Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ignoring the Cattle Call

Today is April's first Sunday.  This time next month, on May's first Sunday, the first and only marathon in which I shall participate shall take place.  The New Jersey Marathon begins and ends in Long Branch.  My goal, which I believe I have a reasonably good chance of achieving, is to cross the finish line not more than four hours after crossing the starting line.  To date the longest distance I have run as part of my training is 17 miles although by day's end today I shall have completed an eighteen-mile run.  This time next week, I will complete the single longest run on the training schedule, which is twenty miles.  From next Sunday to Marathon Sunday is twenty-one days.  The longest single run on tap during that time period is the Unite for Charity Half-Marathon at Rutgers, which is Sunday, April 17th. 

About a week or so in this space I commented upon the fact that while I have enjoyed the experience of pushing myself physically to do something that I heretofore would have thought myself incapable of doing, the May 1 marathon will be the first and only one in which I participate.  That decision is one predicated upon the toll exacted upon my day-to-day and that of those I love most of all by the amount of time required to prepare properly for such an undertaking. 

I received a couple of comments in response to what I had written - proposing to issue me a 'pass' as it were, which is probably not too surprising as the commentators were two of my three older sisters.  And while I appreciate the sentiment and I appreciate the fact that this type of experience is unique to each person who undertakes it - as is the residual experience felt by that person's family - their protective leap was unwarranted and unnecessary.  The shoes I walk in (or run in) every day are mine.  I know what I do and what I fail to do.  And I know better than they the impact that this experience has had on both sides of that coin.  By the same token, because the shoes I run in are exclusively my own, I do not and would not pretend to speak for anyone else who has undertaken or who shall undertake a similar pursuit.  The experience, and its impact on the rest of your day-to-day life, is unique to the individual experiencing it.

Sisterly love is a wonderful thing - and I do appreciate it.  In this particular scenario however, it changes nothing.  I said what I said about myself not because I was bitten by the desire to be self-effacing, which parenthetically is not a character trait that anyone has ever attributed to me in close to four and one half decades of tripping the life fantastic. I said what I said about me and about this undertaking because I know it to be true.  I am not shy about extolling the virtues of me when (perhaps "if" fits better there) I do something worthy of a brag.  I cannot and shall not be shy therefore about exposing the faults and sins of me when I do something worthy of rebuke. 

The absence of malice aforethought does not exonerate one of all of his sins.  An injury can arise as easily from a harm inadvertently or unintentionally administered as it can from one flush with premeditation and intent.  The need for repair is the same in both.  In the former at least, the desire to fix what has been harmed and to try and make it strong enough to survive the long haul remains steadfast and true.  And that hopefully is enough - if not to un-ring an already ringing bell - then to tamp it down so that before too long the ringing has stopped altogether.

On the fourth Sunday following this very Sunday, I shall complete the task that I created for myself.  I intend to complete it within a certain amount of time.  Whether a marriage occurs that morning between expectation and reality remains to be seen.  That question is incapable, presently, of being answered.  And once this task is completed on that fourth Sunday following this Sunday, it shall not be undertaken again.  I shall continue to run,  which I enjoy doing and which is an important part of my life for both my physical and my mental health.  I will not however undertake a pursuit as selfish as this one has proven to be again. 

The trench is dug within our hearts.....

Not this Sunday.  Not on any Sunday. 

-AK

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