A friend of mine is, essentially, Barney Stinson. Or at least, I think he’d like to be. He sees himself as a ladies man and he may well be. He doesn’t have the cheekbones of Neil Patrick Harris nor the lean physique. He does, though, high-five and actually uses phrases like ‘suit up’ in conversation, bless him. And now, I’m running with him.
As I might have mentioned before, I jog on a semi-regular basis. I do fun runs too (not a contradiction in terms, although they can feel like it by the three-quarter mark), and this year I intended to run a half-marathon. My associate, meanwhile, has up until recently not done any jogging to speak of. His stamina is counted in Scotches rather than kilometres. Despite this, he wants to run a marathon this year. To carry on his Stinsonesque persona, his approach to training initially boiled down to this. Marathon-running, from his perspective, is something that to use as a story hook in late-night tale-telling. I suggested he try a half-marathon, but that’s apparently only worth half a story – who brags about doing something 50% and then stopping?
As such, I’ve found myself practising this year for a run of unknown length. My friend and I now do laps of the Tan – one of Melbourne’s more popular running tracks – most weekends. His lack of endurance was obvious in the first week or so, and for a little while I thought that would safely hedge our collective bets back to a half-marathon. But his health has improved significantly already and I fear that, come October, I will find myself debating whether to run 21km or 42. Because, if he can do it then why shouldn’t I? (That’s right, because I’m sane.)
His gains aside, an improvement of being able to run 4km and feel like you’re dying versus being able to run it without keeling over… well, that’s still a light-year from running 42km and surviving. And in some ways I hope that we don’t quite get there, this year. My friend is in Sales, and explained to me that the boom-and-bust, something-for-nothing attitude that often afflicts his industry had, undoubtedly, bled into his training regimen. When you’re used to instant success, finding that you actually have to train week after week to even do a fraction of that end goal is both galling and character-building. So with that in mind, maybe settling for a mere half-marathon this year will teach some life lesson. And, depending on whether I actually end up running a marathon, maybe there’ll be a life lesson for me. I think I have narrowed it down to either
(a) never take motivation lessons from someone inspired by a fictional character; or,
(b) believe in the Possimpible.
Wish me luck.