"Holy cow! It's so beautiful! Sexy girl, I love you so much. Life is great, and it's not ending any time soon. We're going to have to be so fierce."
-- Alex, on our run tonight, as we got to the top of the 10th Street hill1
I usually tell people that it takes three or four months to prepare for a marathon, but it's been a few years since I actually did take that long training for one. Last spring, for instance, I really only trained for Barcelona for nine weeks; I started on January 3, and March 5 was race day. There were some pretty embarrassing gaps in my training in weeks six, seven, and eight, too. Yet I still managed to run my best race ever.
It's nice to think that I've graduated from having to do the sort of long, dreary ramp-up that I did when I started running marathons. On the other hand, this spring it might be interesting to see if I can run a better race by actually training for a proper eighteen weeks, assuming I can manage to stick to the schedule the whole time. (Toronto is precisely eighteen weeks from now.) If we don't do a race in March, that leaves open the possibility of doing something else Big. There's always the honeymoon that we still haven't taken and that might be the last socially acceptable long vacation we'll get for quite a while.2 How long before we forfeit the right to one?
The nice thing about those nine weeks last spring was that I was officially on leave from school, so although I was still showing up at the office, I didn't have any pesky classes to take or teach. (IU would've been within their rights to take away my office access, but they didn't.) It was the first time since starting grad school that I had nothing to do except research. This spring, I'll have an even better arrangement: I'm done taking classes now, and my research assistantship absolves me of any teaching responsibility. Not only will I have nothing to do except research, I'll actually be getting paid to do nothing but research! I'm getting off easy.
The world is not going to end in 2012. We won't get off nearly that easy. But I have the best husband there is, and more or less the best job, and running in cold weather makes me feel like a superhero. It must be the tights.