I Suck at Racing (or, Why I’m Not Racing The 2011 Boston Marathon)

Pop quiz. What does yours truly have in common with Tom Brady and David Becham?

Well, let’s start with the obvious – we all have a passion for and a lifelong dedication to sports, good looks and we are all *cough* rich, famous, etc. What else? Let’s see…we are easily recognizable by our strong fashion sense and *cough* we are all known globally as incredible (read – modest, camera shy) world class athletes. And of course there’s the most obvious similarity – wait for it – yes, we all have hot, supermodel wives who have appeared in the pages (and on the covers) of some of the world’s finest magazines.

OK, with due respect to our hot wives, let’s get back to reality. Here you’ll find the common bond we all share. Yes, it is related to our passion and dedication to playing the sports we love. Other athletes share it, too, although it’s not something we all like to talk about too much. No, it’s not Super Bowl rings or World Cup victories; it’s actually something that keeps us athletic types from getting sweaty. It hurts, too.

Tendon issues. Yes, when an athlete tends to overuse a certain muscle (or group of muscles) he develops tendon issues. It can come on suddenly, too. In Tom Brady’s case, it was an acute knee injury that tore tendons he didn’t even know he had in his knee. Becham overused his achilles and paid the price. And yours truly, well, a recent shoulder impingement resulting from a few lil’ tendons getting a bit pissed off at me as I got back in to training late this winter has sidelined me for a couple of months. Hopefully my injury isn’t as severe as Brady or Beckham’s but that’s not the issue.

How do these three distinctly unrelated and different injuries tie together? They all kept us from doing something we love. Brady missed an entire season, Becks missed a World Cup and I missed the 115th Boston Marathon. Yes, even when you’ve done 18 of them, it still hurts to miss the race you love. Bad timing to be sure.

But there is a bright spot in all this. What’s the prognosis? My shoulder will heal as I rest the tendons and strengthen the opposing muscles to promote better health and increase joint stabilization. Good (read painful, deep tissue) massage is helping, too. So before too much more time passes, we are hoping I’ll be back at it. I’m looking at early/mid May. Fingers crossed. And when that happens, I look forward to training and racing hard, smart and healthy.

As for the 115th Boston Marathon, it’s always tough to watch a race from the sidelines but the wise athlete in me says it’s a better option than pushing too hard and risking a more serious injury.

That reminds me. In 1996, while I was living and working in Hawaii, I sustained a similar injury to my other shoulder. You see, one reason I gave my boss to send me there was that I’d be able to train right trough the winter (when I wasn’t working of course) so I got right down to training hard and fast. Anyway, rather than rest and heal my shoulder, I foolishly pushed too hard (i.e., the majority of my marathon training consisted of pushing my racing chair up Hawaii’s lil’ “hills” – extinct volcanoes) and when my shoulder requested some down time, I didn’t listen.

What happened? I injured the tendons in my shoulder racing the very same Boston Marathon. Yes, I finished the race, but when I flew back to my Pacific paradise and got over the jet lag, I spent the next three months in PT instead of playing on the beaches and exploring Kauai and Maui. Lesson learned. Listen to your body.

And speaking of bodies…back to those supermodel wives…wait, sorry, that’s another blog entry.

Train smart and be healthy.