Sunday, January 01, 2006

Resolutions, Revelations, and Resuscitations

Rogers Sulphur 9.8mi

Here we go again. The month of December was pretty much a wash. I didn’t write, I didn’t map, and, most importantly, I didn’t run…much.
There were a few notable exceptions. I ran a nineteen-mile route along the northern section of the river from my house to Temple Terrace. I was woefully under prepared for this distance, and the last few miles almost killed me. I had my first brush with lactic acid buildup around mile sixteen. At first it came only every five or ten minutes, but it felt like an electric eel slithering from my knee to my ankle along my left calf. Gradually the frequency increased, and by mile eighteen I could only run for a minute or so before it would start and I would have to walk for two or three minutes. This was not the kind of pain that can be pushed through. When it started, I stopped. There was no other option. Did I mention that it was raining? Yeah, that too.
The nineteen-miler aside, the only things I did to excess were eat, drink, and smoke cigars. I think I was subconsciously following the training program developed in my last post. It was going to take a New Year’s resolution to get me back on track.
As much as I hate to admit it, I’m a fairly superstitious person, and I secretly believe in the power of New Year’s resolutions. While none of mine have ever been wholly successful I have, at one time or another, lost weight, quit smoking, and started exercising among other things. While the long-term efficacy of all of these may be debatable, something is always better than nothing.
Exercising on New Year’s Day makes me a little self conscious. New Year’s Day is to running what New Year’s Eve is to drinking. Amateur day.
A few years ago on New Year’s Day I worked a cardiac arrest on a very large man who had decided that he was going to take up running as his New Year’s resolution. In the chaos of the back of the ambulance I hadn’t realized that the patient’s wife was riding up front with my partner. I asked him to call the report in to the hospital (our hands being full with CPR, intubation, and drug administration). He hollered back to me that the hospital wanted to know what cardiac rhythm the patient was in, and everyone in the back yelled “asystole” in unison. It was then that I heard her sobbing. “I told him this exercise program was going to kill him,” she said to my partner.
I had planned to run a 5k this morning to help with my pace prediction for race day, but I decided that at this point I needed distance more than speed, and I set out for an unmapped ten-miler. The first few miles were fairly smooth, and somewhere around mile four I had a little epiphany. All of my worries about not writing and letting down whatever miniscule audience I might have were ridiculous. I had already accomplished what I had set out to do on this project. I didn’t need a map. I could decide how far or for how long I wanted to run, and I could be home within minutes of my desired time. I had done it many times now. These neighborhoods were totally foreign to me just a few months ago, and now I knew their eccentricities; their shortcuts and dead-ends, and even a few of the characters along the way.
I made a loop of the golf course among the sparse holiday golfers and headed back through Sulphur Springs where the remnants of last night’s fireworks echoed through the empty streets.


Blogger Ben said...

Don't worry about slacking, we all do that from time to time. Life is mostly ebb and flow; a wavelength. The same wavelength that will bring us sorrows and joys will one day redline into oblivion. Enjoy it (cigars, drinking) while can.

7:34 AM  
Anonymous stefanie said...

as part of your miniscule audience, i
have to say you have never let me down, only inspired me to start writing and thinking more. and after it's all over, and you take some time to figure out the next project, i'll be happy to read nothing, but your grocery lists. i, as a reader, have no demands to make. i'm just grateful for the invitation.

3:59 PM  

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