Saturday, October 14, 2006
In The Groove
There are times when a little voice (right behind my left ear ) whispers that I'm supposed to remember this seamless period when the nearly-sunless days of February sap the life out of me.
This morning--and recent mornings--have been like that for me.
As you know, dear readers, I am training for the New York Marathon which is now less than a month away. This past month has been a time of learning about my body, its limits, and the wisdom ( or not ) of testing it for a 26.2 mile challenge. Now, I've had every professional I could possibly employ check out every possible part of my body. Their conclusion is as follows: ( and I paraphrase ) " I don't know why you want to do this. But you're in great shape. Have an echocardiogram, and good luck." Oh, and the podiatrist was the funniest, as he looked at the xrays of my size 8 1/2 feet. "Well, the angles aren't too bad", he said as he pointed at my big toe with his pointer. "Certainly not for someone your age." He scratched his head, looked at me over his glasses and added," With all you're doing, and this marathon, when do you rest?"
"I don't like to rest much," I told him with a grin.
So, this morning, the phone rang at 8 a.m., and my dear friend Ann asked me if I wanted to run in Central Park and then maybe go to breakfast. I think she was a little surprised when I said I did not want to run because I would be running a half marathon tomorrow and needed to rest, but would love to meet her for breakfast. We met at a sort of midtown, tony cafe on 59th and 7th, then started walking in the park. The light's angle against the turning leaves created a stippled effect on the dark pavement. We talked about our lives as we wandered through the skating rink, then the zoo. She left to catch her train for Philadelphia, and I walked toward the New York Road Runners brownstone on the east side to pick up my race stuff for tomorrow's half marathon on Staten Island.
I called my sons to see if they wanted me to pick up their race gear, then realized that the doors wouldn't open until almost two hours later. Now, on some days that would have annoyed me--another change of plans etc. I took a detour today instead. I went to the Metropolitan and saw the Vollard exhibit an extraordinary show with many of the major European artists from 1890 to 1950 or so. Picasso, Cezanne, Renoir, VanGogh were among the artists he represented. Vollard began dealing in art at 27 from a small studio in Paris. This exhibit traces his influence in "discovering" their work, and their avant garde style in a time when pretty art was more in vogue.
I lost myself in the 100+ paintings, sculptures and drawings and realized suddenly that it was 11:30--the NYRoad Runners was opened. But I didn't leave just yet. I wandered through the American Wing, had some tea at the little cafe there that overlook Central Park. I even got a table by the massive windows. As I watched the runners outside, I wondered what tomorrow's race would be like.
This will be my third long race in as many weeks of durations and intervals that I've never attempted before. I've learned in this work hardening ,so-to-speak period what makes the long runs easier and what needs to be done before and after the race to make it easier on me. Little things like the kind of shorts that work for me ( biking ), where to put my Gu carbohydrate gel, my Ipod, my money, my keys, what to do to keep the hair out of my eyes ( bandanna ) even if I look like a Harley biker, and what order of Ipod tunes works best for a steady run --not too fast going out. Finally, what self-talk works: "Just run your own race, Mar...no hotdogging". " A half marathon is just two 10Ks, Mar." " Just run 'til you get to the next water stop and then you can walk a little." " You can do this, Mar. Johnny Kelly ran Boston until he was 80."
Ben called a little bit ago to tell me where we're all meeting tomorrow--Chris, Ben and Abbi, his girlfriend--to catch the Staten Island Ferry and begin the race. As he was about to hang up, he said: "Ok, Mom. See you tomorrow. This'll be fun."
Just sitting here for a minute, I heard the little voice. You know what it said.