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April 26, 2007

Crazy in Love

(Admin note: I sat down to organize some final thoughts before Sunday’s race, and before I knew it, out came this post that was way more philosophical and sentimental than I anticipated. I swear, I turn into a lunatic when I’m tapering.

Anyway, this is my last post before Big Sur. See you on the other side.)


This may sound strange, but I’m starting to remember why I love the marathon. Then again, maybe it’s not so strange - considering that I pretty much predicted (in this post) that this would happen.

At the beginning of the week I wrote about how Big Sur kind of snuck up on me, and it was the truth. I was so focused on Wildflower and tri-training that I hadn’t really considered what I’d do to prepare for this weekend’s marathon. I maintained a high volume of training until just the past several days, when I started tapering as a token acknowledgement of the task at hand on Sunday.

Of course, my mind became excessively idle once I started tapering (as evidenced by back-to-back 1200-word posts), and I spent more time thinking about Big Sur. I looked at the race website for the first time in almost two months. I re-read old newspaper articles I have written about the race. I scanned blog posts from others who were preparing for this year’s race. And as I did, I sensed all of my burning ambitions and stubborn insecurities and fond memories bubbling to the surface again, and they felt just as strong as ever.

Gradually, it hit me: Big Sur is my race. It’s shaped and defined me more than any other event over the past decade. It’s become a part of me.

Year after year, this race presents me with a challenge (sub-three hours) that is perfectly situated between unattainable and commonplace, in an event (the marathon) that is - for too many reasons to list here - singularly dear to my heart, in a location (the Big Sur coastline) that is equal parts inspirational and humbling. And it all takes place within 20 minutes of my house.

Every time I think about it, it seems like it’s simply part of the grand design for me to have settled down on the Monterey Peninsula, and to have participated in this race year after year. In which case, it’s almost disrespectful to turn my back on it, or give it anything less than my best effort.

It’s a gift for me to be a runner, and a gift to live where I do, and a gift to have such a fantastic race right outside my door. Under those circumstances - as Steve Prefontaine famously said - to give anything less than my best is to sacrifice the gift.

So I want to run well at Big Sur. Whether that means going under three hours, or having a strong run that comes up a bit short, or facing difficult conditions and coming in much slower, doesn’t really matter. I want to give an effort I can be proud of - without making excuses afterward about how I didn’t want to push very hard, or how I was saving myself for another event on another day.

In other words, I’m not going to worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow has enough worries of its own.

When it comes to my preparation for Wildflower, going for broke at Big Sur is a pretty crazy strategy. But I guess love makes you do crazy things.


Mike 4/26/07, 11:52 PM  

Donald- awesome post! Your finish times on that tough Big Sur course are a testament to your running strength. Hats off to you for pushing hard there vs. finding a flatter / faster course.

Kick Arse this weekend- we'll be looking forward to your report!

Thomas 4/27/07, 3:29 AM  

Good Luck with Big Sur.

(And I used to think "your" race was Dipsea)

Backofpack 4/27/07, 5:17 AM  

I think Thomas is right - you've got two loves, Big Sur and Dipsea. Like twins...oh, I hate to think where that thought might take you.

Best of luck!

olga 4/27/07, 7:33 AM  

Aww, isn't she beautiful...and aren't you a high-school pimpled teen boy who can't stop thinking about her even if she pays little attention back to you...well, she does teese you a lot:)
Awesome post, Donald! Looking forward Monday's post and will be thinking of you as I struggle!

angie's pink fuzzy 4/27/07, 7:34 AM  

good luck at "your" race. and geez, michelle and thomas are right 'bout the twins... ;)

(love the header)

stronger 4/27/07, 2:22 PM  

GO get a little CRAZY!

rick 4/27/07, 9:53 PM  

Wildflower is a good 7 days after Big Sur, Go For It!:) Crazy is relative, sounds like a good taper workout. I hope you have a great time and have no regrets after you cross the finish line. It will be like spending time with an old friend, getting her blessings before you head out on a different challenge.

As for your experiment. Last year I averaged 50-55 miles per week and was more than fine. PR'ed in some races. This year that has dropped even more to 40-45 and I'm curious myself to see how it affects my running. Looking forward to the results from Big Sur.

Guy that is one beautiful bike. My friend Rob has a similar bike, he says it isn't the P2 but the frame is very similar, same color, same graphics. Beautiful, speaking of which mine needs some TLC right now in preparation for tomorrow's practice. Nice, nice bike. As for the tires...they look like super light and fast racing tires, which means that there's not a whole lot of rubber there. Imho, after the race I'd switch them out for some good training tires like Continentals and save these baby's for the races.

Bruce 4/28/07, 3:41 AM  

All the best for Big Sur!

jeanne 4/28/07, 4:15 AM  

Good luck at Big Sur! Can't wait to read all about it. It is SUCH a gift to live where you do.

Sarah 4/28/07, 7:39 AM  

Have a great time at Big Sur! I know you won't give less than 100% : )

Annette 4/28/07, 11:10 AM  

I don't think you can leave your first love. . . come back to running! :)

I can't wait to read your race report. I hope the love of your life treats you well. ;)

Dori 4/29/07, 7:25 AM  

Sending good thoughts your way for today's race, Donald. That was a beautiful post. You may have me signing up for BSIM next year.

momo 4/29/07, 8:05 AM  

sunday morning - just thinking about your run and hoping the race is going GREAT!

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