December 3, 2013

Opportunity Cost

Reading a lot about running lately, as I do, because I am somewhat obsessive, or rather, decidedly so, and unable to moderate my interest in things, to limit it to the mere indulgence in the act itself. And so I find myself ordering long out-of-print books by Osler and Henderson, digging up Let's Run threads about and by the late John "Hadd" Walsh, and generally spending far too much time on something I already spend far too much time on.

Though to be honest, it's not so much the time, as the mental energy, the neurosis, the feeling that, on every run, there is something else I should be doing, which is not to say not running, but rather running differently, faster, longer, etc., somehow other than what I am. Progress is nice and I've enjoyed a year of it, but how can you know, really know, if what you're doing is best, is optimal, isn't leaving, in Hadd's words, toothpaste in the tube?

You don't know, and crucially, can't. So you fret, and you read, and you fret even while plowing through a 40 mile weekend, and then a 15 mile Monday, because it was all rather slow, wasn't it? Well, except for the five 400s I managed on Saturday, on something of an urge, and the few miles on Sunday spent around half marathon pace, and then the hills on Monday. All of the miles, other than those, were really rather easy. Easy and slow. And so those other things happened, though perhaps they should not have, or perhaps there should have been more. Perhaps all this volume is silly or perhaps it is wholly insufficient.

I'd say that I digress, except that this, whatever this is, really, is the point. And I should also say that this, this point, if I'm going to call it that, is a happy one, or at worst, necessary, the result of some rather profound need to obsess, not over things, but a thing, that I've got. So, if not this, then something else. Perhaps better, but probably not. This, at least, is an obsession society has decided one ought to be congratulated for, even if they will suggest, kindly and gently, that we could, perhaps, eat just a little more.

But it's good, really, and best at the end of all those miles, deeply and thoroughly bonked, damp with effort and bliss. Running the sort of volume that I presently do may not, ultimately, make me fast (wherever that line is, it's hard to imagine I've crossed it), or even faster. But it feels good, always. And that's not nothing.


  1. Are you a barista?
    Have you considered a coach?

    1. Was, from 18-25. Hence the name of the blog, and the huge backlog of coffee related writings. I left that line of work for a slightly larger and steadier paycheck at Allen Press, proofreading academic journals. As for coaching, I don't doubt it would probably help, however, I'm married to my neurosis, in a sense. Even if I had someone writing me a schedule, I'd spend all day wondering - not if it's good enough, or if it will work - but if it's optimal. And then there's the money. The loose plan is to do my spring marathon on my recklessly impulsive plan, to establish a road marathon baseline. If I want to take another, more structured crack, in the fall, then that may happen.