I don’t know any runner who has never been injured. I’m sure there are a few, but I’ve never met one. Injuries are just a fact of the running life. Without them, we’d have nothing to ever talk about.
But whenever we do get sidelined with a minor ouchie, I can guarantee you some well-meaning soul will sympathize with this refrain: “Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise.”
Wrong thing to say, even if there is an element of truth. It’s like someone telling Charlie Strong his Longhorns last year were the best 5-7 team in the country. It might be true, but who wants to hear it?
In any competitive sport, injuries are part of the game. Fortunately, running injuries usually aren’t the serious kind like having your knee crushed by a tackle. Or having your shoulder shredded by throwing a curve ball. Even worse, while on a bike getting your body broadsided by a driver on the phone.
Our injuries are much less traumatic, but they are also self-inflicted. We run too much, too fast and take too few breaks or easy days. We are too ambitious, too motivated for our own good.
My educated guess is if we avoided racing and the type of training that prepares us to race well, we might largely avoid injuries. But, racing and training for those races is one of the things that makes running worth doing in the first place.
In our daily lives, we push ourselves to excel. That’s how we keep score. But we also push ourselves so hard in running because that’s who we are. We know no other way than running right on the edge of an injury. It’s always lurking.
One of the elements I love about running is the challenge to see how far/fast I can go without breaking down. It’s a slippery slope, kind of like that game Candy Land we played as kids. Make it to the top and then take the tumble down the hill.
But when you take that tumble down the hill with an injury that prevents you from running, the doubt crosses your mind whether you’ll ever run again. (You will.) You’ll do anything to get back into running. You vow to stretch diligently after every run, wear better shoes, take more rest, ad nausem.
At the very least, being injured gives you the clarity to realize what you did wrong, vow never to do it again to that excess and listen to your body’s feedback. But being injured also allows the insight to see how much running means to you.
If it brings that type of clarity, it might really be a blessing in disguise. Just don’t tell to an injured friend or training partner.
O Leo Manzano is healthy and deep into training, but The Lion was slowed earlier in the spring for a few weeks with a bout of pneumonia. When he made his first outdoor appearance a few weeks ago in an 800 at the Texas Relays, he ran a desultory 1:49.92. But with the Olympic Trials still a couple of months away (July 1-10), Manzano knows he still has time to attempt and make his third Olympic 1500-meter team. After splitting from John Hayes in February, Manzano is back with his old coach—Ryan Ponsonby. “My main goal is to run well in July and August,” says Manzano, now 31, who will run his first mile this season on May 20 at the Hoka One One Distance Classic in Los Angeles.
O Saturday is the USATF 25-K Championships in Grand Rapids, Michigan (it’s part of the River Bank Run) and several Texans are running. Kelsey Bruce of Dallas (second in the Austin 10/20 race) is competing as is occasional Austinite Jennifer Bergman. On the men’s side, three former Longhorns are listed: Will Nation, Austin Roth (who now lives in Houston) and Rory Tunningley. But, Tunningley, who recently left his job at RunLab in Lakeway to work in his family business in Lockhart, has pulled out and isn’t planning to race again until the fall.
O Also this weekend is the USATF One-Mile Road Championships in Minneapolis and Rogue’s Mary Goldkamp and Kristen Findley are entered.
O BMW has come on board in a major way to be title sponsor of the Dallas Marathon which will be now known as the BMW Dallas. It’s a multiyear deal that will also include the RunDallas Race Series, Oncor Mayor’s 5-K, the Pro Relay Championship and social runs in the Metroplex leading up to the 46th annual marathon (and half) on December 11.
O Former Austinite Patrick Evoe has always excelled on tough, hot triathlon courses. Last weekend in the brutal conditions of the Challenge Taiwan IM, Evoe finished third overall in 8:55:55. Evoe had the fastest bike split of the day—4:28—and the third fastest marathon run (3:26) to hold onto third.
O Another former Austinite who now lives in Colorado—Kelly Williamson—is returning to Texas this weekend for the always toasty, windy Memorial Hermann IM in The Woodlands. Kelly won it two years ago with a sensational 8:54 (and an incredible 2:54 marathon). Kelly is listed as one of the favorites as is Lauren Brandon of Ft. Worth who like Kelly is a former Big 10 swimmer. This year IM Texas will serve as the regional championships.
O The final race in the Rogue Trail Series—the Ranch 30-K—is next Sunday (May 22) on the tough Reveille Ranch course out in Burnet. There’s still time to enter. Just go to roguerunning.com for info and a link to the race site.
O The Big 12s begin Friday (May 13-15) at TCU. The No. 5-ranked Longhorn men have to be the favorites, but Texas Tech (No. 8), Kansas (No. 23) and TCU (No. 24) are also nationally ranked. The UT women are also ranked 5th nationally, ahead of K-State (No. 9), OU (15), Oklahoma State (18), Texas Tech (19) and Baylor (20).
O Heard Around the Lake will be on the road next week and probably not appear for a couple of weeks.
O What I’m listening to this morning: “Cowboy Man,” by Lyle Lovett.
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