Sunday, March 23, 2014

Being the Best

I've never been the best at anything, even the things I worked hard at. Oh, I'm mediocre in lots of areas, and even above average in a few (for my weight, I'm a decent beer drinker), but nowhere am I brilliant. However, I'm beginning to change that.

Slowly, it has begun to dawn on me that I may have discovered my hidden talent. Since I started my second athletic life several years ago with this whole running thing, I've had grand aspirations to be slightly better than average. To finish in the top half of the field. To perhaps even squeak out an age group award. Alas, lack of talent has prevented my attainment of that lofty goal. Well, lack of talent, lack of training, lack of will power, and lack of restraint in beer drinking have factored in heavily as well.

But now, I think I've found the true measure of my greatness - illness and injury. No one, and I mean NO ONE can injure themselves as easily as me. Over the past few years, I think I have tweaked every single joint, ligament, tendon and bone from the tips of my big toes to the base of my skull, all simply by running. On the illness front, I've spread more contagion in race starting corrals than Typhoid Mary could ever dream of at her pathogenic best. I've been sick before, during or after every single race I've run for the past 3 years. I'm thinking of changing my trail name to Symptomatic Scott.

Think you have the stuff to challenge me? Think you can depose my monarchy of malady? Well, let me leave you with a taste of what you are up against.

If you've been reading this sad blog, you'll know that I gave myself a raging case of plantar fasciitis at the Medoc Trail Marathon way back in October. In and of itself, that's not so grand of an injury. However, since that time I've been struggling to recover. I've been cross training. I've been visiting a very bemused physical therapist. And I've been lamely attempting to run again, on a foot that seems to be permanently busted. Four months after my injury, still struggling to heal, I missed my favorite local trail race this year because of that latest injury. Sitting out the Umstead Marathon was it's own exquisite torture - a masochistic volunteering pleasure.

Oh, I had big plans for even my volunteer activities at Umstead. I couldn't run, so I volunteered for bike duty, and was lucky enough to get one of the lead bike assignments. I would pace the leaders through the race and into the finish. How exciting is that?! So, weeks before the marathon I began biking. I hauled my bike into work, and spent my lunch hours pounding away the miles in Umstead, beating my quads into shape. Of course, I injured myself. I gave myself a wicked case of patellar tendonitis, and had to drop out of the biking volunteer duties.

That's right. I injured myself trying to train for volunteer duties at a race that I was already too injured to run. Think you can top that? I think not. I am the best!


18 comments:

  1. You rock, Scott. But I really wish you'd heal up already! Will you be volunteering at the Umstead 100?

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    1. I'll be volunteering at U100 as usual Steph. Hope to see you out there!

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  2. You are awesome. You have my vote for Godiva volunteer of the year.

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    1. You are too kind Harold. Just kick me in the head every week at CC Pacers when I start talking about running a 50 miler this Fall.

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  3. You were great at making me smile while starting to feel the pain of running Umstead! Sorry to hear these injuries are trying to get the best of you, however you seem to be pushing on and not letting them get you down...that in itself is a great thing!

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    1. Thanks Lorraine! I try not to let this sort of stuff get me down. Laughing at myself helps.

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  4. You got me beat. Injuring yourself trying to volunteer is top notch. I can empathize though, as I can't count how many races I have sat out the past few years. Hang in there, you've come back from worse!

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    1. I finally beat you at something, Anthony! Of course, I don't really want you as a competitor in this sort of contest any more than I want to compete in it myself. I'm not too bummed about it overall, but then again, black humor is my thing.

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  5. Scott, let me guess -- 175mm cranks on the mountain bike == knee pain? Yep, been there.

    If it makes you feel any better, you looked very happy in the pictures volunteering at umstead ;-)

    And I feel for you -- I was out five full months after the medoc spring, haven't run a race for a year, and still have constant pain with no resolution in sight. The PF however is something you WILL beat.

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    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Garth. I'm not sure what cause the patellar tendinitis, but I probably can't blame it solely on equipment.

      Sorry to hear about you injury woes. I was wondering why I didn't see you at Medoc in the Fall or recently at Umstead. Please tell me it wasn't PF...

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    2. Scott, it's not PF. It's a 2nd MPJ capsulitis/pre-dislocation syndrome thing and I have it in both feet. It's a super bummer, and I've had to basically throw out all my favorite shoes and try different things, not that anything has really helped. I might sign up for Philosophers Way and see how it goes. Hang in there!

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    3. Yikes! Plantar plate injuries can be very nasty, Garth. I hope you can get it resolved eventually. Best of luck on your journey to healing!

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  6. If we are exchanging stories ... My first injury as a relatively new runner at age 56 was my best. I tripped over a loose shoelace, fell flat and woke up in hospital three hours later with bruises, scrapes and a concussion. Fortunately not serious. Three lessons taken from this experience: carry ID (I didn't), run with friends (I did), and do up your shoelaces tightly! Double knot!

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    1. Concussion?! That's a quality injury story. Good point about the ID. I've been meaning to get a road ID bracelet of some sort since I run on rocky, rooty, single track quite often.

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  7. Mike @ blisterscrampsheaves.com shared this with me as I sit afflicted with some mystery trauma, so thank you for the chuckle. You do seem to have a knack for ridiculous injuries, but perhaps you can feel better about yourself after I tell you that I busted my forehead open (we're talking blood gushing all over my bed) by dropping my mobile phone onto my own face, nearly concussed myself by dropping a metal shopping basket onto my own face, and once (consumed by anger) opened a freezer door directly into, you guessed it, my own face.

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    1. Wow, Rachel, you must really hate your own face! Considering my injury history, I must hate everything from the neck down on my own body. Together we may make a single decently healthy runner. Best of luck with your mystery ankle-itis.

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  8. Hey Scott, found you through Peter over at Runblogger. On the one hand, as a fellow runner I have all kinds of sympathy for your plight… on the other hand, you're so entertainingly matter-of-fact about it that I can't feel too guilty in laughing along. That, plus the fact that my own heel is swathed in white athletic tape as I write this. But no way can I compete with either you or Rachel. Luckily.

    You've definitely found yourself a niche in the running world, and sounds like you have the perfect positive mindset for it. Still, here's hoping you've now exhausted your reservoir of fragile parts and that your body is finally starting to realize "Why bother with all the -oses and -itises, it's not like I can stop him from doing this to me again…"

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    1. Don't feel guilty about laughing, Mike. Laughter was definitely my intention in writing this piece. I try to laugh at myself quite often to keep matters in perspective. In fact, most of my posts are just me, laughing at myself. But thanks so much for the positive words! And thanks for stopping by my little blog.

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