Just like 82,000+ runners, I spent most of Tuesday cringing every time I checked my in-box. Just like roughly 77 percent of those runners who entered the lottery for the 2016 New York City Marathon, I didn’t get in.
Which is OK, I guess. There was an initial bit of severe disappointment; followed quickly by relief, which was then followed quickly by “… but maybe a charity slot?,” which was then followed by a prudent decision to wait until 2017 because this summer/fall will be a busy one, which was then followed by a series of emails this morning that made me reconsider, sort of.
So, in short: if you’re looking for a solid “I'm not running this in 2016,” I can give you 98 percent of one. Unless I’ve changed my mind again by the time you read this. Which is not unlikely.
Just so we’re clear, though: I have zero desire to run a marathon. I have all of the desire to run the NYC marathon. What can I say? I’m a puzzle.
Speaking of inconsistent things, we’ve reached the point in the year where spring feels like it is gingerly sticking its snout around the corner to see if it’s time to really burst forth. It’s warmer, yes, and brighter. Soon the Spring peepers will be getting squished on local roads. One sure sign is that the sap has started to run, which is such a New England-y thing to say I expect to be whisked away by flannel-wearing socialists driving a Subaru but that doesn’t make it less true.
We’re still not quite on the other side yet, though. It was in the 20s when I set out for my Sunday long run and the wind was just on this side of gale force. Still, when Coach says run for 7-8 miles easy, I run for 7-8 miles easy. It was 7.6 miles exactly, according to Herr Garmin, who remains my stalwart companion no matter the weather.
I picked the long route that I only do when there isn’t snow. It’s been long enough since I’d run it that I’d forgotten what 400 feet of uphill feels like, which is to say, like more uphill than ought to be allowed under the Geneva conventions. There was a woman in a lavender jacket who was about 800 feet in front of me the whole time. I kept trying to catch her when she slowed to a walk on the uphills but then I’d hit that same uphill, which meant that she was over the hill and speeding up while I power walked. I played this little game for three miles and never did catch up. Well done, lavender jacket lady. Well done.
The whole run was like that, really. I couldn’t quite get my act together. The zipper on my aging blue fleece kept sliding down. I couldn’t co-ordinate the hydrating and the breathing. My right shoe kept untying itself, even with a double knot. My nose wouldn’t stop running, which seems to be an unintended consequence of being hydrated.
Speaking of, let me state the blindingly obvious again: this whole hydration thing holds water.
I finished my long run feeling tired but good. While some of that is simple experience — I’ve run a few 7 - 8 milers at this point — a lot of it can likely be chalked up to having enough fluid in my body for the whole run. Turns out those experts might know something. Yes, it irks me, too.
What also irks me is core work and intervals. Yeah, I know I need to do both. And, yeah, I resent the heck out of ‘em. But I’ve been making a point of hauling my aging keister through a series of planks, crunches, and bridges at least twice a week because I can be a grown-up and stuff. Not sure if abs of steel will ever be in my grasp; still, I have been sitting up straighter so I’ll count it as a win.
I honestly don’t mind intervals nearly as much as core work and can generally approach it with, if not gusto, then at least a sense of adventure. It’s fun in a sick sort of way to push your limits over a very limited length of time. Even if six two-minute intervals feel like torture, like they did on Tuesday, there’s comfort in knowing the hard workout will end once enough time has passed. Some days, that has to be enough to get you through, even when you are starting to feel like the air doesn’t have nearly enough oxygen.
And now for the audience participation portion of this week's column:
In just a few short weeks -- March 20 -24 -- I'll be heading back to Texas for conference in San Antonio related to my actual job. I'll mostly be booked with conversations about alumni magazines (and, yes, I do find that incredibly interesting) but am wondering if anyone wants to go for a run near the Mission Trail on Wednesday afternoon/early evening? Runner requirements: not a murderer, can bring sunscreen, and has a good selfie game. If this sounds like you, comment below.
Next up on my racing docket is the local Cider Mill 5/10K, which rewards you at the end with a glass of the hard stuff. Then off to my beloved Pittsburgh, where I’ll be womaning the AMR booth with BAMR Heather. I might need a recruit or two to lend us a hand, however. Anyone free for a few hours on April 29 or 30? Maybe by then I’ll have made up my mind about NYC….