to the AIDS Project. As my friend Miguel said: when I run the Marathon there will be a sound with each step I take. And that sound will say: “I care. I care.”