“And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.”
A good, strong 18K run this morning. No, not outside. Are you nuts? It’s minus 20 out there. I ran the whole thing on the treadmill, where I could pretend it was June. I managed to get through 3 or 4 television shows, starting with Jeopardy and finishing with Hawaii 50. When I do a long workout in front of the TV, I tend to watch the shows in decreasing order of brainpower required by the viewer.
The temperatures this winter seem as harsh as last winter’s, which was the hardest I can remember. Last year, through those long, dark, snowy, ice-clad months it seemed as if the warm weather would never come back. Somehow, almost to our surprise, spring eventually came, as it will this year. My athletic goals for 2014 were modest, and maybe because of that, I met them all.
|My father, on top of the world.|
My personal motto for 2015 is “higher.” It was inspired by the photo at the top of this blog, which is of me on top of Gros Morne in Newfoundland. That picture in turn was inspired by a photo of my father, aged 80, reaching his arms to the sky on the summit of a mountain in Scotland. I think I chose the word because of its open qualities as a comparative. Higher than what? It also goes with several verbs I was originally considering to go along with it: reach higher, aim higher, fly higher. Then I decided to leave the verb part blank and to fill in the blanks as I go.
This year I've definitely raised my expectations. I hope to do several long road races, a couple of major triathlons including an Ironman, and maybe a cycling event or two before the snow flies again next fall. Lofty goals, but as Browning almost said: A man’s reach must exceed his grasp, else what’s a metaphor?
|Bundle up and get running|
I’m starting soon. Rather than hibernate and wait for spring, I am going to mush my way through the Around the Bay 30K race at the end of March. This race has been in existence a long time; in fact it’s the oldest road race in North America. It’s a tough course, and I can’t imagine what possessed the founders to hold it at the end of March, when the weather can be anything. The first year I ran it, I was underdressed, in shorts and no hat. When we got to the shore of Lake Ontario, my legs turned purple as the icy wind whipped around my thighs. I had to run into a convenience store and buy some tissues to stuff in my ears, which were filling up with snow.
The second time I ran, 17 years later, I had forgotten about the uphill slog that makes up much of the second half of the course. By the time I reached the finish line, my quads were done. I had to dash from the race straight back to Toronto for a rehearsal that day, and I treated the cast of the show I was in to the sight of me, hair matted, caked in mud and road salt, staggering around the stage like a drunken sailor.
This year I hope I’ll be ready for anything. Hope, plus a little planning and work, might be enough get me to the next peak. It'll be a challenging climb, but as someone said, that guy on top of the mountain didn't fall there.