Monday, August 5, 2013

Sh*t Just Got Real

Thirteen miles--when marathon training stops being polite and starts getting real.  

Downright rude is more like it.

My friend Judy and I took a little road trip to a park in Bergen County to get our long run in. The park is about 6 miles long and goes through 5 or 6 towns.  I figured it would be nice for a change of scenery and to have a run where I didn't have to contend with the road traffic and stoplights.  I could do my 13 miles without doing repeated loops like I normally have to do on longer runs.  I could simply travel the length of the park and back, and add an extra mile at the end.  I actually wanted to do 13.2 miles, just to say I ran farther than I ever had before (a half marathon is 13.1).  

Judy and I started running in opposite directions, as we both like to run at our own pace and would just meet back at the car afterwards.  The park is very pretty, winding paved paths through mostly green and leafy areas, running along a river.  There are ducks, geese, and I even saw a great blue heron. There are areas where it runs near a highway, goes under some local roads, and goes through residential areas, but you never have to cross any traffic.  The paths are only for runners, walkers, dog owners, and cyclists.  Usually I love running off the roads, looking at trees and birds and listening to nature.  Usually I don't even put on my music until the last mile or two of the run, when I need a little motivation to push through. 

However, this day was different.  Even the first mile was rough.  What kept coming up was the thought that I had to do THIRTEEN MILES!  

I've run 13.1.  Twice.  So what is the big deal?

I think the big deal is that it was a training run, not a race.  There is no one cheering for you.  No race-induced adrenaline.  No feeling like you've worked so hard for this moment and all your training is coming to fruition.  That you are about to achieve the goal you've been working for.  In fact, I am really at the beginning of training.  My longest training run is going to be 20 miles.  So I still have a long, long way to go. I am looking down a long road that will just get longer and tougher.  

I had to put on my music at mile 8, and slogged along as best I could.  I stopped three times to refill my water bottle and then kept going.  I felt as though I would never finish. I didn't enjoy myself and I certainly didn't feel any kind of runner's high.  Towards the end I just kept talking to myself as I struggled to put one foot ahead of another.  

"You can do it."  

"You've run this far before."

"Come on, it isn't much longer."

"That guy just passed you, and he is eighty years old.  You can certainly run another two miles."

"What would happen if I started yelling at people to high five me as I passed them?  Do you think they would do it or would they think I was insane?"

"Just another mile.  You've done this a hundred times before."

"Look at those people running past me.  How much farther have they run than you?  You can make it.  It is another three quarters of a mile."

"Buck up, just keep going.  You're almost there."

And then my watch beeped and it was over.  I immediately stopped running at thirteen miles and said, "THANK GOD" in a very loud voice.  Who cared about the .2?  Not me.  I did my thirteen, and rationalized that it while it wasn't the farthest distance I've ever done, it was the longest training run.  And I made it.

But boy, I still have a long way to go.   And that eighty-year-old can kick my butt!


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Surviving George Clooney

Those of you who know me are well-aware that George Clooney is my ultimate man.  He has been ever since the days of that television hit show, ER.  He is handsome, talented, caring (Save Darfur and the Concert for Haiti organizer), tall, liberal, and has a good sense of humor (he is known to play practical jokes on movie sets).  He was married once, no children (which is a shame because those genes really need to be passed on).  Since then, George has dated a string of beautiful women but never remarried.   

As I was running one evening, I started thinking: what if I went on a date with George Clooney, in all his awesomeness?  Would it be the most wonderful evening ever? Would I be instantly addicted?  What if he spoiled me for all subsequent men?  Would I ever get over him?  Would I ever find anyone else as amazing as he?  Would I ever even think of going on another date?

Then it occurred to me--what if the NYC Marathon is the George Clooney of marathons?
Bear with me here....New York City, to me, is the best city in the world.  It really is the ultimate of all cities.  I do love other cities:  Paris, Prague, San Francisco, but I can't love any of them  as much as NYC.  The NYC Marathon was the one marathon I wanted to run because I didn't know if I would ever do another one.  This marathon has so many things going for it--the throngs of amazingly supportive cheering spectators 10 people deep; the route through all five boroughs; running in the state where I was born and raised; and full of people I know, close to home.  
But, maybe George Clooney is really not the man I think he is.  Maybe he is completely self-absorbed and selfish.  Maybe he is a jerk to end all jerks.  And maybe, the NYC Marathon will be awful.  Maybe I will hate every minute of it.  Maybe I will throw up, poop myself, and barely make it over the finish line. 

Will I ever get over the NYC Marathon?  Will it spoil me forever?

I take my inspiration from Talia Balsam, who was George's first (and only) wife.  Her life didn't end when she and George broke up.  She went on to marry Roger Sterling (aka John Slattery--not too shabby), to whom she is still married. Obviously, Talia Balsam got over George.  So why wouldn't I pick myself up again and look for someone else.  Someone different, but someone still wonderful?  Maybe even, dare I say it, more ultimate than George?

Someone like John Slattery. 

Wait a minute. 

Would that mean, I would HAVE to do another marathon just to get over the NYC Marathon? 

I'm not going to worry about that just yet.

But hey, George?  Call me.