Tuesday, 7 October 2008

The waiting game

My wife Elissa is 29 weeks pregnant at the moment but in her pre-impregnated state was no stranger to running herself. In fact, as she often likes to remind me, her running pedigree is a lot more distinguished than mine stretching back, as it does, over twenty years. She doesn’t say so exactly, but I think it frustrates her sometimes to see me lacing up and leaving our family behind when her own exercise ambitions await our new arrival. And I can sympathise with how she feels. My marathon has had a lengthy gestation period of its own. I signed up and began training in early February and the process will eventually come to fruition in less than two weeks time. The big day has been a shadow on the horizon for a long time now and I’ve run that race so many times in my head that it exhausts me to think of it. The French have an excellent term for it: the idee fixe. A fixed idea, an obsession that dominates all other thoughts. For too long now my primary concerns have been for training, nutrition and recovery and the minutiae of everday life has been lost. To Elissa certainly, it has become boring. The obsession of self: it’s wearing, especially for me! But…when I cross the finish line what then? When the cheering has ended, the blisters have healed and my medal rests in some forgotten drawer, what then? I hope I will feel like a runner and not a one-race johnny: that it is a beginning and not an end. I hope that running – second nature to me now – will assume its proper priority in my life. I hope that when Elissa pulls her lycra back on she will be mindful of the immortal tag line from Highlander: There can only be one! ...You know I'm joking Honey

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