Monday, January 2, 2012

The Ballad of the Slow Learner

For the numerology freak heads among us (and you know who you are), you likely awakened today and experienced a bit of tightening in the trousers. After all it is 1/2/12. Pretty cool for you I am sure. Before you know it, the first of February will be here. Anyone else in a RUSH for it to arrive?

The Missus bought me something very cool for Christmas this year. It is a Garmin Forerunner 410. Candidly I suspect that it is in fact many miles ahead of me in terms of my skill level as a runner. I am not nearly talented enough at the whole running biz to merit such a wholly cool piece of equipment. Do not misunderstand. I have no intention of giving it back. It might be the single coolest thing I have ever owned. It is a watch, which in and of itself might not seem very cool. It is also a GPS device, which means that instead of having to map out a route that I wish to run before I head the door, now all I shall have to do is strap on this little beauty and let it tell me how far I have run. On a somewhat more depressing note, it also records how fast - or not - I am running.

I intend to break it in this morning, taking it on its maiden voyage as I take advantage of a "non-work Monday" to get an outdoor start on my marathon training. Yes, I said it. Marathon training. After bitterly failing to meet my goal last May when I participated for the first time in the New Jersey Marathon and failed to complete it in four hours or less, I have done something that I initially did not think I would do. I am trying again.

Trying again might be the dictionary definition of a fool's errand. My hope last year was to finish in four hours of less. I finished in a tad less than four and one half hours. I have no idea just how I am going to will legs that shall be more than one year older on race day in '12 than they were on race day last year to go thirty-plus minutes faster this year than last.

I really did not intend to take another shot at the marathon this year. My inclination against doing it again had less to do with what a painful experience the race was - the cramps in both legs that made me contemplate drowning myself in the tantalizingly close Atlantic Ocean almost unabated from mile 16 on were brutal - and what a potentially destructive experience the training regimen was. Margaret is a hell of a good sport. She tolerates a lot of nonsense from her husband. Last winter and last spring the time commitment necessary to train for the race took me away from home quite a bit and while we never had a direct conversation about it, I would be willing to wager that it grated on my wife's patience.

Proof that Margaret is better than I deserve lies in my Christmas present. Amazing woman, my bride. Here's to hoping that this time around that at some point on the 26.2 mile course I enjoy a point of intersection between reality and expectation.

-AK

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