New year, same old woes?
Jeez, can I start 2005 by quoting one of this century’s deepest, most-profound pop philosophers?
In the immortal words of Britney Spears, “oops, I did it again!”
I’ve landed in sick bay, the walking wounded.
Been poked, prodded, acupunctured, x-rayed, even ultra-sounded,
for the first time in my life. Had to wait a while for that test.
Got my referral, made my call and was told there was a spot for
me, four weeks down the road.
“That won’t do,” my AT said. AT – that’s short for athletic therapist.
We’re so familiar these days, we’ve moved beyond a first name basis.
“Try this place. Tell 'em I sent you, be polite and don’t make eye
So I made the required burnt offerings, memorized the secret knock
and got in two days later. Shortcuts through the healthcare system.
Tests came back and confirmed my suspicions. Yup, I’m hurt and been
feeling that way since the end of October, a couple of weeks after
putting in my dandiest marathon performance yet.
Thing is, this time it’s not a running injury. It’s in my shoulder
– got a bum right wing, so to speak.
Still haven’t got a clue what caused it. Didn’t fall on it. At least
not that I remember. Could’ve slept on it wrong. Maybe turned funny
in the shower while pretending I had hair to wash. Or maybe wrenched
the damn thing twisting off all those beer caps in my post-Columbus
Or maybe it’s just normal wear and tear, the stuff that plagues
most of us a couple of months shy of crossing that 50 threshold.
Hoped to get some reassuring answers from a guy who can interpret
the entrails that are these ultrasound reports. A guy you’d know
not to call by his first name. Doc something-or-other. Was counting
on a kindly, pipe-puffing, all-knowing, fatherly figure in a white
lab coat kinda guy to sit me down, look me in the eyes and say:
“You see, it’s like this, Timmy. Lassie’s gone off to a far better
place, where she can run through the fields all day long – and it’s
always summer and the children are playing down by the river, which
flows with chocolate …”
Instead, I got:
“You’ve got some arthritis in your shoulder. It’ll bug you every
once in a while. For the rest of your life. It’s the price you pay
for getting older.”
Damn. Slap my other cheek, too, while you’re at it. It’s bad enough
that the big five-oh is bearing down on my corner of the plate like
a Pedro Martinez high-hard one.
“Does it affect your running?”
Well, no not much, really. Actually, doc, my feet appear to have
sprouted tiny wings. I’ve been running better than ever and – so
far – staying healthy in my southern extremities. Been putting in
some of my best training times. Picking up the tempo on the quick
ones and hanging in for the longer ones.
There has been one, tiny problem, though. It’s got to do with runner
etiquette. When you pass a runner on the opposite side of the street,
it’s common courtesy to offer them a wave, to acknowledge someone
else who’s foolish enough to believe that running in the dead of
winter is a better choice than a warm bed and a second or third
cup of coffee.
But 22 kilometres into the first 30K run since the middle of October,
I couldn’t raise my arm much above my waist. A little flick of the
wrist had to do. Added a nod to compensate, as I tried to suppress
a grimace and a noise I last heard sometime ago coming out of my
Yup, there are more of those these days.
Still, there is a bright side, right? Something about never being
fitter or healthier – and still shy of my peak as a marathon runner.
Swifter – yes. Stronger – yes. Higher – well, we’re working on moderating
I’m in no hurry to cross over to the other side of that 50 line.
I’m approaching it like I do any race I’ve ever entered: a little
leery of what fresh hell I’m getting myself into – and hoping I
don’t have to pee too often.
Peter Hadzipetros writes background and indepth features
for CBC News Online. Until he got into long distance running a few years ago,
he was a net importer of calories. He's run several marathons, including two Bostons.
In Oct. 2004, he recorded a PB of 3:09.21 in Columbus.