Tuesday, 29 November 2011


It's been about a month now since I committed to next March's inaugural Rock and Roll New Orleans Marathon. The day I signed up I was totally pumped to pour myself into the training, as I only had four months, minus taper-time, to work my way back into the shape I was in, mentally and physically, in December 2009, when I wrapped up 12 in 12 in Santa Barbara.

I started out with a few 5-milers, some in my Brooks Beasts, some in my Vibram Five Fingers. I was quickly reminded how much more I like to run in the barefoot shoes. I'm faster in the them, and they're much less work. Trouble is, I have begun to believe that, for me, they're not suitable for 26.2 miles...so most of my work will be in the BB's.

I was ready to move up to 6's...when a co-worker got put on a jury, and I was called upon to do many of his 3am shifts. Long story shortened...that killed any spark I had...for more than a month. Not complaining...because the money's good. But all I could think to do when not working was to sleep.

On top of that distraction, I became engrossed in the Occupy movement, and on a couple of the days I had off, I chose to ride with the demonstrators, in Oakland and San Francisco, instead of running. I, regretfully, failed to take part in the anti-war and civil rights marches of the 1960s. I was not about to let this opportunity to be part of something so important slip by again.

Now it appears my early morning work shifts are mostly over, leaving me a frame of mind more conducive to putting in the miles. I still may have to march with the 99%...just because. But, I should start racking up some good distances now.

For those who wonder what it's like to be back on the running trails after so long off...in a word...it's hard.

I have long believed that marathon running is mostly mental. Recent runs have reminded me, however, that I acquired that viewpoint after getting myself into good enough physical shape to do the distance, and then maintaining the pace with mind games. I am currently back in the starting blocks, with oh-so-much work to do before my body gladly goes along with what my mind is asking of it now. I am thankful I don't have to re-learn the mental part.

Today I did a 7-miler, along the Berkeley shoreline, where my marathon training began just about 10 years ago. It was covered in delicious London-like fog, and equally chilly. At one point my beard and mustache had taken enough of the precipitation out of the surrounding air that it dripped from my face. I haven't felt that in a long time. It was good.

Right now it's all about distance. I'm not concerned with speed. Once I get to 10 milers, in a couple of weeks, I'll start on hills and speed.

Gotta run.