Tuesday, September 12, 2006

On Sundays I play soccer

Soccer was the only team sport I really enjoyed (or, quite frankly, was any good at) as a kid. I played it all through my youth until the end of high school when I stopped all exercise and then became very fat by my second year of college. I played again at the end of college after loosing 50 lbs. And then again for a short while after I first entered the workforce. However, I hadn't played for about a decade before joining a men's 35 and over team a couple years ago. We're basically a bunch of whiny middle-aged men who meet on Sunday mornings to run around on a field kicking at a ball, yelling at each other, cursing about the refs and almost getting into fights with other whiny middle-aged men wearing different colored shirts. Truth be told, I love it. I guess it takes care of my latent aggressive/competitive streak that I leave behind while running.

Some people think I'm crazy to continue playing while training for ultras. I stopped for a month before my first one, but have continued through the rest of the summer and only skipped the two Sundays of my 50K races. I am still trying to decide when to shut it down before my 50M attempt. It's not exactly ultra-specific training, but it is my only form of speedwork and it does help maintain my leg strength which I think is my main asset for running. Also, doing a middle distance run after a 90-minute game is definitely practice for running on tired legs. There is of course the risk of injury, but being a defender, I tend to give more than I receive. However, this past weekend while tangling with the other teams striker for the ball I took a hard knee to the thigh causing a pretty decent "charlie horse" to set in. I was still able to run so I finished out the match.

After the game, I had planned a 10+ mile run. I decided to go forward with it despite the pain in my right leg. I was hoping that the knots might subside or loosen up as I ran. I'm not sure why I believed this; maybe excess residual testosterone clouded my thinking. It was mostly manageable, but downhills were particularly difficult. I was able to complete the run. However, I am now taking an extra rest day and reviewing the wisdom of my decision. It's starting to loosen up so I will try to run tonight. Lessons learned? No, I'll probably still play next weekend. It's far too much fun. Besides, I now know that should someone decide to give me a swift kick to the leg at mile 40 of the Dick Collins race, I should be able to forge on for the remaining 10 miles. How many others can say that with confidence? >-)


miki said...

I think cross training can only make you stronger.

There are tons of you old farts doing the soccer thing. ;D I have a friend who also plays every week. Has been for years. Unfortunately, I never got into the sport so have zero leg/ball coordination.

Eudemus said...

Miki, you know the old saying "that which doesn't kill you..." Of course, right now the leg doesn't exactly feel stronger, still hurts. I can still run on it though so I think it is more of a deep bruise at this point.

miki said...

Hope you're icing that.

Eudemus said...

I've always got some part of my legs/feet that I'm icing almost every night. Last night was my thigh, the area above my left arch and a full regiment of the frozen water bottle under both feet for a recurring case of plantar fasciitis. I very much look forward to taper-time when I will force myself to make sure all my little tweeks and pains heal fully instead of just enough to get me to the next run :-).