Epilogue – The Beginning

The finish line at the 109th Boston Marathon on Boylston Street.

I wrote the final chapter of Twenty-four Years to Boston—My Journey from the Vegetable Aisle to Boylston Street when I crossed the finish line of the 2005 Boston Marathon, which kicked-off an entirely new venture. In January of 2006, I won my first running award at the ripe age of fifty—a bronze medal for placing third in my age group at the Bermuda International Marathon. The award was presented by the Premier of Bermuda at the packed Harbor View Ballroom in the Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel. Five months later I won a second bronze at the Run the Rockies Half-Marathon in Frisco, Colorado, at nearly 10,000 feet altitude.

Should two surgeries, arthritis and busted-up knee at trail run be a deterrent? Nah!

Reality struck a few years later–age caught up with me. After two knee surgeries in less than a year, the orthopedic surgeon told me that I had more arthritis than he’d like to see in a guy my age. He recommended that I consider running shorter distances, like the 5K or 10K; definitely not more than a half-marathon. It was hard advice to swallow, but at fifty-five I had to begin thinking long-term and resigned to the idea that my marathon days were over.

I revamped my fitness routine and began running less-often and shorter distances. I compensated for reduced running with increased cycling, weight training and other low-impact aerobic exercises. But no matter what I did, I missed the euphoric feeling of a soaking perspiration that only came while I was on a long run. I began running almost exclusively on soft surfaces and entered more trail runs. Trail running became a blessing and revived my otherwise directionless running life.

Could anything feel better than a mountain trail in Juneau, Alaska?

After two years of following this relatively modest exercise routine, something unexpected happened—I inadvertently discovered that my knees no longer ached after 10K, so I kept going. I completed a 20K and a half-marathon in 2011 and registered for the Bucks County Marathon in November 2012—my first in four years.

I won’t be following a traditional marathon training program like I had for my previous marathons. There won’t be any fifty-mile weeks in the log book, but I learned from experience that I will have to put in more miles than I did for The Untrained Marathon. To prepare for November, I’ll train more often on off-road, hilly terrain, like this weekend in the Halfwit Half-Marathon in Reading, PA, and I’ll log more hours on my bike.

There is more than one way to skin a cat. Stay tuned!

About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
This entry was posted in Health, Marathon, Running, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Epilogue – The Beginning

  1. Kate Cooper says:

    Speaking of age- our runner son Will got some great XC duds and stuff for his 17th, season starts for real this week w/school this week. I got him wrong team logos, wrong sizes etc , *but! Got the subscription to Trail Runner and said “read it kid, thats the one my running friend who is a writer said to get.”

    The Bix was great for husband John also-shaved 8 minutes and is working with injuries of his own.

    Be careful out there and drink your water Jim. That’s my one of my new mantras.


    • Jim Brennan says:

      High school X-country is a great experience. My godson just finished his high school career and begins college next week. Trail Runner is a great magazine, plenty of expericed runners and writers. He can subscribe to get their free newsletter by email at the bottom of the magazine website at http://www.trailrunnermag.com/


  2. Anonymous says:

    Hey Jim, Mike and I were just reading your blog and what a gross pic!!! Glad you included your Bermuda win. Just an update, I’ve got a piece almost completed for your book (if it suits what you’re looking for). I’ve created it out of newspaper (playing on the theme of writing and words) and hopefully, I’ll have it done soon so I can show you.
    Life has taken strange twists and turns for us here in Virginia and both Mike and I have felt like we’ve been going through a blender. I’ll keep you posted and will complete the piece soon. Love, Jo-Anne


    • Jim Brennan says:

      Joanne, there is at least one picture from the Bermuda Marathon in another posts and I recently used one for a magazine article; and the “Wounded Knee” picture is also with the editor of American Fitness Magazine for a November article. I look forward to seeing your artwork. A publisher recently asked for my manuscript and we plan to talk after the summer. I hope life settles down for you two. Stay well, talk soon and say hi to Mike… Jim


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