Sunday, April 23, 2006

Dual in the Sun

Just finished Dual in the Sun. Story of the 1982 Boston Marathon where Dick Beardsley and Alberto Salazar battled it out head to head alone together. Great quick read, better than expected. Quite good really. The basic dramatic angle and thrust is that this intense race irrevocably changed these two individuals, forever. Each pushed themselves so terrifically hard against the other (Salazar ultimately "triumphed" by a mere two seconds) that it ruined them each in some sense. Beardsley, a few years later was badly hurt in a farming accident and became woefully addicted to painkillers. Salazar went on to win the New York Marathon soon after but then began a long gradual decline, dogged by sickness, injury, and depression. Neither was ever the same.

The chapters shuffle between a play by play of the race, and Beardsley's plunge into addiction and Salazar's desperate fight to regain his once world class running prowess. I loved reading about the intensity of both runners. Salazar, a world class star, in a Boston pre-race interview essentially discounted any serious competition. Beardsely, depicted as a bumpkin from from Minnesota, and nagged by insecurities, was implicitly pissed off by this dismisal and vowed to at least make Salazar work for it. And that he did.

Salazar resented Beardsley after the victory, regarding him as just an above average marathoner having a good day, in a ridiculous painter's cap, taking water from any kid on the course who offerred it. Beardsley, underconfidant compared to the cosmopolitan Salazar, later wondered if it was really he that had the upper hand, he had more marathon experience than Salazar and had focused on Boston preparation exclusively for months previously, had he actually ambushed Salazar?

I especially enjoyed, if that's the right word, reading of Salazar's frustration in dealing with his post race problems. He so defined himself through his running, he went to such great lengths to regain his abilities, from doctors, various remedies to no avail, to apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Yugoslavia, to Prozac (which ended up helping, though not curing, quite a bit.) Depression turned out to have been a primary problem.

Anyway, lots of good tidbits and quotes which I won't repeat. I'd recommend it. It's, appropriately, not too long. Still in hardcover; if you can't justify the price, try to remember it when it comes out in paperback (or go the library!)

Still not back to any real running, mostly walking and elliptical, nursing the quad/adductor/whatever. Dealing. Marathon Monday, power walked 4 miles on the Landice. Felt pretty solid Tuesday, so I ended up running 5.2 miles on treadmill, had no idea what I'd encounter starting out, but felt surprisingly good, almost no feedback from the thigh, a faint tinge at 1.2, then again at 2.7 and again at 3.8 when I cranked up to 6:40, was responsible and pulled back down to around 7:00 even. Too much optimism lead me to run again on Wednesday, only made it to 1.5 miles, nagging thigh, walked, ran steep uphill for a bit, 15 incline. Thursday rest, next three days on elliptical, 37 minutes, 76 minutes, and 92 minutes.


At 3:52 PM, Blogger Tim said...

I know it's tough to deal with injuries when you've been pouring your heart into training. Be patient and let your body heal. It sounds like that elliptical is working for ya.

Hang in there!

At 6:27 PM, Blogger Susan said...

I hope you are back to running soon.

That book sounds great - I think I'll have to get that one! Thanks for the review.

At 1:45 PM, Blogger Chad Austin said...

Dave, nice review. I'll have to check it out. Have you read Beardsley's autobiography that came out a couple of years ago? Good stuff too.

Hope the leg is feeling better soon.

At 5:17 PM, Blogger David said...

Thanks, Zeke. Actually I just ordered the Beardsley autobiography from Amazon, after reading this one.

At 1:18 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

I found your blog through a link from a forum on Great read. I'm preparing for Chicago Marathon this October, so I need all the inspiration I can get!

Keep up the great work. Maybe someday I'll be FAST, too!

At 9:32 PM, Blogger Eric said...

Sorry to hear you've been hurt. It looks like you're keeping positive and doing some religious cross-training. Keep at it, and good luck.

At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This site is one of the best I have ever seen, wish I had one like this.


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