The holiday season is upon us, and as usual I’m staring at my to-do list with a growing sense of angst. Shopping, cleaning, shopping, socializing, shopping — these are not my strong suits. Instead of getting on with it, I fritter away my time while complaining to no one in particular that this year I’m finally going to make good on my annual threat to spend the whole of December under a rock.
If a marathon can be said to stand for something, it must surely stand for the idea that speed comes at a price. Run too fast at the start, expend your energy too early, and you are sure to come to grief. Be patient and persistent, and you might overtake the early leaders. “It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon” is one of those phrases that everyone understands, whether or not they’ve ever run a competitive step. Continue reading
“Who says life is fair, where is that written?” – The Princess Bride
It’s Saturday afternoon in Falmouth, and the skies are still fair. There are no signs yet of the dark thunderclouds that will roll in later, threatening the festive atmosphere at Falmouth High School. For the moment, at least, all is well and everyone seems to be enjoying the family friendly events taking place on the outdoor track.
This is my first-ever experience of Falmouth weekend, having made to the trip with Tyler who will be competing in tomorrow’s Road Race. But after picking up his number, he’s gone off somewhere to get in 30-40 minutes of easy running, and I’m hanging out at the track by myself, taking in the scene, killing time before the elite mile races that are schedule to begin in a little over an hour.
But first, there are an endless number of kids races. Continue reading
“At the height of summer, naps at the beach can be alluring, and many of us may find ourselves tempted to take prolonged vacations from exercise.” – Gretchen Reynolds, writing in the New York Times. Continue reading
It was a sweltering Sunday morning, and I was about ten miles into what I had hoped would be a twelve-mile run on the usual Battle Road loop. Although I had only a couple of miles to go, I was not at all sure I would finish without walking.
Not only was it the longest run I had attempted for many months, it was about the hottest and most humid day of the summer to that point. Although I was shirtless, sweat just wasn’t evaporating in that thick haze of warm, moist air, and it served only to coat my skin with a slimy glaze. I felt like the contents of a simmering pot, a briny stew of my own making.
Two weeks have passed since the 122nd running of the Boston Marathon — two weeks of fickle spring weather — sunny one day, raining the next — but nothing to compare with that miserable Monday when cold, heavy rain pummeled the elite and the masses alike, sending some two thousand runners to the medical tents to be treated for hypothermia.
I was only a bystander at the marathon, and not a terribly useful one at that, but the day left a deep impression on me all the same. This is my attempt to find some meaning in all that suffering, something to take away from it before all the raw memories of the day dissolve into incoherent mumblings, like the troubled dreams of shipwrecked sailors. Continue reading
“Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well.” – Shakespeare, King Lear
On the final Sunday of March, three weeks and one day until the 122nd Boston Marathon, Commonwealth Ave. in Newton is teeming with runners logging what is probably their final really long effort before the big day. At this time of year I can’t help having mixed feelings: on the one hand, relief that I’m not out there terrified about what running 26.2 miles will do to my body; on the other hand, envy for the collective spirit of purpose shared by all these folks. Continue reading