Lots of things are coming to a head this week: work assignments, training plans, soccer tournaments, the destruction of my retirement savings, and, of course, those ever loving leaves that drop in spurts of only a couple dozen a day littering my yard. It’d be so nice if that pesky little tree dandruff could agree on a ‘drop’ date and just get it over with already.
The pressure is building…
Sometime this weekend, I’ll knock out my 21 miler and then call it a taper. Not sure if it’ll be before or after my son’s soccer tournament, daughters game, or my customary weekend fit of rage. It’ll get done though. Dreams of crackheadedness will no doubt haunt my long run once again.
One by one I’m plucking the mountain of tasks off my checklist. Each completed in half ass fashion. There’s simply no time to do any of them thoroughly. Need the TPS report completed at work? Here it is. Of course, I know it’ll come back to me after it’s reviewed as it’s rife with inaccuracies and falsehoods but that’ll buy me a week anyhow. Need to rake the yard? Why do it now? The little buggers are just going to keep falling. Might as well wait until they are all off the tree. Between now and then, a huge wind storm might blow through making it my neighbors problem anyhow.
The training runs? Oh, those get completed on schedule and with due diligence. I massage this task like I’m working a whitehead into a fine conical point in the bathroom mirror. Calmly. Confidently. Precisely.
See, the disadvantage work has is that it does not help me train for a marathon. If anything, it hurts it (other than equipping me with the ability to afford race fees, Gu, and shoes at regular intervals.) Until my office decides to make me Senior Marathon Runner with exceptional pay and benefits instead of Easily Replaceable Atonamaton, they’ll have to continue to deal with half ass work and a snarky attitude.
Since I treated my 20 miler a few weekends ago as a race pace practice run, this weekend's 21 will be done, hopefully, a bit slower. It’s time to cover some distance at a bit easier pace. There’s nothing to be gained by cranking out 21 miles at race pace three weeks before the marathon. This is all about confidence. More than the physical, I need the mental reassurance that 20+ miles on a given weekend is within my range. No matter how many marathons I run, there is still something a bit intimidating to me about the 20 mile mark. But I’m fearful of most numbers without a square root and also divisible by 5. I’ve been that way for years.
Squeeze it. Poke it. Pinch it.
By the time this week is over and I’m rounding the bend on final mile number 21 with taper in sight, I figure I’ll have the same euphoric sense of accomplishment as when I defeated those engorged pores all over the bathroom mirror as a teenager. (Pop! Ahhhh. Uh-oh, get some Kleenex it dug too deep! Mom, someone made a mess all over the mirror! Can you come clean it up?) But approaching taper is just like prepping for Picture Day at school. You would like to deflate those skin volcanoes but, if not, you can always turn a little to the right for one of those artsy profile shots to hide the eruptions.
The marathon is the Prom. Taper will create another big, fat whitehead right on the tip of my nose. One of those really enflamed ones with a mound of white bubble surrounded by a ring of red irritated flesh. I need to work it carefully. Prod it. Not push too hard. Bring it to a fine, elongated point with maximum pressure build.
And then, on October 19th, give it that final squeeze and watch it explode all over the streets of Detroit (and Windsor, Ontario).
Ahhhh, the sweet relief.
There’s nothing like finishing a well run marathon with medal draped around your neck, water in hand, and a giant oozing nose crater.
This is heaven to me.
Two Tales from the Nitmos Home for Parentless Youth
On a completely different note, my nearly 7 year old filly decided to turn teenager on me this morning. I hear a disgusted “awwww” and then her sweet little muffled angry voice calling out to me from the bathroom, “Dad, why is it so hard to put the seat down on the toilet?”
Of course, I replied the way any good parent responds when confronted by their children: with belittling sarcasm.
“Well, when you grow up, you can rent your own mobile home and leave the seat down if you like.”
Which brings me to the second tale of morning school preparation. Again, my filly, when asked to go downstairs for breakfast (she’s up earlier than her brother today), she responds, “I don’t like to go downstairs first. There are zombies down there.”
To which I reply, “There are NO zombies down there. Zombies don’t exist. But werewolves? Maybe.”
She didn’t go downstairs. Hello, Academy? Still waiting for my award for Exceptional Work in the Field of Parenting.
Good Luck to Viper and Laura at the Akron Marathon! Tear it up!