Kintsugi

This essay can be found in the book Impossible is an Illusion published by Wipf and Stock and available here.

***

My son came home from college, and in a discussion with me brought up a Japanese word, Kintsugi, that immediately opened up my mind to many thoughts.

It’s wonderful to find new words, new ideas, and new ways of thinking.

And, just for the record, kintsugi is now my new favorite word.

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The End of My 2019 Marathon Dream

…and with that long run, my 2019 marathon dream is over.

Today was supposed to be my last long run, a final effort, to prove to myself that I could actually do the marathon.  The truth, the reality I must face, is that I can’t.  Not this year.

I gave it everything I had.

And then some.

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12 Miles Closer…

Today I bit off way more than I could chew.

I was fortunate, all three of my sons were home to celebrate a birthday, and two of them, Ryan and Ethan, are training for some upcoming long races.  Because of that, they were both willing to slog along on a twelve mile “run” with me.

Our goal was to complete the entire Saddle River Bike Path, from Ridgewood to Rochelle Park, and then back again…a twelve mile jaunt.

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A Willingness To Cross Boundaries…

I believe that the marathon is about equal amounts of physical and mental toughness.  I think the mental toughness aspect of the race is often times more important than the physical side.  There comes a time in every race, and in every training run, when most runners want to quit.  I can say this unequivocally, there comes a time, usually multiple times, in every run when I want to quit.

Running is hard.  Very hard.  I have to continually and constantly resist the urge to quit.

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Progress (S-L-O-W Progress, but Progress Nonetheless)

My favorite runs are the ones I spend with my dear friend Ed.  Ed is a 33 time marathoner (I have just done 21 of them).   He’s also an IRONMAN (something I will probably never be).  Ed is a warrior and an inspiration. 

He’s also a close close friend.  I cherish the times we run together.

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Achilles Tears… What Achilles Tears?

The NYC Marathon is 7 weeks away.

I upped my long run (on the treadmill, again) to 12 miles.  Again, not fast, but, slow and steady covers (if not wins) the race.  

I just have to push through the pain that accompanies the run.  The tears in my right Achilles aren’t exactly fun to deal with, during, or after the run.  But pain is temporary, pride is forever!

I took only one quick walking break today, for less than a minute, at 5.0 miles.

Today was another step in the right direction.   

I’ll push the distance to 15 miles next week.

New York City…here I come! 

(I’ll see the surgery center after the race.)

 

 

Tough As Nails

This week my orthopedist said that they’ll schedule my Achilles surgery in mid-November… after the NYC Marathon.

“If you want to try to run it… run it,” he said. 

I have to ramp up my long runs very quickly.  I only have 8 weeks until the race.

Today was a BIG step in the right direction.  I wasn’t fast.  I took quick walking breaks (less than a minute each) at .5, 1.5, 3.5, and 8.5 miles.

A BIG STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION!

Next Saturday, I’ll do 12. 

TOUGH AS NAILS!

Pain is temporary… Pride is forever!

 

 

 

Replacing One Type of Pain With Another

I just got off the treadmill.  I’m tired.  I’m in some pain.  I’d like to go to bed, but it’s morning.  I’m tired.  Real tired.  But, underneath all of this exhaustion, I feel alive.  I feel more alive than I’ve felt in a long time.

It’s good to feel ALIVE!

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One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 14): Making It Back To The Mound

It had been over a month since I last pitched.

On June 23, I enjoyed pitching against Jersey City. Then, on June 25, I had my first visit with an orthopedist who did as I feared he would… he shut me down.

On June 25, my baseball season ended. On June 25, my softball seasons ended. And, on June 25, my hopes for running the 2019 New York City Marathon also ended.

The orthopedist looked at my swollen right ankle, the MRI that showed tears in the Achilles tendon, and his own X-Rays. He said, “This isn’t good, Paul.” The word “surgery” came up, but he also said, “I’m not ready to go there yet.” I think the thing that made him shut me down totally was when I could perform a simple exercise in his office – standing on just my right foot and going to “tippy toes.” When I couldn’t do that, it cinched the deal.

I was given a night brace, an anti-inflammatory prescription, and little hope.

I left the office with the brace, a discouraged countenance, and a follow-up appointment.

But all of that is old news.

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One Last Shot… A Real Life Baseball Story (Part 12 – Game Four, The Story of a Catcher)

Well, I am the happiest 0-4 pitcher on the planet.

***

I pitched well enough, I guess. I gave up more than a few hard hit balls for loud hits, some of them long drives for extra bases. I also gave up some weak ground balls for hits. And a few bloopers also fell in.

On the other hand, some popups were dropped or missed altogether by the fielders behind me, a few grounders went under the infielders’ gloves, and a few would-be ground outs resulted in poor throws that instead netted no outs.

(And, to be fair, a couple of the loudly hit balls were caught by the fielders behind me. If nothing else, my pitching kept the team on its feet.)

In short, for much of the game, there were a lot of runners on the bases as I pitched.

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