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It was 5:15am.

The ground was covered with an inch of sloppy slush.

I was sharing emails with Rick, listening to the rhythmic tap of freezing rain against the skylight above my office door.

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Me: Do you and Keith have a snow & freezing rain rule? no shame in not running this morning …. : ) if you get this note before 5:35am, LMK if you still plan to meet me @ S&S this morning

Rick: just looked outside, I think we should pass

Me: OK – how is your week looking? want to get together Wednesday AM for that 6-mile loop that we did last time?
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I have to admit, I wasn’t sharing emails with Rick because I was worried about his safety on the drive over here.

I wasn’t concerned about running in the snow. Traction on the slippery ground wouldn’t be an issue – I already had on my trail shoes.

If I’m being honest, I was just plain lazy.

Not about the actual running – I was looking forward to the 10-mile run through Cotuit.

No, the real reason I was checking in with Rick –> I didn’t feel like brushing off my snow-covered car. If Rick was having second thoughts about running, I’d rather know before I went outside to start up my car, scrape off the windshield and drive 5 miles to drop off water.

I have no qualms about running 10 miles, but the thought of scraping off my windshield and spending 10 minutes in the car was exhausting.

What does that say about me?

The idea has been in the back of my head for about 6 weeks – get past Derry and decide if I was ready for a Spring marathon.

As the weeks passed and my runs became longer and more focused, I started to develop a sense of entitlement – not only was I going to run a Spring marathon, but it would be easier and better than my last (only) one.

Then I went to Derry, and I was humbled.

The confidence that I was feeling after a 17-mile Christmas Eve run evaporated.

The sense of entitlement in a Spring marathon – born from that confidence – seemed completely misplaced.

How could I ever imagine that I was ready for the challenge of another marathon?

I’ve spent the past week struggling with that question.

I know that running is @ least 50% mental. I see it every Wednesday and Sunday with Rick.

Wednesday mornings I push myself around the track as fast as I can while Rick slowly jogs in the outside lane. I push myself because I know that I can. It just feels right. I know that the workout is short and the pain will subside.

Meanwhile, on Sunday morning Rick’s a blur a half-mile ahead of me. I know that I’m going to struggle – those damn Service Rd hills will be my undoing again.

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy, and I fall for it every time.

Next Steps
I’ve got my running shorts on. It’s 5 degrees (F) outside and I’m grateful for the treadmill in the basement. If all goes well, I’ll get in 5 miles this morning.

Tomorrow, I’m meeting Rick for a 10-miler around Cotuit – no Service Rd hills this week.

Sunday afternoon, I’ll take another look at the marathon schedule and see what I think.

My plan was to sit down and give a detailed race report.

I love replaying a race (good or bad) with an eye towards what I liked and what I didn’t; what I did well, and where I can improve for the next race.

But here it is, 30 hours after I crossed the finish line, and I’ve discovered that I’m missing huge chunks of my memory from yesterday.

I can’t remember specific details about the race.  I can remember passing by mile markers yesterday and making mental notes to put this or that on the blog when I get home, but now that I’m here in front of my computer, I’ve become painfully aware that I left a huge number of brain cells on the hills of Derry. NH.

Yesterday’s race has become a mental kaleidoscope of hills, ice, sweat and pain.

Some things that I do remember:
I remember being cold.

I remember the volunteer’s warning at mile 5 to save something for the hill at mile 12.

I remember being scared because the hill at mile 5 made my quads twitch and my butt pucker.

I remember wishing I was Keith, bum ankle & all, handing out water @ mile 6.

I remember thinking I was going blind – wondering why everything was blurry,  and then realizing it was because of the ice crystals on my eye lashes.

I remember walking up a hill around mile 10.5.

I remember still walking up the same hill around mile 12.

I remember wishing for a third pair of gloves around mile 14.

I remember wanting to punch the person who’s sarcastic sense of humor advertised this race as “moderately challenging.”

I remember dreaming up excuses why I wouldn’t be able to run Stu’s 30K in March (pregnant, hemorrhoids, spastic colon …  anything would be better than facing another potentially frigid race).

I remember the finish line and the impossibly long line for food afterwards.

I remember eating Pizza Hut two pieces at at time back at our friends house in Goffstown and thinking that I had died and gone to pizza heaven.  The chefs @ the Hut had created the perfect pie ever sold in the Granite State, and they saved it especially for me.

Everything else from yesterday –> specifics from the race, a post-race shower, the 140-mile drive back to the Cape … it’s somewhere in the cobwebs of my memories.  I have no doubt it will come rushing back if I ever consider putting my body through that torture again.

For now, I have a feeling that I’m better off remembering what I can and filtering out the rest.

I’m back.

In order to clear up any potential misconceptions:

  • I’m still running.
  • Keith and Rick have not left me for dead along the Service Rd during one of our Sunday runs

So, where the hell have I been?

I’ve started about 10 different posts in the past month.  All of them with the same general theme:  “Real busy, running’s been good .. more later.”   I just couldn’t bring myself to hit the publish button on any of them.

Seriously, who the hell cares how busy I am?  We’re all busy.  No one cares why I’m busy.

So I promised myself that I wouldn’t write anything until I had something interesting to say.

Sadly – I’ve discovered that I have nothing interesting to say. So if you’ve read this far thinking (hoping) this would get better, I’m sorry.  This is as good as it gets.  If you’d like to continue, I can provide a quick recap of what’s been occupying my time since mid-December.

Here’s what I’ve been doing:

  1. running about 30 miles/week
  2. training for my next two races (Boston Prep 16-miler and Stu’s 30K)
  3.  losing the marathon training weight (down 9lbs since Thanksgiving – 10 more lbs and I’ll be in speedo-shape for the summer
    1. mmmmmmmm nothing says hunky like a pasty, hairy 36 year old in a speedo, am I right ladies??
  4. cross-training (Michelle bought me a trainer for my bike for Christmas, and I’ve dusted off the weight bench)
  5. playing with my new Garmin Forerunner (another Christmas present from Michelle – all I got her were socks)
  6. lots and lots and lots of working (the official 9-5 job and the after hours consulting work)

OK, so why the lack of posts
While I was training for the marathon, I put consulting on hold.   Once November hit, I took a look @ the bank account and the credit card bills and thought, “Shit – I need to start consulting again.”  So, since early November I’ve been working about 20-30 hours/week above and beyond my normal 9-5 job.  Throw in 5-7 hours of exercise a week, and quality time with the family I’ve been left with about 10 minutes to spend thinking about writing.

And I have to admit, after spending close to 80 hours in front of  a computer screen (I’m a web developer), the last thing that I want to do is sit in front of that same computer screen and be witty.

So, what comes next
I plan to post as often as I can – @ least 2-3 times/week.  There’s a few things I plan to write about:

  1.  why My Food Diary is  huge load of crap
  2. why the Garmin Forerunner kicks ass and I can’t believe I never wore a heart monitor before last month
  3. a rant on the limitations of the Modal Popup Extender and the inability to data bind to the OnOKScript (seriously – that should be out of the box functionality – I still can’t believe the hoops I had to jump through the get that kludge to work)

Finally, I’m hoping to run a spring marathon.  A lot of those hopes will hinge on how I feel after Sunday’s race.

More to come …