Obligatory taper post
Somehow, it’s already time to taper for the Philadelphia Marathon.
Somehow, I managed to cobble together 110 nearly pain-free miles last week, and somehow, I’m not feeling so terrible about my chances anymore.
The past thirty days have been strange. I went from being in the best (marathon) shape of my life, to thinking I might not be able to run, to completely not caring about the marathon because I was suddenly consumed with fretting over upsetting things I can’t control, to wondering if maybe I can pull off a PR on November 18th after all.
This month I saw the ugly side of nature. The side where you discover cancer has licked out into the internal organs of one of the most important people in your life, and how can this be happening and nothing about it makes sense and neither of you even knows what to say so your eyes brim over and that says it all.
I saw the beautiful side too. I watched the silent fluttering of a saw-whet owl in a mist net and then I held the creature in my hands, looked close enough to see the stealthy fringe on the wings.
Racing seems to exist at this nexus in nature between anguish and joy. There are awful moments and great ones, and you’re always balancing the incredible discomfort of pushing your body as far as it will go with the dreadful primal bliss of finding out just how alive you can be today.
In racing, you can control so much. You can control your preparation, your fueling, your footwear, the comfort of your outfit…
And yet, then there are a whole multitude of factors you don’t necessarily get to have a say in, so you’re there simply to bear witness to the experiment and adapt around setbacks and surprises however you can. You are forced, by virtue of how very uncomfortable you are, to exist in the now, to focus on the moment and work through the distance quarter mile by quarter mile in a manner that’s as honest as you can muster, even though you’re leaving footprints nobody’s going to see.
I… I don’t know.
I know that, in the end, running doesn’t matter at all. It just doesn’t. But it sure is one hell of an escape, one hell of a way to process my thoughts and experience some tiny microcosm of the world. That’s all I want from it, and I’m lucky to get out there every day.
Anyway, enough of this sentimental noise. I just looked up my registration confirmation and discovered there appear to be 33,000 people registered for this race (if you include the halfers). WHAAAAAAT. I mean, I know it’s a big race and all, but that is greater than the population of Juneau. Maybe I’ll be like a horse and construct some blinders for my hat in order to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
PS. Blogger platform blogs, I don’t know what it is, but my computer will not let me comment on your posts anymore. I have tried many ways around this but must finally conclude that I am too techno-deficient to figure it out.
PS again, if I had any sense of timing, I would probably comment on the election or hurricane Sandy, but I have nothing insightful or intelligent to contribute to either of those discussions, so here is a mountain: