Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'm the only runner I know in Korea and I generally do a pretty good job of limiting running conversation to pointing out remote locations I've run to and asking people if they want to run with me. That is, of course, unless someone asks a question like "do you run in the winter?" in which case I regale them with story after story of frozen-beard runs in Whitehorse and the time I won a race in a New Year's Day blizzard. Still, story after story about my misadventures on the roads are really no different from story after story about my childhood in Pakistan or Alexander of Aphrodisias, or the time I tried to explain the word 'confession' to some Koreans by referencing Augustine.

Reading this article, of course, was eye-popping, probably the most shocking thing I'll read related to Sunday's New York Marathon all week. It's usually newer runners who think others care about the details of their long run, their marathon, or whether blisters. Worse still is seeking reassurance from people who know absolutely nothing about the sport.

What's bizarre are those in-between people, the ones who aren't very good at running, but let it dominate their lives, such as Cohen. Cohen is running as many as 80 miles a week to run a 3:20 marathon, about as incommensurate as taking 6 years to finish high school unless you're a woman. Still more comical is how running has completely eliminated the rest of his life, and how tragically it did so: he bought a $900 muscle stimulator (I have no idea what that does), takes ice baths, is a germophobe and a nutrition fanatic in the literal sense of the term. This is like watching a remedial student buy or copy an unrelated essay off the Internet in hopes of acing a course.

The only thing I endorse are his stern warnings about the Willis Avenue Bridge in New York, marking the 20-mile mark of the marathon, the sort of warnings I issue regularly to anyone in earshot. The only thing I would add to this would be to remind the children that the last six miles will put the fear of God back into you. That is, of course, if the first 20 didn't do it to you.

No comments: