Former 2:24 marathoner, now in my late 40s and hoping to maximally flatten the curve of my slide into senescence and mediocrity • Magazine writer, book editor and author, and commentator on the sport of distance running since 1999 • Adviser and confidant of other perambulators • Paradoxical hater of exercise fanatics • Chihuahua whisperer Sentence-fragment impresario

Monday, May 1, 2017

Training, week of April 24 through April 30

54 miles, 20 of them on the final day. I kind of needed something significant at this point, and my first 20-mile day in years is it. I had  couple of travel days and shitty weather to contend with all week long, but these wouldn't have been real impediments to doing more than I did had I possessed the motivation I had a decade ago; they merely underscored the low threshold I now have for allowing myself to be jostled off track.

I experienced a lot of sadness this week thanks to events outside my sphere of influence. I will say that were I not a runner, I would not have have been privy to these things and therefore would not have experienced the honest emotion that comes with difficulty, and also were I not a runner I wouldn't have dealt with the turmoil and mild disillusionment at all gracefully.

On Sunday, for most of the duration of my 11-mile run, I was pissed off. At running. This isn't a first for me but usually only happens when I am pissed at something else in the world and running is not enough to take the sting out of whatever is paddling my ass at the time. I went into the run perfectly OK with the world at large (except for being despondent over the passing of a close friend's father, which is a separate topic) and became fixated on the idea that running itself was...well, the various bursts of thought-static I had might have translated nicely into Doug Stanhope monologue, but with twice the outrage and half the humor.

It was windy as hell, I wasn't feeling great but I wasn't beat up either (and that would have been a laugh given how little I've been doing). Just one of those days where the thing you use to keep the shit at bay becomes part of the shit, like when I try to learn a new song on my keyboard -- such projects are also normally reliable mood-elevators -- and can do nothing but not the wrong fucking notes.

At times the only real way to hide from my own feelings of excessive mediocrity or ennui is to not do a damn thing that can be judged in a subjective way. If I just lie here watching reruns of "Lost" with my mouth possibly a little ajar, there's little harm in this as long as I don't get annoyed at myself for forgetting the major plot lines of the previous episode.

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