Tuesday, December 30, 2014


During my convalescing period, I was walking around totally pain-free.  I was cautioned by my brother Mark not to be lulled into a false sense of security, as rest was the only way my partially-torn hamstring was going to heal.  Having this in mind, I did conjure up some target events to monitor my progress. The first of these was The Tamarac Turkey Trot, which was just about four weeks since the tear.  As a loyal reader of my blog, you know that this is the race that started it all for me.  Lindsey and Rachel had both entered the run; if nothing else, I could just run at a slower pace with them.  If all went well, I could start training for the Weston Run For Tomorrow Half Marathon on December 14th.  If I weren’t ready, there was always the 12 Miles of Christmas training run on December 24th.  Forecasting past that, my next race would not be until January 18th in Clearwater.

The Tamarac Turkey Trot is one of the more popular 5K races, with over 2,000 participants.  As we made our way to the starting line, with my hamstring tightly taped, I felt cautiously optimistic.  Once the race started, my optimism quickly betrayed me, as my hamstring stated to hurt within the first quarter-mile of the race.  I was able the run the full 3.1 miles, but it hurt the entire time.  This was obviously unexpected, and visions of withdrawing from my next race were dancing in my head.

On December 12th, just two days before Weston, I went out to test the hamstring for the first time since Turkey Trot.  In my delusional mind, if the hamstring held up, I would try to do nine miles on Saturday, and then attempt Weston on Sunday.  However, since Turkey Trot was such a struggle, I was not expecting any holiday miracles.  To my surprise and delight, I ran a totally pain-free five-mile run, and my master plan was now in full swing.  I didn’t understand how I was able to get that much better in just two short weeks, but I must have been a good boy this year.
As I sat in front of my computer, an email caught my attention.  It was for the Mount Dora Half Marathon, which I had run the previous two years.  Since none of my friends had entered this year, I declined as well.  Coincidently, the family and I would be meeting our friends Cyndy and Al in Mount Dora for a mini-vacation.  Even more coincidently, the Mount Dora Half Marathon would be taking place the same time we would be there!  You could smell the smoke burning a mile away.  I would skip the Weston Half Marathon, and spend the week training for Mount Dora.  I only had one week to get myself conditioned, but at the same time, I didn’t want to reinjure my hamstring by overdoing it.  My week of training consisted runs of five, six and nine miles.  From a conditioning standpoint, I was a little winded during my six mile run.  More importantly, I felt pain-free after my nine-mile run on Thursday morning.  After this, I officially declared myself ready for Mount Dora.

We drove to Orlando that night, and spent a couple of days in Disney.  To celebrate our mini-vacation, the ladies and I created a mini-documentary of our trip.

We left for Mount Dora on Saturday morning, which is less than one-hour from Orlando.  We were staying at the Lakeside Inn, which was where the race would start and end.  We walked over to the race expo (for lack of a better term), and picked up my bib and shirt.  The shirt and the medal for this race has always been exceptional; this year did not disappoint.  We met up with Cyndy and Al for lunch, and spent the day walking around.  Mount Dora at night is beautiful, and the festival of lights made for some creative photo opportunities.


 I rolled out of bed around 5:30am, and made my way to the starting line with plenty of time to spare.  There were 701 runners entered in the half marathon, with another 403 runners doing the 5K a little later.  There were a few of the Ocala Turtles running the race, but I did not spot any of them.  This is a beautiful course, but a little hilly at some points.  The temperature was around 64 degrees when the race started, and climbed to around 72 degrees when it was all said and done.  I had a very easy and enjoyable time, capped off by my family and friends cheering me on at the finish line.  I ran totally pain-free, and was happy that I could officially put my injury behind me.

Lindsey volunteered to drive home after the race, and I was pretty sore the next day.  I had forgotten what it was like to always be in constant pain.

Oh, the life of an athlete.