It’s February 12th, 2010. There is nothing particularly special about today in the Nitmos home. The kids are raiding the food closet and ingesting copious amounts of mood altering intoxicants, in their earthly cookie and Sweettart form. The filly has accused the colt of being a bad brother. The colt is refusing to help the filly with a computer problem she’s having. I’m downstairs “working” in blissful ignorance pretending not to hear any of it.
Yep, a normal day at home with the kids.
For some, however, it is a special day. There are birthdays, anniversaries, the first time you saw The Big Lebowski. You know, important things. For some, a day to celebrate!*
Mrs. Nitmos provided me with the gift of running literature this past Christmas. Born to Run, Duel in the Sun, Staying the Course, and Runner’s World’s The Runner’s Body all made their appearance from beneath the wrapping paper. Mrs. Nitmos likes me well read. She thinks my brain is sexy.**
I enjoyed Duel in the Sun. I’ve heard the story, seen the video clips, and read a recap of the 1982 Boston Marathon in the past. The book filled in some holes but didn’t provide me with a ton of new information. I recommend it though for fans of running history.
I just finished Staying the Course: A Runner’s Toughest Race. As you probably know, this book is by my nemesis – my foil – Dick Beardsley. When not plotting out ways to undermine me on Heartbreak Hill, he apparently writes heartfelt autobiographies. Reminds me of the time I wrote a term paper while dunking my roommate's goldfish in and out of the bowl.
Staying the Course is a better overall read than Duel. In it, you not only get the background story of the build to the famous 1982 Boston Marathon but also the events that followed. It frames this most landmark event better than Duel. Staying the Course is the story of one man’s running career….followed by the same man’s battle for sobriety. And accident avoidance. Seriously, you will not believe the pure volume of accidents and mishaps that occur to one person in a short time frame. Cars, tractors, giant pancakes falling from the sky…they all somehow landed on Beardsley. Remember all of those bb gun pellets you shot up into the air against your parents’ warning that ‘they have to come down somewhere’? Yes, they all hit Beardsley. He should have a sign hung around his neck that says: ‘## Days Since Last Accident.’ You’ll note that there are only two digits. A third probably isn’t needed. Encase the man in bubble wrap and place him in a cool, dry warehouse next to Indy’s Ark, please.
Staying the Course is an interesting read in that it encapsulates the demands, the training, the intensity of an elite runner’s rise and descent from the peak of his sport. The second half of the book describes his subsequent injuries, surgeries and accidents and, ultimately, becoming hooked on prescription pain medication. It’s here that we learn more about the man rather than just a list of running accomplishments. The battle with drug addiction begins when the running accolades end. Mirroring his running career, he descends to unwanted depths…before rising again.
Despite all of its honesty, after reading it, there is one thing I’m very angry about. While recovering from yet another injury, Beardsley, unable to run, maintains some level of fitness through snow shoveling. Not just any snow shoveling. Hyper-intense shoveling including fartleks. That’s right, FARTLEK SNOW SHOVELING! Arrgghh, did I kick myself for not coming up with that first! Shit, the hilarious blog post was already written two seconds after reading that. BEARDSLEY! (fist shaking in anger) You beat me again!
February 12th, 2010 might not be of any special importance for you. For others, it’s not just a day like any other. Maybe you’re celebrating Lincoln’s birthday or the 52nd anniversary of General Miguel Ydegoras Fuentes’ election as Guatemalan president. Or that fateful day 26 years ago when Torvill and Dean skated “Bolero” at the Olympics.
Or, just maybe, thirteen years of sobriety.
Head over and drop him a congratulatory line. (And maybe a thinly veiled threat in my name.)
*I bought a new rug. It really ties the room together.
**Especially in a muscle shirt and chaps.
Seven miles on lightly packed, recently plowed paths. Could have been worse. 7.0 @ 7:17 pace. Looking forward to this weekend's long run of 15 miles though it will be a last minute call as to whether it is done outside or on The Mill. Praying for outside.
The, I unload the entire house into the garage (and a few bedrooms) as a complete house re-carpet takes place on Monday. Maybe I'll be too sore after the long run and Mrs. Nitmos and the kids can do it. After all, I primarily married Mrs. Nitmos due to her strong back.