I’ll have whatever’s in that hypospray Bones, and make it a double.

16 09 2011

So, I’m sitting on the sofa today with a cup of hot tea and a box of Kleenex when it occurs to me how eerily similar this scene is to another in recent memory.  It was 1997 and I had been studying for the med school admission test for months on end while attending college full time and working night shifts at a law firm.  A good score on that test was one key to the door of my future, and I devoted myself to my studies with a dedication befitting its gravity.  Whether reading on the El train, walking the floors at home with flash cards late into the night, or poring over books kept on the toilet tank, I studied like it was my religion.  About a week before the exam, I came down with a snotslinger of a cold like I’d never had before.  I remember showing up at the testing center feeling frail and depleted, toting my bag of Hall’s drops and box of tissues with a heart full of hope and a prayer on my lips.  Hacking and wheezing my way through the 6 hour exam, I figured it was both rotten luck and  a coincidence as rare as a lightning strike.

Yet here I am again.  After pounding the pavement month after month preparing for the Berlin marathon, I am sidelined at the eleventh hour with another ridiculous rhinovirus.  I needed to be running this past week instead of wondering why I was tired and all my bones hurt.  I would have loved sprinting along through this delightfully cool weather instead of shooting free throws at a wastebasket with crumpled up Kleenex.  And I would so much rather be writing about how race ready I feel at this moment instead of yet another angsty post rife with real or perceived inadequacies.   But we are where we are and there’s no escaping reality.

So this is how I’m going to handle it.

Unlike the last time I found myself in this situation, my future does not hinge on what will take place over the next few days or miles.  Nothing significant will happen if my running sucks.  In fact, no one will even care.  I haven’t constructed dreams and aspirations around a certain outcome and nobody is depending upon my success.  Self-image could take a temporary dive, but it wouldn’t be the first time I was less than thrilled with myself.  I’ll get over it.  And considering the fact that I got talked into doing the marathon in the first place, it is beyond illogical to give the end result undue importance.  Therefore I am going to quit worrying about it and let the chips fall where they may.

This may very well be the first time I’ve talked sense to myself in about 6 months.  Fascinating.

Transformed by the Crystalline Entity

12 09 2011

I will always remember the summer of 2011 — a season gobbled up by marathon training like the Crystalline Entity chewed up planets then left their essence trailing behind in clouds of electromagnetic flatulence.  

The Berlin Marathon will take place in 2 weeks and I will be there, ready or not.  At this point on any training plan it is time to taper, and taper I must — even though I never reached the magic number 20 miles for my farthest run.  The 18-miler done on Labor Day will have to suffice as my longest outing before the event.

I’ve never run a race I felt prepared for.  I’ve always worried about being last, fattest, slowest or oldest.  This season’s emotions have run the gamut from excitement to dread, confidence to despair, and anticipation to apathy before settling in to the current theme:  simple readiness.  This is not readiness like an elite athlete who calmly strides to the start line and prepares to break records.  I’m just ready to be done with this shit and get it behind me.

Training since the last post on August 28th (the day of the 16 miler):

August 29 – off
August 30 – yoga
August 31 –  3 mile easy run
September 1 – awesome 5 mile tempo run
September 2 – session with personal trainer
September 3 – 5 miler on a day that I’d planned to do 7, but it got too hot too soon
September 4 –  off
September 5 – 18 miler on a beautiful cool Labor Day morning (and it took ALL morning to do it)
September 6 –  intense lower body stretching routine followed by some half-hearted corework
September 7 – 4 fast miles, the first three with negative splits  —-  booya!
September 8 – session with personal trainer
September  9 – 5 easy miles
September 10 – off, unless you count some 12 ounce curls at a picnic
September 11 – off  (maybe should have done 20 on this day but my back hurt and I was tired so I did the smart thing and rested)
September 12 – yoga

What remains now in the last two weeks of training is to continue running enough to maintain the level of endurance earned thus far without being injured and then rest a couple more days before the race.   I’ve gone as far as I can go and all that’s left is to show up on Marathon morning and get it done—whatever “it” will be.   I can’t predict how it’s all going to unfold but I do know this much:  Like the Crystalline Entity, I’ll be out there for 42 kilometers chugging along,  gobbling up miles and farting stardust.