Sunday, April 3, 2016

A Metaphorical Deluge

I don't think the heavy stuff's going to 
Come down for quite a while. 
- Carl Spackler

The world of cinema's very best grounds-keeping meteorologist turned out to be incredibly wrong about the imminent arrival of the heavy stuff, its immediate effect on the Bishop's golf game, and its more long-lasting effect on the Bishop's end game: 

Today is the first Sunday of April.  For those of us lacing up our shoes to run in the 2016 New Jersey Marathon, the heavy stuff has indeed arrived.  Only three Sundays separate today from Marathon Sunday.  We have now reached the point in the program where the countdown to race day is measured not in months but in weeks or - if you prefer - in days.  There are but four of the former and twenty-eight of the latter to go.  

When preparing to run a marathon, the miles one's legs absorbs are inevitably absorbed by one's mind as well.  For me the struggle between my mind and my body is real and it is a no bullshit set-to. There are stretches of road over which I run that my legs do not immediately recognize but of which my mind possesses immediate recall.  In an effort to improve my performance in this year's New Jersey Marathon, I have already made multiple pilgrimages on the most soul-sucking portion of the course, which is the not quite six-mile stretch of Ocean Avenue that connects Long Branch and Asbury Park.  The layout of the New Jersey Marathon course ensures that roughly half of the race takes place in the oceanfront ghost towns of Elberon, Deal, and Allenhurst in which fans dressed up as empty homes line both sides of the course.  

To win the battle of the Deal Desert, I have decided this year to confront my enemy head-on. Whether it shall prove to be a winning strategy I know not, but this year's training for the race has taken me over this depressing, desolate landscape several times (a round-trip trek each time) in order to familiarize my mind to it and to assist my mind in breaking down what can seem to me to be an unrelentingly misery-making piece of real estate into manageable portions.  

On Marathon Day, the battle is not fought from the feet up.  It is fought from the brain down.  To the victor goes the spoils...

...the chafing, the stiff legs, and the ugly-beyond-recognition feet and toes.  

It is a package deal. 

Sanity falls under the heading of optional equipment. 


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