The Achilles tendons on both legs were sore. They'd loosen up after a short while running, but they weren't where they needed to be, understanding the training for the Marine Corps Marathon was about to get seriously intense. I was running a 2:00 run / 1:00 walk cycle, and I'd take a picture during every 1:00 break. It was cool, not hot, and that's the whole reason I was waking up so early on a weekend morning. There weren't many cars on the road as I headed south on Mills Avenue then passed by Lake Highland Prep on my way to Orange Avenue. The skyline lit the sky as the empty street stretched south in front of me. Hitting downtown, the moss-covered trees lined the street with the buildings rising on both sides of the road. The sky was turning a dark purple as I hit the southernmost point of the run, ran around the lake just south of 408, then headed back north. The high point was Lake Eola as the sun was coloring the sky, and throwing light on the glass buildings. It was beautiful. I ran the next 3 or 4 miles with those walking breaks, and recovered for much of the rest of the weekend. Then both Achilles started really acting up. After resting, I'd do the "old man shuffle" while the legs warmed up. That's how every morning started that next week, and how walks would start after long sitting breaks. I knew I wasn't ready to keep things moving.
Then the e-mail came. It was an e-mail acknowledging "things happen." And things surely did happen. So I'll be deferring my Marine Corps Marathon entry for a year, and in its place I'll run the Race 13.1 in November through Baldwin Park, the neighborhood where I live. Looking at the route, I've run every inch of the route at some point over the past year. It's my "home course." I won't have to get up early to find a parking place and check in. I can just walk to check in and get ready. And I'll be focused on strength and mobility to make sure I line up uninjured.
So Boston 2017 isn't going to happen. Boston Qualifying in 2017 is a big stretch. But there'll be fun with running the Gasparilla Half Marathon in February, some 10Ks in the spring, and climbing Mt. Rainier in the summer, followed by running the Marine Corps Marathon in October. The thing I've learned over the past few years - the strength work needs to parallel the running. And if the mind doesn't remember to make strength and mobility a priority, the body will remind it.