(the photo is the procession of Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars)

I'm coming back from a strange issue with my right calf. It occasionally starts to hurt and can arise even if my running stress is not very high. It appears independent of mileage but certainly worsens if I continue running. It is acute but does not appear to be related to any trauma. The pain only occurs when I run and, if ignored, will get quite severe. The only remedy seems to be not running, and the break necessary for relief needs to be four to six weeks or more. Unfortunately, much deconditioning occurs in this time interval, even more so if it comes during a rebuilding effort from an injury last year.

I don't like missing the springtime running weather. Watching the winter give way to glorious spring is a huge incentive to get out there and push up the weekly miles. It is frustrating to be injured during this season. Finally, last week, I was able to do four two-milers. This week, I have planned to do five 2.5-mile runs. Today, I finished my fourth run, going 2.75 miles. Next week, I plan five three-milers. This June is perfect for a comeback. I get to start again as Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, and Mercury all parade across the morning sky. I am not religious, but running under astronomical alignments seems to give meaning to my pre-dawn runs. It is a reminder that, despite the growing human-made chaos down here on Earth, the cycles of the universe proceed indifferently. By the end of June, my running rhythm will have returned, and I expect to break twenty weekly miles.

I will stay away from marathon distances for the rest of 2022. Instead, I will focus on higher-quality running. My pace has slowed too much since my last serious marathon. I need to remedy this with some speed work. I am going to track myself against age-graded standards. The Boston Marathon qualifying time for my age group sits at percentile of 67.5%. The equivalent percentile for the 5K is 25:31. I feel that I should break 30 minutes before contemplating another marathon. This is percentile 57.5%.

The great running coach Jack Daniels once said that injuries are misjudgments in training. I was probably too sporadic in my ramp-up earlier this year and did it to myself. Maybe the lesson here is that consistency matters more as one ages. I will make sure that I do not repeat this mistake.