Hard to believe it’s Tuesday already. Wasn’t this a four-day Labor Day weekend? Saturday was a work day, Sunday was homework day, but Monday disappeared. Actually, I went downtown on Monday to an art festival and browsed through a bunch of stores looking for new running shoes, eventually giving up and ordering a pair online. Then I found two more local disc golf courses, both of them on NAU campus. This weekend I also put together another marathon training plan—the 4th or 5th one for me—for the PF Chang’s Marathon at Phoenix in January. Because I’m much better at formulating marathon plans than running them, I spent a proportionate amount of time planning and scheming for January. Glaucon’s maxim of having each person perform only the task for which they are best suited seems a bit flimsy for running marathons. Since I like planning and writing better than running, is planning the way for me to run marathons?
Unfortunately the answer appears to be a no. Even Apostle Paul says, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” Running sounds like a good way to approach a marathon, but do I run for the prize? Do the 30,000 runners at a marathon all begin with expectations of obtaining the prize for best performance? I suppose about 100 runners are vying for a first place finish, but what of the other 29,900? What they must be after is a personal prize -if you will, proof that they are alive, proof that they can execute a task—preferably in better form than their last try. Though the stopwatch and record play an important part in these events, runners don’t seem to be directly competing with one another. So I conclude that in a marathon market participation is more important than maximizing capital returns by specialization. A simpler way to state my thought is that lazy people don’t run races. I don’t like the class that puts me in…
(Since I’ve got a good start on the marathon topic, I might as well finish it. To do that I need to pull a little on the boring stuff.) Back in the day, I liked rollerblading in Central Park in New York City because I could go faster and longer there than anywhere else. The track was hilly and curvy, but I could still churn out an 18 mile tear on blades. My relative success was due to the energetic atmosphere. Speed skaters were all around me, and it somehow felt good to dodge pedestrians, carriages, and bicycles, mimic the pros, and feel the rush of wind all afternoon. It was the perfect performance mixture.
A marathon is similar, me thinks. Why else would ‘experts’ say that a person who can run 13 miles can finish a 26 mile marathon? I can do 13 miles, just not at a very competitive pace. I also don’t like the ‘shuffle’ that comes when the quads are shot, making it impossible to lift my feet off the ground between steps. It’s not a very victorious gait. Training and practice should help the shuffle gait wait longer before appearing. Riding the subway on marathon days in New York, I saw a lot of quivery people fresh off the course. They were sweaty and shivering at the same time, legs still pulsing pathetically, whole bodies wrapped in foil blankets. Of course these must have been the outliers, because running a marathon can’t be very difficult… The books all say it’s not.