Monday, November 12, 2007

the wall

When I was in my early thirties, I got very serious about running. I planned routes; I did hard runs and easy ones; I did intervals and hills and cross-training workouts; I kept track of my weekly mileage.

But I wasn't actually training for anything--just doing my usual compulsive, neurotic, solitary thing--till one day, at Stupid Daddy's urging, I finally registered for a race, chosen somewhat randomly. It was a 15k, which I knew I could finish no problem; I had done plenty of recreational runs longer than that.

Race day was blustery and frigid; we were living in Vermont, where the temperature hangs well below freezing for like six months of the year and then soars into the 50s towards the end of spring, if you're lucky, and could somebody please get me an iced tea?, I work up a sweat just thinking about it. It was early May, and if memory serves, we runners were pelted with needles of sleet here and there throughout the race.

Nonetheless, I felt confident about my performance as the race began, even with the Pemmican Bar that Stupid Daddy insisted I eat--forgetting, as he frequently did, that I weighed about 100 pounds less than he--sitting like a brick in my stomach, all 440 calories of it.

I realize as I write this that it sounds as though I'm preparing you for another one of these stories. Lucky for everyone involved, past and present, I'm not. The point I'm trying to make, in an incredibly long-winded way, is that I started out strong and faded fast.

It's the classic novice racer's mistake, and knowing it didn't stop me from making it. You get so pumped with adrenaline that you just fly along those first few miles, thinking you can keep up the pace, or not even realizing how fast you're actually going, or some combination of the two, only to have things slow down dramatically as the race progresses. People pass you, and more people pass you, and by the time you cross the finish line, you're cooked.

And the point of all that is to explain that I feel like something analogous has happened with this whole NaBloPoMo thing. After a strong and inspired start, I've hit a wall. It's only the 12th of November and I'm hobbling along, folks, hobbling along.

But I think if I take this middle stretch easy, I'll be able to finish--and possibly even finish with without having to crawl.

Lighter posting this week, therefore, beginning now.

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