Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat

Squeezed July 22, 2005

Not so close…I’ve got something…a bad fever. I get it every year about this time. I have marathon fever again.

It starts during the summer. A twitching in the legs. Deeper breathing. An obsession with mileage. An urge to wake up much earlier on weekends than I normally do for work. As the condition progresses, I feel the compulsive urge to run for hours and miles at a time, which helps ease the symptoms but doesn’t eliminate them.

Only a extended, all-consuming, 26-mile run can cure it. In many cases, this is enough for the patient to develop lifelong immunity. But some people, like me, get chronic cases that flare-up annually.

For me, I always start my training for the Honolulu Marathon in July, starting to log miles. Two Saturdays ago I did 9 miles, which is way more than I’d been doing weekly for the past few months. As the weeks go on, I’ll be going longer and longer until I reach about 20 miles at one time. That’s about three to four hours, which really calls for sacrifices.

But, for me, nothing can compare to the feeling I get when the whole 26-mile ordeal is done in December. Then I go into remission until about six months before the next marathon. I’ve been doing this for the past six years, and this year will be my seventh. And this year will be the year I break four hours. Well, I can dream.

Tomorrow I’ll be going a little shorter, about 7 miles, but I’ll probably make up for it by going a little faster. It’s good to have a supportive running partner.

But tomorrow, I also have an appointment with the blood bank for a blood donation. I was called in on Thursday. Yes, I don’t call the blood bank on my own; oftentimes they call me. Reason: I have a few rare components in my blood that are in demand, and, combined with the fact that I have CMV-negative blood (good for children and infants) and O positive blood, that makes me a rather frequent donor. Sometimes a bit too frequent for my taste.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate giving blood. But now, when I’m trying to train for a marathon, I’m torn between my altruistic side and my body’s incrased need for blood cells and hemoglobin. I do know that I have to tell them not to call me until after the marathon during the last few months of the year.

Now starts the season…the season of blood, toil, tears, and sweat.

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