In addition to having the coolest name of any running journalist out there, Amby Burfoot (pictured) also is one of the best. Whether he's writing about others or about his own training (he won the Boston Marathon back in the '60s and still competes to this day), Burfoot always provides keen insight into the mechanics and -- dare I say -- spirituality of running.
I was happy to hear that he gained entry into next month's 100th running of the famed Dipsea race, from Mill Valley over Mount Tamalpais to Stinson Beach. I'll be there, and it'd be cool to run with him.
But then I read his most recent Runner's World blog post. He's got a knee injury and might not be able to run on June 13. I can relate to Amby's plight. Last spring, when I learned I had gained entry to the Dipsea, I trained like a hill demon and messed up my lower back. Though I was walking with a severe limp, I ran the Dipsea anyway, just fast enough to earn automatic qualifying for this year.
But I paid for my stupidity; I didn't run again for nine weeks, didn't have a moment without back pain for eight of those weeks. When I could finally run again, I vowed to be smarter. I'm not sure I am. But Amby's blog post reminds me not to overtrain. It's something we all can take to heart.
Things change dramatically when you can't run. Stuff comes into sharper focus. And you quickly realize that being able to run healthy is way more important than the stopwatch or the finish-place card.