I was thinking about writing a running diary for each week of ‘racing pro,’ like the one I wrote for the run-up to Kona. Since people really liked that one and it was probably the best thing I wrote last year. But. Well. There’s not a ton to say day after day. Train, sleep, make money sometimes, train more. So, instead, I’m going to do a sum-up of each week. Some weeks may be more straight-forward. Some may be less, depending on how the week went. We’ll see. This is the end of Week 1.
Almost all of my family, besides my sister, live in the Midwest or the South. And there is, then, a permeating sense that I am far away on my own, that California is a mysterious and strange place, that who even knows what happens out here. It’s not just my family. It’s a notion that’s in the very bones of our state. California as metaphor, as destination, heading west to create a new life, a new world. Back in the day, it would have taken weeks for news to get to DC and for any response to make its way back, to the end of the train line. And, so, even in the age of cheap Southwest flights and high-speed wifi, this feeling persists.
Our state is flooding right now. It’s been a bad, rough winter and it’s not over. The rain comes and the sea rises and there are roads that are underwater every time it’s high tide now. But no matter how tightly we grab it, we can’t hold on to the rain. It destroys our houses and swallows our cars in 20-foot sinkholes and then it’s gone when we need it.
It’s hard not to feel all on our own lately. We will always have to take care of ourselves.
I don’t know if any of this has anything to do with training. Maybe it doesn’t. Other than the overwhelming sense of sadness — it wears on you — and the tendency to give my money to people at random lately. Not in any organized fashion, not something I’d recommend, just when I feel like someone needs it. Or maybe simply to make myself feel like we’re not all on our own.
Yesterday, I went for my medium-long run at the state park by my house, in the rain and the mud. There was no one else out. I climbed over trees and through puddles. And it was almost soul-cleansing. But also exhausting.
The big question this week has been when and if I should go through with this procedure to (probably) fix the electrical arrhythmia I’ve had since I was a kid. The arrhythmia isn’t dangerous and it’s not necessarily related to training. It’s just that you’re far more likely to notice your heartrate suddenly skyrocketing 60-70 beats/minute if it happens when you’re swimming. And now that I’m finally seeing The Expert Guy at Stanford, I feel relatively confident about his diagnosis. Eventually, I’m sure I’ll go through with the whole ‘let’s shock your heart while you’re awake and then fry the spot that’s misfiring’ thing. But. But.
If there’s a chance I’m not going to bounce back quickly, if there’s a chance I’ll just have to move on from serious sports afterwards and go back to lifestyle training and focusing on my career in publishing or whatever, if there’s a chance I’d wreck myself for the season without enough recovery time, then I’d rather wait until after the season. If there’s a chance I’m only going to get one year at this, then I want to have my one year.