Marathon Journal: 12/9/16


My week of running has been all about recycling. I guess in some ways it’s about renewal and regeneration, which seem like byproducts of recycling, so I’ll stick with the theme of recycling for the training this week.

I was only willing to run twice as I have struggled with the time change and the addition of coaching to my schedule. All of you who are working serious hours have every right to complain and I think it’s ridiculous that I’m even suggesting a couple of extra hours a day can make that big of a difference in my energy levels, but I think it’s true. I’m tired and like my friend said, “Your head is full of Xs and Os.” That could be. I’ve been going through old memories of plays from my high school years and making changes to them for my team.


Still, though, I feel like the whole energy thing is an issue of recycling. Fortunately, on the two runs, I did complete, I felt fresh. That must mean that my body is doing a good job of managing the energy during the runs. While I believe the research on lactic acid and fatigue may be changing since my exercise physiology days in college, I’m not feeling the burn once attributed to lactic acid. Maybe I’m even able to convert a bit of it to usable energy. Chalk that up to some positive adaptation due to my training. Enough of that, it’s too much like school.

Both runs this week were on the track where I’ll be doing the marathon. I did nine miles in total and due to a glitch in the seven-day schedule, even though I ran on consecutive days, the laps were run in the same direction. Sundays and Mondays are both counterclockwise days which meant that I was all NASCAR for nine miles.

At the starting line, there are two folding chairs and hooks for coats. The chairs, originally designed for sitting, are more often home to phones and water bottles for people who forget that some of us might need to sit and change shoes. I prefer to put my stuff in a pile inside the crook of an I-beam, so others might find a proper use for the chair, but I digress.

The first straightaway is uneventful. Looking ahead yields nothing but a white wall that is little more than a basketball court away. There is a clock three- quarters of the way down, but it is best ignored for as long as possible. Windows fill the first short side and allow an afternoon sun that can be brutal. This is rarely a problem since I’m running in the early mornings. The start of the third curve features a heavy bag that gets more use as a bumper for the little kids than as a tool for a workout in the sweet science. Turning onto the long side of the track yields nothing of any interest. Finally, the last turn is where I have to pay attention because an abacus juts out from the wall and right at the start line is a beautiful blue recycling bin.

That’s right, a recycling bin. Its blue stands out against the beige colored wall without one bit of camouflage. When I come around the corner, the bin has an energy that draws me along and provides a bit of comfort for however many laps are waiting. Maybe it’s the blue or it could be the recycling symbol, but this week I was drawn to the bin with an awareness that I had not previously recognized.

Could it be that in my advancing age I’m wondering how to get the most out of whatever I have left? Is the recycling bin a metaphor for experience and using those past marathons to help me get through this one? Am I just lost in the thoughts of mounting indecision and feelings of landfill refuse? I don’t know about all that, but as I trudge along the track, these are the things that creep into my head. All of this stuff that we do, school, work, marriage, family, friendships, do they have a purpose or meaning if we never think about them? Aren’t we supposed to think about the people in our lives and find a compromise when there are disagreements? Shouldn’t we reflect on our experiences and look for connections and find meaning in what we are doing? Like Luke, from Cool Hand Luke, sometimes I feel like, “I’m just standing in the rain talking to myself.” Only now, it’s running around the track thinking to myself.

Some of the people I know would say that I think too much and that my quest to “just be” gets lost in all of the reflection that goes on in my head. I think it’s possible to be in the present moment and think about the moment that just passed. Certainly, there is a bit of conflict in the dueling moments, but without looking back, we can’t see where we have been and make changes to what we do or where we go. There goes the clock… The punching bag… Ahhhh, the recycling bin!

And the laps keep going…

The thoughts keep coming…

And the lonely training that is running a marathon keeps going. Maybe I should join in with the 5:00 AM group. They do that seven-mile run to 926 and back. It’s early, maybe even too early for thinking. I used to run with them, so I guess starting again would be some sort of recycling…

Thank you for reading about my little marathon journey. Remember, this is about finding purpose in the run. I also have a practical purpose of raising funds for charity. My charity is the Kennett Area YMCA. If you would like to donate to their fund the link is below. However, any charity could benefit from a donation, so if you want to donate somewhere else, I’d love that just as much.

Kennett Area YMCA Donate-Giving


  1. Wow, this is amazing. Thank you so much for your kind words. I often think of RJP and wonder what happened to everyone. They were the best working years of my life and I hope you got half as much from me as I did working in the program. I’m laughing that you thought me “quirky” and love that you thought enough of your experience to comment on my blog. I hope all is well for you and that your journey is all that you hope for.

  2. It’s been a while. I recently had a spell when i was going through my brain picking out the people that have made an impact on me, mainly through High school or college. so i used a good search engine to see what some of them were up to, and I stumbled upon your blog here. It’s been a while since the days of rising juniors. Listening to the insights of you and some of the other leaders really made me look at things differently. I must say that you always had a fun quirky side to you, but it was always thought provoking and it seemed as though you always had something else to offer. Reading your blog has been an entertaining experience. Getting to know a lot about you and your experiences, paints an even better picture of who you are and where you came from. Best of luck on your marathon. running one with hundreds of others is painful enough. running 26.2 miles around a .083 mile track by yourself seems ludicrous and downright cruel to your mental health.

  3. You’re welcome Chris, thanks for giving my regards to the recycling bin. Soylent Green is an old scifi thriller, 1973 and it will look every part of ’73. It’s got some big names, Charlton Heston and Edward G. Robinson. Not sure it should be at the top of your “To Do List”, maybe at the bottom. Thanks, have a great weekend too. ~ Mia

  4. Mia, thank you, but now you’re giving me homework? I have not seen Soylent Green and will be looking for it. The recycling bin never moves, so I’ll give it your regards. Have a great weekend. -Chris

  5. Go Chris! I had a little chuckle when I read “feelings of landfill refuse”, immediately thought of the movie, “Soylent Green”, I know a bit of a leap. Continued success with your training, give the beautiful blue recycling bin a tap next time you run by it for me! Have a good evening and a great Friday. Take care. ~ Mia

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