As has been frequently suggested, I am insane.
Although the majority of the people I knew in high school have receded from memory, some of them would remember the madness of the days I ran the Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon. Back in the day I was an athlete and a band geek, and these two lives collided most forcefully on one day of the year: one week before the Derby, on the day our concert band attended the annual contest and also the day of the miniMarathon. The miniMarathon began at around 8 in the morning, and I was due to perform in the contest (principle clarinet two years out of three) sometime around late morning/early afternoon. Anyone in their right mind, anyone who possesses the ability to make a choice would have just "done the right thing" and gone to the band contest. But I wished desperately to prove myself and I wanted to run the 13.1-mile race to prove to the other tracksters that I could, and that I could do something they couldn't. Or, at least, most of them. So I did both. And it worked, three years in a row.
The reason this anecdote has bearing on the present is that on April 30 I am running the Derby Festival Marathon, all 26.2 glorious and painful miles of it, and I have just found out that Mark's fraternity formal is on the same day. A longer race, a bigger conflict. Bigger because I want to be there for Mark on his final RCB (especially since he didn't have a date for his first one). The formal itself not massively important to him, or to me, especially since I no longer have many friends there, but regardless I feel pretty strongly about it. Skipping the race is out of the question, and not just because I've already sunk $60 on it. So...here we go again. Why not keep up the tradition? I will do both. I figure, barring serious injury or breakdown on the road, that I can make it to Galesburg, perhaps in time for dinner. Yeah...so, I'm crazy.
In a way, though, I think my marathon will benefit from this sudden boost in motivation. Now I am running for something other than myself. Now I have a reason to finish in 4 hours rather than 5 hours. Already the lift has helped me; my 20-miler yesterday lost its edge in the face of my new resolve. And truly, it wasn't that bad. My knees didn't hurt at all, and all I had was the usual requisite soreness. The third and last 20-miler, in two weeks, will be in new shoes (broken in, of course), and the marathon will be run in those shoes, which by then should have no more than 50 or 60 miles on them. I've been putting in a lot of reps on the sex machine too (the hip adductor/abductor), so hopefully the twin calamities of foot/hip pain will be avoided and I'll have an injury-free race.
I even changed my picture to one of me finishing the Chicago Distance Classic a couple of years ago. I usually hate pictures of myself running, but this is one of two or three that I don't mind so much. It makes me feel strong and fast and fit. And so the month of April will be dedicated to gearing up for this marathon.
(In part, changing the picture was because the old one really just isn't me, at all. And, weirdly, the person who took it and the person it was taken with no longer speak to me, a fact which continues to cause some pain. Perhaps, then, better to forget it.)