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Empire strikes

Jedi vows return

February 08, 2004|by ANDY MASON

"Strike me down, and I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine."

Despite my best Obi-Wan Kenobi impersonation, the Darth Vader occupying my right Achilles tendon just doesn't seem to be buying that line from me, either.

The force seemingly has not been with me in 2004.

It's tough to master a lightsaber when you can't even run once around the block without wincing.

The most difficult part about trying to maintain some resemblance of competitive running shape isn't hitting the track for the grueling interval sessions or sacrificing the valuable chunks of weekend time for the long runs.

It's not being able to do either, as has been my case for nearly the past month and probably at least most of the next until my tendinitis decides to leave.

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Runners are runners because they run. So I almost feel like I've lost my runner status.

Granted, the recent weather has made it pretty difficult for anyone to pound the pavement. But the option to take on the snow and ice with my Asics Gels is one I long to have again.

But it hasn't been all that bad. You can learn a lot about yourself and other things, sitting on the couch.

I've read about a half-dozen books during the past month. I've watched afternoon movies on the Lifetime channel, done my first sit-ups since high school gym class, e-mailed friends from long ago, nearly driven my wife mad at times and finally figured out how to bake a potato.

I've come up with this conclusion: Not running stinks.

I don't know how most people get by without it. But I'm glad they do, because it's been easy for me to blend into the crowd. Pretty soon I might even start asking runners, "What?! How many miles do you run?" and replying, "That's why I have a car."

Maybe I'll even start getting into NASCAR. No, that could never happen.

But I will run again, hopefully sooner than later. And my spirit for the sport will be as high as it's ever been, even as I struggle to return to form.

"It's all part of the game," local running aficionado Mike Spinnler assures me.

Maybe "the game" doesn't always have to be about PRs, high mileage and the Boston Marathon.

Maybe it's just about the freedom to explore the galactic frontier in a pair of running shoes.

On the run, we are all Jedi Knights.

Lord Vader doesn't stand a chance.




Andy Mason is assistant sports editor of The Morning Herald. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2334, or by e-mail at andrewm@herald-mail.com

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