Thanksgiving Day. I start out solo at 6:45 a.m., still dark, temps in the mid-30's. A blister that hindered my overall training in previous weeks also deterred me from the hill training I'd planned on the Rickenbacker bridge. So the constant rolling hills took a lot of energy.
Heading to the turnaround on Peachtree Road. No, wait, Peachtree Industrial. Or Peachtree Boulevard? Maybe Peachtree Boulevard Drive—Peachtree AVENUE—ahh, forget it.
Most of the crowd had passed me by the time I made the north turnaround on Peachtree SomethingOrOther. Nice long downhill over miles 18-20 before Cardiac Hill. Then I had just a few more miles through a mostly deserted downtown.
Not major landmarks. But definitely unique,
Almost done. Soon I'll be giving thanks
• 11/06/05 Darkside Marathon (6:58:27)
Some 18 months after completing my 50&DC marathon/50K circuit, I decided to try the Darkside Marathon in Atlanta’s suburban Peachtree City. (The “Darkside” name for the sponsoring running club and the race comes first from many of the members’ running in early morning, before sunrise, and only secondarily from any George Lucas influence.) Given some recent weight loss and good training, I felt quite confident that I would run more of the distance than usual.
Maybe 20 participants gathered for the 50K while the rest of us walked to the separate start line for the marathon. The two events would begin simultaneously and run counterclockwise on the same asphalt loop (just under 5.18 miles), part of a trail system throughout Peachtree City. Marathoners will complete five loops beyond the extra segment at the start; 50K participants go six laps.
Pleasant morning air, probably 60ish—a little warm, but tolerable. Overcast skies. I set out cautiously because I don’t know what to expect with my new prosthesis. I do the first loop just walking briskly, not even racewalking, to assess the fit. Before completing even this first time around, already I felt some growing discomfort from friction at the distal end of my stump.
This sort of distal early warning I normally don’t feel until at least the late teen miles. Sometimes I don’t have it at all. Today it begins with over twenty miles to go.
Grounds for quitting? Not quite yet. Legitimate concern, a little anxiety? Yes. My cautious optimism became more cautious and less optimism. I quickly discarded my hopes of jogging more of today’s course. I’d need to settle for walking it all. OK, I can live with that.
But into my second loop, my attitude begins to falter, partly from the physical distress of blistering, partly due to other personal issues. I find myself thinking, screw you, Nike: Just don’t do it. Just drop out.
Today I’ll expend far too much mental energy just fighting that negativism.
Repeating the loop brings to mind T. S. Eliot, from Little Gidding:
What we call the beginning is often the end
We shall not cease from exploration