Saturday, December 3, 2016

Running for fun and a good cause

I can remember clearly the warm early fall day in 2002 when I felt like I was flying along Woodbridge Street towards my house, having just about finished the 10-mile run that my friend Bill Zajac, an experienced marathoner, said would be a good basis for my upcoming half marathon. 

I felt good, as I did when running the Hartford Half in October, so good that I thought I could have continued onto the second loop with the "real" marathoners. It was a funny day in many ways. First, funny in an unexpected way when I beat my friend Mike, who always beat me in tennis. Funny because it was pouring, and Mike and I got drenched when dashing between trees for cover, not knowing what the more experienced participants knew, that in weather like that you cut a hole in a garbage bag and wore it like a cape that you shed when the race began.

Feeling a little under the weather, so to speak, I had talked to my mother the night before. She had urged me not to go. I got up in the dark and went on the adventure anyway. Very possibly, leukemia was brewing, because just about five months later I ran the sluggish Saint Patrick’s race that led to my AML diagnosis. 

I bring this up because, due to pain in my toes, my training for tomorrow's Hot Chocolate Run has mostly involved doing other activities, with a little jogging thrown in.

I'm doing the 5K Fun Run (as opposed to the more competitive road race) with some tennis friends. Carol Constant, the captain of our summer team, the (Holyoke) Paper Dolls, organized our little running team to show our support for another of our tennis friends, Marianne Winters, executive director of Safe Passage, for which the race is a fundraiser.

As I wrote in my piece for, pain in my right big toe has curtailed my running. When the other big toe started hurting also, I followed the advice of a runner friend who said to go to a chiropractor. At first I thought, “Chiropractic for your toes?” But I made the appointment with a chiropractor another friend had recommended. He was luckily able to fit me in last week.

That chiropractor, Keith McCormick, was the right person to see. He is a triathlete who knows a lot about running from personal experience. My friend said he’s great at figuring things out. He figured out that the problem in my toes is coming from my calves. When I saw him last week he said he could get me to the point where I could do tomorrow’s run.

He worked on my calves (and my feet) three times this week. The pain was excruciating. I squealed. Yesterday I ran … well, scratch that, I slowly jogged…2 ¾ miles.  My toes felt OK at the end: a good sign. So that is my training run for tomorrow’s 5K.

I would have done it more consistently if I had been to the chiropractor before. But I figure with all of the walking, tennis and spinning I should be able to do three miles. It's a long way from the days of 10Ks and more, but it's better than not doing it all.

Plus we’ll get to have hot chocolate.

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