I started on my running today - ran 8.5 miles (or 13.67 kms). I didn't think I would be able to run so far on my first day, especially because of the fact that I hadn't run in a long time (except for one 3 miler 10 days back, I hadn't run at all).
I started slow - jogged for over a mile to get warmed up. Then I increased the pace (may be up to 8.5 to 9 minutes a mile), and stayed at that pace for a long time. I was feeling happy that my stamina hadn't got lowered despite not having run in months. I thanked myself for having stayed active through other means, viz. Hapkido and Surya Namaskar. 100 miles in 10 days didn't seem impossible now. Despite having not run regularly in months, it seemed like I was better prepared this time than last year.
Things changed somewhere around the 5th or 6th mile when I started feeling pain in the outer side of my left knee. I stretched a bit and continued running. When the pain started getting worse, I alternated between walking and running. But the pain wouldn't stop, and only worsened. I realized I had to stop - the pain was not unbearable, but I knew if I didn't stop I would aggravate the injury. Now in the evening, it seems I should have stopped running earlier, because the pain is pretty bad now. As if it was not foolish enough for me to take up a stupid goal, I did one more stupid thing by not stopping on time today. But sometimes two stupid things, sort of, cancel each other out and make up for an intelligent decision.
I am deciding to give up on the goal of covering 100 miles in the last 10 days of 2008. I have no regrets or shame for having given up the goal. I may be able to push myself to run on a sore knee, but that would only lead to a bigger injury, and may cause serious problems. That said, I wonder how I managed to run the 100 kilometers that I did last year in the last 10 days of 2007. I remember having very bad pains in my leg last year as well, but somehow I had succeeded in keeping myself going. Don't know if I should be called weaker or saner now, but I have no regrets giving up on my goal.
I'm not giving up on the goal completely; I'll surely try the 100 miles in 10 days again, but later when I am better trained. When the body is well trained for long distance running, tissues and muscles in the body get used to withstand the repetitive stress that come from such running. I realize that it surely is very stupid to attempt difficult goals without having invested the time getting ready for the challenge. Occasionally, it might be worthwhile taking up challenges for which one is not ready, but that surely isn't the case this time for me. I guess I'll do my "100 miles in 10 days" run when I have somebody in my life who is there to receive me at the end of each run with welcoming arms.