Wednesday, November 17, 2010

do or do not. there is no try. (unless you're really tired)

Let me just start by saying I am a fundamentally lazy man. The last time I physically exerted myself for a period of more than - oh let's say: 45 minutes? - straight was 1989, when I successfully maintained the illusion of exercise under the aegis of the least physically challenging sport I could find in high school - fencing (epee, thank you very much). What that means is there's twenty one years of accumulated mcdonalds, taco bell, bad posture, television viewing and xbox/wii/playstation-induced muscle atrophy that help to shape my physical condition into the prototype of modern suburban manhood that it is.

I dont say this to be disparaging, or self-effacing, or derisive. i say it to establish what we in the business of science call a baseline. I am about to embark on a longitudinal experiment of dubious empirical value but of significant personal value. It's always been something I've wanted to do - been on my bucketlist, as it were.. but honestly, it never occurred to me that I would realistically be able to attain the goal. I am still not sure if I can or will. but I am going to try (in your face, Yoda!).

Several events in the last few weeks have led me to this decision. First, I saw this video of a guy who put his mind to it, and did it. Of particular note in his very moving, emotionally resonant and ultimately triumphant story of personal motivation was the fact that he was way fatter than I am when he started. If *that* super-sized venti tub of lard can do it, well then by golly, *this* grande tub of lard can do it too!

Then I heard about several personal acquaintances (students, friends, my sister-in-law) who were able to do it. Then my friend Martin said he ran the clovis marathon this past weekend and he encouraged me to go for it. He seems to think it is reasonable to run one after training for a year. I am not sure he has an accurate picture of my baseline, but I like his enthusiasm.

So, here's what I am going to do. It's a multipronged approach. I am committing to putting in the effort of a year's worth of training for a marathon. I am starting this blog and publicizing it widely so I have the benefit of peer pressure to keep me to it. I am making a schedule for the next 52 weeks.. It will start slow (as in "day 1: walk around the block. now rest for a couple of days"). It will build slow, but peak with me running the Clovis marathon in 2011. If I follow it and end up running less than a marathon but more than, say, 10 miles, I will be more than happy with the result. I will also try not to think of the fate of Phidippides.

here we go!
I will make occasional blog posts to keep you all up-to-date with the latest part of my body that hurts.


  1. love it! best of luck!

    ... wondering if you'd post your "plan". does it include a diet adjustment or will you stick with the mcdonalds/taco bell thing?

    arielle. :)

  2. I have all of the faith in the world in you. And I'd say a lot of people who "run" a marathon, don't run the whole thing. I definitely did not. I think this is so awesome. If you need any encouragement or advice, let me know!! Actually, you don't need to ask for the encouragement :)