Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Running on Full

An old friend sent me a message the other day after he’d heard that I’d be running my first marathon in the fall in Chicago. (I write he “heard” it as if it led CNN’s coverage that night. He saw it when I announced it on my Facebook page).

His message: “I once knew a guy named Michael Kapellas who told me this when I was training for a marathon: `Why would you want to do that? People shit themselves.’”

If only I could go back in time about 15 years and talk to that guy. He seems so wise.

By the time I got that message, it was too late to back out. Today marked the start of the third week of the 18-week training program that will have me ready for the race on October 10.

Having survived the first 79 miles of the training program, I’ve decided to begin my blog about the experience. These days I think it’s required of all marathon runners, especially first timers. You get the expensive shoes, the durable headphones, a book on running marathons, the running shorts that would make Daisy Duke blush and then you head over to blogger.com to stake your claim to your corner of the blogging universe.

Many of these blogs document the painful experience that is preparing for a marathon. I’m not very interested in telling you about how the training is going. Oh, you’ll get some of that, but the truth is I know it’s going to be hard. I know I’m going to be sore. I know there are going to be ups and downs, good runs and bad. But I’m not the first person to do this, won’t be the last and, frankly, won’t know enough about what the hell is happening to me or my body to offer any valuable insight on that front. Focusing on those inevitable struggles and the corresponding aches and pains seems rather uninteresting and I could imagine my reaction to reading day after day of it. I’d be shouting: “Then stop running!” at the screen.

Of course, it’s pretty presumptuous of me to believe that anybody would be interested in reading the personal stories that I’ve decided the blog will focus on instead. My response to that is, of course, “Then stop reading!” (This is, I realize, a great recipe for a well-read blog. Tell the readers to stop reading before any of them have started. Oh, well. I'm new.)

So while you’ll hear that I ran eight miles today, I’m more interested it writing about what I was thinking about while doing that running and, more specifically, just as the blog’s name suggests, what one of the songs that I heard on my iPod made me think about. The blog will be a running musical memoir in several senses of the phrase. You’ll meet people and events from my life as well as any other type of memory that happens to get, uh, jogged by what I’m hearing in my headphones.

Here’s hoping it’s an enjoyable, poop-free journey, all the way to the finish line on October 10.

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