The Right Wrong Way

Day 44: Which way is the right way?

(iPhone photo #44 in my 2012 365+1 project)

I ran across this site called Marathon Makeover, and I thought, that’s it! This is what I’ve been trying to do. I want to go from exercising exactly 0 miles per day to having the capacity to complete a marathon (26 miles?). With the Marathon Makeover program, they challenge you to get in shape to run/walk a marathon within 40 weeks. That’s about the amount of time I thought it would take me to reach the point of walking more than 20 miles in a single day (one of my current goals).

There is a local chapter of MM, and I would consider joining, but I prefer to do things my own way — largely incorrectly and mostly against medical advice. Mainly I’m just afraid that showing up for meetings would require all of the good intentions I have to put into this, and I’d have nothing left to devote to the actual exercise.

Right now I’m just working on reaching the point where I can walk the length of a marathon spread out over the course of a whole week. If I can do that without killing myself or taking the whole next week off work, then I’ll start worrying about how to make it to a new goal.

To walk 26 miles in a week, I’d need to walk 4 miles for 4 days and 5 miles for 2 days. That would allow for one day off per week. You’ve got to have a day off. Even Moses took a day off each week from walking across the desert, and the swelling in your ankles will never go down if you don’t prop your feet up in front of a Buffy marathon every once in a while.

I have no trouble walking four miles at a time. I really don’t have any trouble walking five miles at a time. You’d think it would be a piece of cake to walk four or five miles a day every day in that case. On the contrary, I am here to tell you that this is the hardest thing I’ve ever attempted. Today I walked 2.6 miles. I quit more than a mile and half away from my goal for the day. I quit, not because I was too tired to keep going (though Mondays are kind of rough), but because I was wet and cold. It started raining while I was out on my walk. It was 47 degrees, and my hair was soaked, and I was afraid someone would see me and call my mother to report that I was bedraggled and making bad decisions.

Sometimes there’s nothing more you can do than stop at 2.6 when you meant to go for 4. But this is just the exception, right? This doesn’t happen every day. This is just the rare glitch in an otherwise smooth plan.

Wrong, wronger, and wrongest.

Every day is the hard day. The easy day is the rare exception.

Possibly this means I should just be okay with being a 2.6 kind of walker and give up the fantasies of one day starting out from Georgia and hiking north through three or four states. Possibly. But if I ever reach the point where I can walk ten miles at a time on a trail right near my house, that will be about seven miles more than I’ve ever been able to walk in one day before. They say it’s not the destination but the journey that matters (they being Ralph Waldo Emerson and Aerosmith if not a million or so others). I say it’s not the journey so much as the dream.

Right or wrong, reality or fiction, I will go somewhere this year if for no other reason than because I have stared down the road.

Here’s to getting up and trying again tomorrow. Here’s to sunny skies. Here’s to 4-6 miles and a Buffy rerun at the end of the day.