It has been just stupid busy around these parts lately. That seems to be one of the features of living in a place with significant winters. Our goal is to cram as much into autumn as we can because soon the ice will come and we will spend as much time as humanly possible around the wood stove sipping tea.
While I enjoy both the stupid busy times and the wood stove times in their turn, right now, I’m getting a little winded from all of the stuff going on right now. This is where my mental training kicks in. I’m drinking my NUUN, speaking out loud to myself in the third person, and saving energy on the downhills. Like a mother runner does.
The bedlam started in September with the AMR Retreat in Spokane. It was, as the kids say, all that and a bag of chips. I don’t know how much more I can add, other than point out there’s a retreat next spring in Ogden, which I’m contemplating flying out for because the race alone sounds divine. Hanging out with all of those BAMRs would be substantial icing on an already delicious cake, ya know?
Travel across these United-ish States is always drains one’s time and patience. For Spokane, my flights out West were as on-time as a human could hope. Coming back home, thanks to a tower fire in Phoenix and a ground stop in Las Vegas, I wound up spending an unanticipated night in the Denver airport with Coach Amanda (who I seem to spend a lot of time in hotel rooms with) and getting back to Albany by way of Chicago. Total first world problem (and I got to visit with a friend from college who was willing to haul his heiner to the Denver airport) but it did steal about 24 hours from an already packed week.
It was packed because that next weekend was Wineglass. How I love Wineglass! Corning, New York, is a little gem of a town and the Museum of Glass makes my heart go pitter-pat. To say nothing of the race, which is run like a Swiss watch and winds through some lovely towns. And it is on this course in 2017 where I earned my new half marathon PR!
*cue brass fanfare*
I knew from the moment BRF Lisa and I stepped on the bus that took us to the start that there would be no better opportunity to PR than that day. My training had been strong and included more miles at race pace than I can count. The weather was perfect for me, which means it was lousy — about 40 degrees and damp. The course is one I know quite well at this point and is mostly forgiving. My belly was behaving because I’d popped a pre-emptive Immodium. And, frankly, I was tired of coming *thisclose* to pulling off a PR but letting my own brain get the best of me.
The only downside was all of the travel and expo-ing. But we work with what we have.
The trick, I discovered, was getting at least three race pace miles (but no faster) under my shoes so that I could use them as leverage. By mile four, I didn’t want to betray the promise of those miles. By mile eight, my lingering protestant guilt wouldn’t let my mind laugh off the work I’d done. I was on track for a sub 2:30, which is huge for me, but everything finally caught up with my legs at mile ten or so. I knew I could still PR, mind, just not break the 2:30 barrier because my legs would simply not cooperate, regardless of hydration and Gu.
Still! My 2:32 finish was amazing and hard and deeply rewarding - and made getting out of the car after the two hour drive home a challenge. But let’s focus on the amazing.
Speaking of amazing, it’s still hard to fully understand that at this time last year I had just finished my last 20 mile training run for the New York City marathon. And this year, I’ll be going back to NYC on marathon day on November 5.
No, I’m not running 26.2. You are a love for even suggesting it.
Instead, I’m volunteering at the finish line — but not at the time when all of the runners who get all of the love will be crossing it. I’m taking the 6-10 p.m. shift, which is when runners like me finally end their marathon day.
Which isn’t to say running a marathon isn’t hard for every runner. But there is something about starting in the very last wave — the one that doesn’t even launch until nearly lunchtime — knowing that you won’t even get to Manhattan before the sun starts to set, much less finish in anything like daylight. These are the runners who get pushed onto the sidewalk because the city needs to re-open the roads. The ones who only see random clumps of spectators rather than noisy packs. By the time they make it to the final turn in Central Park, the finish line celebration will be all packed up.
I’ll be there, though, and will make as much noise as I can as I hand out heat sheets and water bottles. I know how much those kind faces meant to me.
Speaking of that marathon, I know we have some BAMRs taking a bite out of the Big Apple. I’m hosting an informal get-together where we can talk race day or, if that causes too much agita, about something soothing. There will be some light swag. We’ll get together at 3 p.m. on Saturday, November 4. Send an email email@example.com for the location and so that I have an idea how many goodies to bring.
And just for planning purposes, I’ll be heading to hawk AMR merch at the Philly Expo later in November, too. More details soon.
Question for the BAMRs: Is your fall crazy-busy, too?