Well, having finished the book (Second Wind: click here for Amazon link) and having touched down on every continent of the world, I’ve been pondering my next goals. What/where will I run? What will I write? I’ve decided to keep up my blog for starters and to set the next goal of running a marathon in every U.S. State by the time I turn 50 (that’s seven years from now, just FYI). 50 in 50 by 50!

You might think it’s old news to me to run a marathon at this point, but that’s simply not the case. Every race means a regiment of training. Every race is a huge time commitment (because of my well-documented sluggish pace). And every race is an adventure in self-knowledge and world exploration – even when the course is just down the freeway from my house.

Right now, Bill and I are getting ready for a trip to head up to Alaska for the Anchorage’s Humpy’s Classic Marathon. Get this: We had so many frequent flyer miles left after last year that we’re both flying to Alaska for a total of $10! And as usual, we’re making use of local hostels for our lodgings. I’ve never been to Alaska, so I’m very excited (and open to suggestions of what we should do while in Anchorage).

My training for this race has been harder than usual. I’ve had some heel pain. Bill says I’ve got something called Plantar Fascitis, common among runners apparently. I’ve been lucky as a runner so far, suffering nothing but one nasty cramp in my left hamstring in all the years I’ve been running. But this Fascitis thing is disheartening. I ignored it during my 19-mile last week and really activated it. This week I’ve rested and iced my foot, and yesterday my little 4.5 mile run felt good. Very little pain! It was only after going salsa dancing last night that I had a twinge in the upper part of my heel. So, I’m back to icing and resting today.

This all goes to show that one of my key running principles (which I violated last week) holds true: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. You’ve got to strike a balance between pushing yourself and listening to the clues your body gives that you need to rest, stretch, eat, sleep, switch to swimming for a couple of weeks or, sometimes, grind it out. Nothing substitutes for knowing your own limits and the meaning of different kind of pain. If I get the go-ahead from my foot, I’ll be back on the trails tomorrow. If not, look for me on my bicycle. I’m not very good on two wheels, so I’ll be the one wobbling along wearing running shoes.

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