Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What a great day!

As I sit here typing this, I have 10 days left before I say good-bye to my thirties and hit the decade where I remember my parents seeming old to me. While there are always things one might have decided to do differently if allowed to pres a magical "rewind" button, I can say that I have precious few regrets. Now I'm focusing on celebrating my 40th via the 40-mile fundraising run (go ahead, cue up the Viagra jokes). I've had some pesky doubts about my physical ability and mental resolve, and have also lamented the somewhat tepid response to my announcements and resultingly modest fundraising However, two separate events conspired to make my spirit soar today.

Last night, my wife drafted her own message to friends and family, inviting them to donate, cheer, run and/or come to an after-run party at our house, whatever shape I'm in. In addition, one of my RWOL forum-mates got hold of an article in our local paper, and he posted it to the Marathon Race Training Forum. The combination of those two acts has resulted in an outpouring of rhetorical and financial support that I could not have imagined, and it has provided more perspective and motivation than I thought possible.

Thanks to being buoyed by all this positive karma, I have no doubt that I will complete this run, and can graphically picture the experience of finishing a 6.5-7-hour run at my home with anywhere from 5 to 50 of my closest friends and family there to share the moment. I know there will likely be some rough spots. I know I'll get fatigued. I'll curse some of the hills (especially later on). Things will hurt. But I also know that I've never done anything like this - and may never get to duplicate the experience - so that I will have this uber-unique memory to cherish for as long as I am graced with being able to recall such experiences. No race, not even Boston, will likely compare to this, and I only hope to be worthy of the largely unjustified praise which has been so graciously heaped upon me.

Seriously, there are so many more people who are braver, face greater adversity, make much larger sacrifices and otherwise do so much more to help others than I am doing here. But - to be honest - I am enjoying my place in all of this, and sometimes it feels so good to do something selfless that it's fair to be called selfish for doing it.

I'll gladly relish my 15 minutes, but the real lesson is that it is not that difficult to channel one's talents and energy (some of us have a lot of the latter, while hurting on the former) into something significant. I may fall short of my audacious $10,000 fundraising goal, but I do know that the Dana Farber Cancer Institute will be at least $2500 ahead of where it was before I started, and that the memory of my beloved cousin Steven now lives on in the minds and hearts of many people who would otherwise never have even heard of him. Can there be many better reasons to do anything?

Oh . . . and on a running note, my first two "coached" workouts have been pleasantly uneventful. I managed to do 10 miles at lunchtime yesterday at an average pace of about 8:50 mile, for over 30 miles in three days with no real pain and minimal fatigue. Today's 6-miler on the treadmill (it was pouring outside) at about the same pace was monotonous. I listened to an interesting discussion of The Great Gatsby on Slate's audio book club podcast. Good stuff, but not exactly inspiring when trying to keep pace. Will do some easy cross-traing tomorrow before racing a 4-miler on Thursday and some easy running Friday and Saturday. I'll do a moderately-paced 15 or so miles on Sunday, then cut back in advance of the 40-miler. Need to save my strength, as I have a sense that it's going to be a tad challenging.