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Polymerase chain reaction is a cornerstone of molecular biology research. Using short pieces of single-stranded DNA called primers the previously invisible becomes tangible.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Gumption

date: 04/02/05
time: afternoon
weather: 51 ºF, light rain, wind S/SE at 28 mph
mileage: today-10, week-18, year-105.7
resting (bpm): 63
after workout (bpm): 116
weight: +28

comments:

Pirsig, in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, wrote about gumption and the things that sap it. An unfavorable environment and the state of ones tools are two such gumption leeches. Both were present today, promising a hard slog ahead if I hoped to get in some miles.

It was windy, cold and raining. I haven’t put in enough miles to acquire the level of weather immunity that I’ve had in the past. I still dress too warmly for the weather, and it has been a while since I’ve checked on my rain gear. I would need a water resistant outer shell and bright or reflective colors to ensure that these suburban Saturday drivers could spot me. I could feel the probability of my run decreasing.

Absent tools or tools present but not ready-at-hand also can decrease enthusiasm below activation energy. I checked my gym bag for a windbreaker. I haven’t been to the gym since I let my membership expire two years ago. Great, another lock whose combination I’ve forgotten destined to the recycle bin. I pulled out a yellow piece of plastic, the yellow surely the work of a drug influenced mind, thinking that it was my favorite mal-weather running top. Instead, it was a jumbo poncho designed to fit over a hiker wearing a full pack. The poncho was tucked in the side bag compartment along with a half eaten bag of chips. That the bag of chips was in there for two years did not surprise. That I let a bag of chips go unfinished is. Contrary to what some of you might think, I did not finish it off. The first three or four chip fragments proved too stale. Okay, I decided to go with the nearly fluorescent poncho. White running shoes with reflective decals, check. White utility gloves purchased at 7-11, check. Wind pants? Wind pants? Darn, they’re nowhere to be found. Black bicycle shorts were in the laundry. Cotton sweatpants would get soaked and cold. The only thing left was a set of blue spandex tights. This run just wasn’t happening, was it?

I got dressed and convinced myself to get out there for ten minutes. I could decide then to turn around or continue on. So, there I was lopping down the block, yellow poncho flapping, blue tights clinging and white shoes, gloves and painter’s cap punctuating my ensemble. Yeah, at least I’ll be seen through the weather. Ten minutes passed, and I felt good. I turned onto a usually well-traveled bicycle path. No bikers, no runners. I passed a couple walking, but that was about it. It’s rare to find yourself alone on this island. I fell into a steady rhythm and before I knew it, I hit five-miles. I turned towards home knowing that I was going to accomplish much more than I intended. Hot chocolate, a warm shower and fresh clothes greeted me upon arrival. Oh, and I passed the century mark for the year. Gumption busters? HAH!

5 comments:

braine said...

Bird by bird, chief.

braine said...

Oh and hey, I injured my left calf by running only sporadically but increasing my mileage out of proportion to my frequency -- doesn't sound like precisely your situation, but maybe you want to establish consistency before you get too excited by the 200-mile mark. Nice post.

Primer said...

Yeah, I’m probably overdoing the single day’s mileage without a proper weekly consistency build-up. It’s that hard to break cramming habit of mine resurfacing. Fortunately, there’s more than seven months left to work it out. My leg is better and the tenderness under my toenails has resolved. I’m looking forward to a good week.

Running in Manhattan on a Sunday? Did you have to go into work or was this a group run with your comrades?

braine said...

No, this injury happened in early January (started with a knot at top left of calf, which eventually went "sproing"). Sidelined me for a couple of weeks, which assisted in an overall winter weight gain of about 12 pounds. That's now reversed, I'm down to 180 (that's less than I weighed in 12th grade, FYI, and the lowest since Oct '02).

So I wasn't running in CP on Sunday. However, I did take an early bus in today and do a lap around the res.

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