I’m off to run a marathon and won’t be back until Sunday.

Why would a middle-aged, un-athletic, former smoker and moderate drinker subject himself to 26.2 miles of torture? Actually, I’ve run 660 miles since December 11th last year in training. The race itself is just the icing on the cake. The bigger question is why would I commit to so much training just to run one race? The short answer is that it is a necessary prerequisite to running the marathon. The longer answer is that I find marathon training a very satisfying way to stay in shape.

This time I stopped drinking on February 1st. No wine with dinner. No beers after a run. No alcohol whatsoever. Strangely, it was incredibly easy to stop. My wife has continued wine with meals but I’ve not been tempted. I’m hoping my virtue will be rewarded with a decent time. My best marathon time is 3 hours 42 minutes set in 2004 after two months of abstinence. Last year I wasn’t so virtuous and failed to break 4 hours in 3 attempts. So, this is a wildly unscientific experiment to see if moderate alcohol consumption adversely impacts marathon performance.

If I run a good time – say 3 hours 50 mintes or better, I’ll be forced to conclude that not drinking is good for me. That would be a most unsatisfying conclusion.