Monday, August 3, 2009


Attachment. The Buddha taught that suffering is caused by attachment to concepts and ideas, as well as attachment to our notion of the self. Attachment to ideas is associated, at least to me, with our obsession to label people and things and place them into mental categories where they become static and fixed. Some psychologists think that labeling and categorizing is the way human beings cope with enormous amounts of information. It is much easier to view a person or event superficially and put it into a neat little box in our mind where it remains, undisturbed, until something happens to disturb it. Of course, reality is neither static nor fixed. It is in a state of constant change. The really remarkable illusion that we all buy into to one degree or another, is that there is something solid that we can hold onto. But accidents happen. People die unexpectedly. Buildings are blown up in Manhattan and collapse into a hole in the earth. And there is nothing we can do about it.

It is with this in mind that I’m pulling the plug on my marathon training. October 11 is 10 weeks away and I haven’t been doing the kind of training necessary to get through 26.2 miles. I have spent most of the summer on airplanes, crossing the country for work, and as a result I haven’t been able to fit in any runs exceeding 10 miles. I am still logging 35-40 miles per week, but simply do not have the time to go out and knock out a 15 mile run on a Saturday or Sunday morning, especially when I haven’t seen the kids in a couple of days because I’ve been stuck at a meeting in Los Angeles for the better part of a week.

After I read Dean Karnazes books I became very attached to the idea that I wanted to run long distances, despite the fact that there is no way I could fit that kind of training into my lifestyle. I can run 40 miles a week, but I cannot run much more than that and still have time to do anything else. I have made peace with this decision. I still get to go out for 6 and 7 mile runs in some of the nicest places in the United States, and I can do it now without the specter of the Steamtown Marathon looming over my shoulder. I am going to replace Steamtown with the Philadelphia ½ and be thankful that I will have the time to do some fall camping and late summer scuba diving. Life is good.