The Marathoner’s Manifesto (Humor)
By Chaim Wizman
Over the years, many famous running coaches have observed that the marathon is not merely a race; it is actually more of a lifestyle. In an effort to help the members of the Bet Shemesh Running Club make marathoning the integrated, all encompassing pursuit that the good Lord intended, I thought I would make the following observations.
What prompted this manifesto was a terribly unfortunate incident that happened just yesterday. Rich Levitas, one of the senior members of our club successfully completed, without injury, a challenging 34 km run to Rechovot. Now, any idiot would realize that after putting his body through such stress, that some serious rest and relaxation are in order for at least 48 hours thereafter. But not Rich. Ever the chivalrous Knight, Rich attempted the always hazardous chore of doing sponga before Shabbat on his living room floor. Predictably, he blew his knee out and was seen limping pathetically for the duration of the holy Sabbath. Folks, the lesson here is as important as it is obvious. No, and I mean, no housework whatsoever during marathon training. Leave the dishes, sweeping and laundry to the non-athletes in the family no matter how tempted you may be to pitch in every once in a while. Any deviation from this cardinal rule is highly likely to produce the same tragic result that poor Rich just experienced.
Children are a challenge under even the most relaxed circumstances. The constant demands and maintenance necessitated by the pint sized parasites is truly never-ending. It is a sad fact that once we sire them, we can never totally absolve ourselves of responsibility for them. But fellas, let’s keep things in perspective. Marathoning is serious business. You can’t very well continue to shoulder your fair share of responsibility with the kids while training properly for a marathon. Now, don’t get me wrong. I fully endorse the idea of living up to your financial responsibilities to your children. By all means, continue to support them. But for the love of g-d, that’s where it has to end. You can’t go around chauffering your kids to Gan and to Chugim at those ungodly hours. You need your sleep so that you can rise at the crack of dawn on running days. And parent/teacher meetings are a definite no-no. Aside from being a ludicrous waste of time, they run chronically late which means you will be forced to spend unnecessary time on your already overworked feet while you wait for the teacher to explain to the other irritating parents what precious gems they have raised. Be forewarned that wives get very touchy about this subject. As products of an enlightened feminist society, they have been reared to believe that men must be proactive partners in nurturing their offspring. That may be fine for the average sedentary sap but not for the dedicated marathoner. Calmly explain to your wife when she begins to hurl blunt kitchen implements at your skull, that your lack of assistance does not stem from apathy but rather from a desire to look your very best for her and that in the final analysis, it’s a small price to pay for the privilege of getting to see your chiseled physique on a regular basis.
Proper nutrition is one of the most essential elements in successful endurance training and more importantly, here’s where the wives can really help us out. A serious marathoner needs good food and lots of it. Although wives often feel disenfranchised by their husbands’ obsession with running, you should be quick to inform her that she can share the experience with you by preparing lavish feasts for you on a daily basis. Imagine her satisfaction as she proudly watches you wolf down a freshly cooked meal with such gusto that you can’t even wait to shower or take off those sweaty running clothes before chowing down. Recent studies have also demonstrated that healthy digestion is facilitated by eating in a relaxed environment so be sure to emphasize that when she serves you breakfast in bed or in front of the TV, that she is playing a big role in replenishing your all important glycogen stores.
The last major potential pitfall to marathoning success, of course, is a heavy workload. Personally, as everyone knows, I have been unencumbered by a real job for as long as anyone can remember. However, the sad fact is that most of you boys actually work for a living. I understand and I sympathize but there is no reason to overdo it. Sure you have to do the bare minimum to avoid being fired. But there is no reason to burn the midnight oil to impress your superiors if it jeapordizes your commitment to training. And even if a big promotion is on the line fellas, let’s be real. The primary beneficiary of the extra money you will be earning sure as hell is not going to be you. You will just be grinding away so that your wife can buy yet another pair of shoes or get another facial. And do you think, for one moment, that those little amenities will make her happy when her husband crosses the finish line in Tiberias nine minutes later just because he had to work like a slave?
To summarize, the marathon requires commitment, not just from you but from your wife as well. Sure she may resent you for a couple of years on a superficial level because you seem to care more about your running buddies than about her. But trust me on this one boys. That resentment will be magically transformed to unadulterated pride and joy when she sees your name included on the list of Bet Shemesh marathoners published in Connections Magazine. Stride on.