I’ve failed a lot.

Can this be any different?

Last night, my sprained knee and the pains from adjusting my stride screamed for me to stop. They throbbed and nipped at the cell phone in my pocket like two belligerent, drunks pleading for their one phone call. Buy in this case, the call would have been to my wife, “Honey, can you come bail me off side of the road?”

Two hours earlier, we had pressed our running boundaries, jogging out the door into the night, heading off to the city, a 4.5 mile trek with a large hill, just short of being a ridge, standing in our way. I’ve been nursing some bruises on the bottom of my heel for two weeks and have only ran a total of six miles in 14 days. But I felt good tonight and wanted to challenge myself again.

The first half of our journey had no pains, no side-stitches, and only one dog threatening to eat us.

We stopped in town, relished the first half of our victory, and drank coconut water on a park bench before heading back.

One mile into the return trip, my twelve-year-old son slides into darkness, halfway up our town’s infamous Patterson Hill. Unfortunately, he had also tried out for the all-stars basketball team only hours before, but insisted on plodding along with me.
At mile 7, he bowed his shoulders under the handles of his trekking poles and said, “Dad, if this was a race, you’d win tonight.” Considering he has placed in his age group for 5k (3.1 mile) distance races, it was a serious complement for my brittle ego; but my elation wouldn’t last.

It’s funny how confidence works, one moment you’re on top of the world, or in this case a large hill, running without the slightest pain, and one mile later, a minor knee injury from two nights before awakens and ravishes your confidence.

3 minutes later, I too, clung to my trekking poles, skipping like a kangaroo caught in a bear trap. A long, grueling mile and a half home carried lots of grunting, limping, and Joe Pesci “under-the-breath cursing”.

So, with seven months of grueling workouts ahead of me, I ask myself the question once more.

Can this race be any different?

We’ll see.

– Nate

Hey, by the way!
Check out my new Facebook group for ultra-runners who weigh over 200lbs, otherwise known as Clydesdales! Find fellow husky runner’s weight-specific gear recommendations, injury mitigation strategies, fueling options, and more!