Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Ish of Self

Proving that in addition to raising six crazy children, Mom raised one stupid one at or about 8:00 this morning I shall participate in the 2012 edition of the New Jersey Marathon. I am far from the only person participating in this year's marathon of course. My running "sister in blisters" Gidg is back for a second helping of hurt as well. But for the fact that thousands of other folks have signed up, we might have had a shot at a 1-2 finish. Next year? Perhaps.

I know not what today shall bring other than I shall bring my best effort to bear on the proceedings. My goal last year was to trudge through this thing in four hours or less. I came not close at all to my goal. I finished in 4:29.04. Not exactly "missing it by that much".

While failure served as the impetus for today's encore effort, anyone who read this space in the spring of last year knows how much I hoped to not have to go through this process a second time. My principal reason for hoping to have been "one and done" was not the physical exertion involved in the training regimen, which is not insubstantial. Rather, it was because of all the things that marathon training is, in my experience the thing that it is above all others is selfish. Incredibly so in fact. While engaged in it, it is impossible to do anything else. One cannot sit in a movie theater with one's wife AND run eighteen miles simultaneously. Ditto for dinners and evenings out with friends. Ditto for a million other things that presently escape me.

Whether I succeed or fail today in my quest to break the four hour barrier is something to which the answer remains to be written. Soon enough we shall know for certain. Regardless of how today goes, it is an understatement of quasi-criminal dimensions to say that but for Margaret's love, patience and understanding I would not even be in a position to line up in the starting corral. The temperate weather we enjoyed in these parts all winter was a boon to my training. Yet, it was not close to being the most important thing I had working in my favor. Without question, Margaret was. She has spent the past four months making a process that is as emotionally draining on the loved ones of the runner as it is physically draining on the runner himself seem almost benign. She has been nothing less than a favorable breeze at my back, spurring me on to do my best.

And as any runner will attest, happiness is a favorable breeze at your back. So, regardless of where I finish today or what time I run, I have already won.

Happiness indeed.

-AK

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