It hasn’t been sunny in Geneva for about a week. Not a big surprise, we have been spoiled by a milder than usual winter. By mild, I only mean that we have had sunshine. It has also been quite cold, but by Geneva standards, that is tolerable as long as there is sun.

The gray, cold weather has created a challenge for me. I recently made a scary commitment to myself that I will train for a marathon. It is scary! I am not the kind of person who casually decides to take on challenges. I usually feel out the terrain a bit before jumping in, only when I am more or less certain that it is something I can do. My pragmatism is steeped in realism: I am a very lazy person who does not like to feel guilt.

I put myself on a pre-marathon training schedule. That is “pre” as in “before training for the marathon begins”. I read in the seminal training classic The Runner’s Handbook, that one should comfortably be running 15 miles a week before you start training (Did I add that “comfortable”?). Training is usually a 16-week affair. I am not yet at 15 miles a week. I’m not terribly far off, I ran 9 miles last week. I am, however, just anxious to get there.

Running a marathon has always been a distant idea for me, sometimes I have brushed it off as excessive and unnecessary, but I keep coming back to it as the ultimate challenge of endurance. Although not an incredibly sporty person, I have faced other such challenges. In 2003 or 2004 I participated in the New York to Boston AIDSride, a 350 mile bike ride over 4 days. It was incredible. The second day was the hottest of the summer, we rode 103 miles through Connecticut, that is actually a very hilly state. I raised over $3,000 for the cause. By the end of the ride I was that kind of dark, even-brown tan that you only imagine surfers having. My legs were rock-solid.

I am going to get my bicycle out of moth-balls and get back on the saddle. I plan to do a bike ride around Lac Léman at the end of May. It is 180km (~112 miles) and the thought doesn’t even make me think twice. Running a marathon (this one, the Lausanne Marathon in October) makes me feel weak inside. I guess that is why I want to do it, to prove to myself that I can.

The forecast for next week is not very promising. I went jogging once this week, and actually increased by pace by almost a full kilometer per minute: perhaps the result of giving my muscles some rest? I don’t know, but that is kind of what it felt like. But I am not all too eager to go jogging in wintry conditions, mainly because I am easily susceptible to colds and my body chills right through (that is my reason, whether or not you believe it). Thus, I need a bit more sunshine so I can get out onto the pavement and work my way up to that 15 mile a week baseline. No matter how slow those miles go by, I just need to keep going.