What I Have Been Doing With Your Donated (and Undonated) Monies

Late Training Notes from the Bristol Downs.

I promised to report on your Unusual Investment. (If, as you read this, you don’t know about that Investment, please visit these links http://hopkintonrespite.com or
http://www.youtube.com/user/HopkintonRespiteTV
It is not too late for your dollars to join the nearly-four thousand dollars that preceded yours, whose donor investors will never see them again.)
Since I first wrote to you the grass has not grown beneath my feet. A certain amount of tinea has, but this is inevitable: I have been training hard. The Boston Marathon will be run on Monday 15 April and investors in my little Scheme are helping the Michael Lisson Memorial Respite Centre.
Michael’s mother, who created the Centre, wrote one week ago, reminding me that Michael died on the day of the 100th running. I ran that day, unknowing. Now I know and marathon running feels like a small matter.

They ought to call the Downs the Ups, these vast, everlasting, uptwisting hills. Or the Steeps. From one end of the Downs you can’t see the other for distance. And even if you could, you couldn’t – because of the mists. In spring, season of mists and frosts.

My father, not a lewd man nor crude, told few risqué jokes. However this semi-liquid air brings to mind one of Dad’s one-liners: Did you hear about the man who took his girlfriend out into the night air and mist?

Enough complaining. Hilly Bristol, like coastal Israel, is terrific training ground for Monday’s Boston Marathon. We’ll run up the Newton Hills between miles 18 and 21, hills famous for breaking hearts, but the Bristol Ups, like the long, high dunes of Herzliyah, have toughened mine.

This is my race preview. I have trained long and hard, six days a week, resting only on the Sabbath. Each run feels easier than the last. Gone is the sense of labour in a run of a mere hour’s duration. My legs feel wonderful, muscular and light. There is the little matter of the creaking discomfort in the left knee – my good knee – a new sensation. The knee hurts only when it bears weight. Best ignored.

With the exception of a 3.5 hour run in the Jerusalem Forest all my training runs have been solitary. This is not of my choosing: running with a friend is four times easier than running alone. This is true for all runs, over all distances. I know: I have done the maths. However all my friends have stopped running; they have heard the call and they have gone inside for dinner or for breakfast or to their homework or to dull duty. So I run alone.

In Bristol Alfred Lord Tennyson has kept me company. Some fluke or inadvertence has selected the poems of Tennyson on my i-phone. Useless here in the UK for telephony, my i-phone has become the perfect companion. Deaf and mute to the world outside my earbuds, my Apple sings the songs of my choosing, or in this case, the poems of my non-choosing.

He was keen on death, was Lord Alfred. From ‘Ulysses’, where he found romantic allure in Death, the Adventure; to the dying of King Arthur; to the demise of the Lady of Shallott; through lyric after lyric, the Laureate spoke to me, morning after morning, of death. Last Sunday he spoke to me at great length of the loss of his friend Arthur Hallam.
Endless his grieving, dark his spirits, Tennyson’s mood finds its echoes on these misty Downs.

That day found me running near the railing that kept me from stepping out into air and falling hundreds of feet in near-dark to the river, tirra lira, below. A blaze of red in the gloom, patches of white at shoulder height; what are these? A brief breather is permitted. The patches of white turn out to be cards, handwritten by members of a local junior cricket team and a junior football team, in memoriam to a teammate. The blaze of red is a football club scarf inscribed in black marking pen: Russell Simmons # 14.
Fresh posies of daffodil and another, paler flower, bloom from the railings.

No-one else in sight. No-one to ask or tell. No-one else to lament. My head bends, defeated. A sudden roar, a cry of raw sorrow bursts from my throat. My voice thickens, my eyes are wet.

Running is an easy thing, marathon training now trivial.

Shaking my head, shaking it to shed reality, I look up once more. There are more words to be read on that blood-red scarf: You’ll never walk alone.

Postscript: Afterwards I Googled Russell Simmons, deceased Bristol sportsman, and felt still sadder.

Copyright, Howard Goldenberg, 10 April, 2013

20130411-184933.jpg

OVERPOWERING REASONS TO SPONSOR ME IN THE BOSTON MARATHON

The Boston Marathon is the premier amateur marathon in the world. “Amateur” is surely an oxymoron – who could love running up 26.2 miles of hills, let alone 42.185 kilometres?
Answer: only an oxy moron would love that – ie a moron who enjoys oxygen deficit.

Your representative in this blue-riband, black-chip event is such an oxymoron.

I have been training every day, dainty little 5-10 kilometer runs in the Central Australian desert and Israel’s Mediterranean coast – runs that will prepare me for Boston as usefully as picking dandelions for a world heavyweight bout. However, as of yesterday, all has changed, changed utterly: a terrible fitness is born.

There I was slouching towards Bethlehem when I lost my way. The result? I ran for three hours. I became a distance runner once again. I loved the feeling. I can’t wait for next Sunday’s four-hour run, after which I’ll taper my training. First time in a decade of marathons that I’ll have reached a high-enough point of preparation from which tapering is feasible.

Following yesterday’s odyssey I looked at my legs: they are indeed beautiful. Even the varicose veins at the back are beautiful. If there is a demand, I will send photos of the veins to my donors.

Around mid-year, Hybrid Publishers will publish my new book, a novel (titled Carrots and Jaffas). This is a sensational creation in which a pair of humans of opposite genders meet, fall in love, fall into bed, copulate, conceive and deliver – a story. If you love it half as much as I do, you will be thrilled to receive a copy of the first edition, signed and inscribed by the author. All you have to do is to read the attached Unusual Offer. The largest subscriber/donor wins the copy.

Every donor of $50.00 or more will receive a signed copy of my earlier book, My Father’s Compass. This book, too, was HIGHLY recommended by the author.

Avoid the rush: donate now, donate often.
Many of you have friends who have a lot of money and very large hearts; please pass on my offer to them.

If you look at where the money is going at http://hopkintonrespite.com or http://www.youtube.com/user/HopkintonRespiteTV , you won’t need the special offer to feel good.

Go for it! All you need to do to say goodbye to your money is to sponsor me in the Boston Marathon.

Time is short: the marathon will be run – as always – on Patriots Day, falling this year on 15 April, 2013. Please send your donations directly through this link– http://www.razoo.com/Pheidipides-Foolproof-Investment-Opportunity

I’ll send you news from now until the aftermath (is there ever a beforemath?) of the marathon.

Howard/Pheidipides Goldenberg