The Kandahar Marathon: Week Thirty-Nine

The Kandahar Marathon: Week Thirty-Nine

DEAR FRIENDS:

AS I ENTER THE FOURTH QUARTER OF A YEAR DEFINED LARGELY BY REDEFINING MYSELF AS A RUNNER, I WANT TO SAY THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT. I ALSO ASK THAT YOU CONSIDER SPONSORING ME FOR THE REMAINING THREE MONTHS OF 2022. FROM NOW THROUGH DECEMBER 31, I HOPE TO RUN THREE MORE MARATHONS, AS MANY MORE HALFS, AND RACK UP ANOTHER 600 MILES. WILL YOU PLEASE JOIN ME? IF YOU PLEDGE ME A PENNY, A NICKEL, OR WHATEVER YOU CAN SPARE BY THE MILE, I’LL DO THE RUNNING WHILE YOU PROVIDE THE MOTIVATION, AND TOGETHER WE’LL RAISE AS MUCH MONEY AS POSSIBLE TO HELP SUPPORT AFGHAN REFUGEES RESETTLING IN NEBRASKA. AS ALWAYS, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT.

YOUR FRIEND,

MARK

“No marathon gets easier later. The halfway point only marks the end of the beginning.”

~Joe Henderson

I took Monday off after running the Heartland Marathon. I thought about getting some miles in to test the idea that I really was capable of pounding pavement again the day after a full, but instead opted to err on the side of caution and allow my body an extra day to recover. Tuesday I ran an easy seven miles and felt fine doing it. Wednesday I got ten more in, but felt not only heavy, but also achy and fatigued. I took Thursday off, and ran five at an easy pace on the treadmill Friday, wrapping up September with 201 miles and around 1,830 on the year—on pace for an average of more than 200 per month if I can keep it up during the final quarter. That’s a big if.

Later Friday morning, I took my sick son to my office because I had to get some work done, and then he tagged along with me to the grocery store where I got a Covid booster and a flu shot. We then attended a cross country meet where the team I used to coach was competing. We met one of my former runners and students there, a young lady who used to babysit my kids, and the three of us took in the races. North’s runners did well and it brough me a great deal of joy to cheer them on. Before the third of four races had ended, my son complained of being tired and I took him home to rest. Poor kid.

Saturday, the first of October, I went out for eleven miles. At the six-mile mark where I turned around, my watch showed 5.9, but when I was halfway back it read 6.0. Damn it. My Garmin is so old that the rubber watchband is rubbed completely smooth, but it has always been reliable… until now. Note to self: start saving money. Those darn GPS watches are expensive. Maybe I’ll get one with a better heartrate monitor this time.

I woke up Sunday morning feeling sick, and wondering if it was a hangover from one of my shots or, instead, if I had caught what my son has been carrying around all week. Monday morning I would board a flight for San Francisco to do research for my new book for the next two weeks, so Sunday was my last chance to hang out with the family for quite some time. And upon that realization, I stopped writing and set out to take advantage of the day with my family.