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Wincing my way through a run with the wizard

I haven't had to look for the wizard on any of my runs lately. Knowing my luck, that probably means my coach forgot to change some of my easy-paced runs into interval runs.

The wizard has a type of universal meaning about pushing yourself through pain, making yourself work hard when you'd rather just walk into an ice cream parlor and get an obscenely large waffle cone with mint chocolate chip.

The wizard also takes on personal meaning, probably because your brain starts hallucinating at certain points in long, hard workouts. My coach wanted me to "chase the wizard" and I wanted to know what the wizard had that was so valuable I should chase him. Pancakes? Coffee crisps? (As an aside, what good is free trade if I can't get my favorite Canadian bars in a U.S. grocery store?)

Of course the wizard is also like the commercial for sour patch kids ... first they're sour, then they're sweet. Because before you get those pancakes or candy bars or ice cream you have to endure the pain the wizard dishes out.

And while I was on that hike with Sherpa in Lake Placid, the wizard apparently used his scepter to repeatedly whack my quadriceps muscles. Oh yes, I am still sore from that jaunt.

I was prepared to wince my way through my 45 minute easy-paced run yesterday and it turns out the run wasn't so bad. Actually, my legs kind of felt like the start of a brick workout -- a bit like jello and difficult to feel. But quickly I found a rhythm and the discomfort melted into the run.

Today I'll see how my body reacts to spin class and swim practice. I'm sure it will be just fine. Because the other thing the wizard leaves you with is knowledge that you're much stronger than you thought.

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