Saturday, August 7, 2010

The summer of my discontent

I've hardly posted at all recently and when I have done so, the entries are almost all about running... or apologies for not posting more. This mirrors my inner world lately; I've just been off this summer, listless and grumpy. I can think of a lot of possible causes:
 At least it's a tiny bit cooler without the mustache.

-The weather has just been horrible, gray, wet, and skin-crawlingly humid. It's combined the worst aspects of my two former homes, Ithaca's eternal grayness and St. Augustine's moisture-laden air. It just goes on and on and I move around in a thick coat of my own sweat. I feel sluggish in more ways than one.

-The regular school year provides structure and meaning; it's no secret that I haven't found the two classes I've taught in summer school to be terrifically worthwhile, and every day I've come home at 2:00 and wondered what I could do for the next eight or nine hours, especially when it's so unpleasant to be outside.

-I think that my visit to family in California punctured my feeling that I wasn't missing a lot by spending years of my life over here. I spend too much time alone and Korea, while fascinating in many ways, will never be home. It may be the best place for me for quite awhile, but I'm an eternal visitor.

-For the first time, I've had doubts about my ability to complete the marathon in the required five hours. Last Sunday, my schedule called for me to complete 17 miles (four of every five minutes running, one walking) and I... just... ran... out... of... gas. At 16.2 miles, I couldn't trot another step; I felt like collapsing. I made myself zombie-walk till the 17-mile mark, but this was bad. I'd done everything right, going slowly, ingesting water and energy gels, and it was a miserable failure. I wonder how I can traverse 26 miles, 385 yards at a much faster pace than I failed to cover 17 miles in.

-There are a host of annoyances, such as the follies of trying to get running shoes that fit and won't continue to hurt my toes (yes, the nail finally came off this week and it feels much better), the pointlessness of trying to go to a ballgame when it's probably going to storm, the disgusting collapse of my never-fail-to-disappoint Mets, and the creeping conviction that my country has gone socially and politically around the bend. I don't know if this laundry list of gripes is a factor in my discontent or a result of it.

But I'm pulling myself out of the rut as of today. Summer school ended yesterday and planning for the fall semester begins on Thursday (and the semester itself four days after that). I'm looking forward to new challenges and to meeting Faina, our new English teacher, whom I interviewed and have been making friends with online. It's less uncomfortable to run without that nail, the shoes are on the way from the States, this weather can't go on much longer, running becomes incredibly easier in cooler weather, and I damn well am going to beat the marathon.

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