“Oh sh*t man, sorry to hear that.” Text from a buddy who had previously lived in China, after I told him the World Championships Marathon would be in Beijing in the middle of August, arguably the hottest month of the year.
After being offered the spot my coach and I discussed the potential ramifications as well as potential benefits that come along with the decision to run in this monumental race. The negative is that, flat out, it is going to suck. Probably why my friend is advising against it. Summer heat, humidity and pollution are a recipe for zero fun, sir. However, after discussing and weighing the negatives and positives, we decided to go for it. The positives are many, and the big negative is that the race itself is going to be extremely challenging physically and mentally, but that’s why we do this sport, right? Right. (I’m working on my positive self-affirmations… Normally the voice in my head when things get tough is a crass, oppressive and foul mouthed self deprecator.)
Originally the plan was to do a good amount of the training segment in Flagstaff, where I am very comfortable and confident. My Southern California weather-weenie DNA makes training in adverse conditions challenging. I do alright in colder weather, as you can layer up. But when it comes to heat and humidity there’s only a certain level of nakedness you can get to before the authorities are called on you, and Oklahoma probably doesn’t rank near the top of the country in “dudes in short shorts tolerance”. So Flagstaff seemed like the clear choice to go for training. Unfortunately some factors outside of my control forced me to stay in Oklahoma for the majority of the segment. Positives of training in Oklahoma are also the negatives. It’s hot and humid, like Beijing. It will challenge me physically and mentally but that’s why we do this sport, right? Right.
I’ve heard it said that if you’re good enough at something you won’t have to talk about it, others will. Clearly I’m not at that point as evidenced by this blog I’m writing about myself. I am kind of at the level that if I have kids in the future I will eventually tell them, “You know, back before your dad was so out of shape he was a pretty good runner.” That schtick, I imagine, will get old quickly. Coming from their dad, it’s boringness will certainly lose out to whatever futuristic device is devouring their attention at the time. The level of running I want to get to is one that will lead to other people telling my potential future kids, “You know, back when your dad’s diet didn’t consist so largely of Budweiser and Oreos and he didn’t look 11 months pregnant, there was a time when he competed with the best guys in the world.” Potentially just as boring but hopefully less self-aggrandizing. The world championships will give me the opportunity for scenario number two, and like my future physique that is something I will not be taking lightly.