Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Bite Radius

Someone - most assuredly someone who bears scant resemblance to me - once observed that age and wisdom were traveling companions.  Every now and again I think I may be the exception that proves the rule. 
Each of the past two Mays I have participated in the New Jersey Marathon.  It has been - each of the past two years - the single hardest thing I have ever undertaken.  Each of the past two years I have been mindful of the fact that it has been as hard on Margaret as it has been on me.  It is hard to be married to someone who devotes the lion's share of what is a relatively small amount of free time to a singular, ultimately selfish pursuit.  And make no mistake about it.  Training for a marathon is a singular and ultimately selfish pursuit. 
In training to run the New Jersey Marathon each of the past two years, I have followed a sixteen-week training program.  Sixteen weeks is a hell of a long time to spend preparing to do anything.  And the "payoff" at the end of the training is a Sunday spent participating in a long race run over a course that is excruciatingly dull - with not less than ten or eleven of the race's miles run up and back on what is essentially a deserted section of Ocean Avenue between Long Branch and Asbury Park.  For me personally it has not been a pleasant experience either of the past two years.
So I have decided to do something about it.  On or about Christmas Eve an e-mail popped up in my in-box at work.  An e-mail from an organization called advertising a new event:  the Central Park Marathon.  It is a marathon taking place entirely within and adjacent to Central Park in New York City.  The marathon course shall consist of five loops of the park crossing the 102nd Street transverse.  My running sensei (my brother-in-law Russ) tells me that Central Park is noted for its hills.  He also told me - when we chatted about it over Christmas dinner - that he believes I can do it - and that I have sufficient time to train for it.
After running close to thirty miles last week I decided that I believe he is right.  Yesterday I took the plunge.  I signed up for the Central Park Marathon.  The good news is I shall not have to spend sixteen weeks training for it.  Unlike the New Jersey Marathon, which is contested on May's first Sunday, the Central Park Marathon is contested on February's final Sunday.  Race day is February 24, 2012.  Three weeks past my 46th birthday.
See, I told you.  The exception that proves the rule.  'Tis me.

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