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

Saturday, December 1, 2018

A month's work in seven days

Or more realistically, ten days' worth of work spread out over thirty days.

I didn't miss a day of running in November, those with knowledge of Strava say. Yet according to sources deep within the ass administration, my mileage total for the month was less than one of my average weeks in 2002. Individuals with first-hand knowledge of the situation, speaking on conditions of anonymity so they could discuss the matter candidly, agree that no one gives a shit.

I like to periodically look back on my 2002 training year to assess what was good and bad about it, because there was a lot of both and almost all of the variation was attributable to easily identified human factors -- not always the case in this sport energetic hobby. I went into that year in crappy shape after a shitty 2001 fall I largely spent watching incessant 9/11 coverage while slack-faced drunk in front of the television.

I spent the last part of November and of most December in New Mexico getting my mileage up from about 4.7 miles a week to about 100, and for a variety of reasons, I became a one-dimensional mileage machine for the entire winter. I knew I was tired, but I wasn't getting hurt or sick and could plausibly tell myself that I would start speed sessions in a few days or the following week. This basically never materialized and the entire winter and early spring was just an unending stretch of frustrations, which I responded to by punching myself in the metaphorical crotch and doubling down on my Forrest Gump training model, right down to the blithe lack of comprehension of any greater picture. I was able to rally for the Boston Marathon, and then the next six months or so were up and down as I moved to Virginia and spent a month or so in North Carolina along the way.

2002 was the only year in which I raced three marathons, and the only one in which I ducked under 2:30:00 twice. After I ran 2:27:31 at Rocket City in December off what remained almost pure base-type training, I was set up for a decent 2003.

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