Saturday, November 04, 2006
Don't Nod and Dream
1 Day to NYC Marathon
Distance: 3.56 miles
Do You Want To - Franz Ferdinand
Brand New Colony - The Postal Service
Pump Up the Volume - M/A/R/R/S
Everybody Everybody - Black Box
It's My Life (Vocal Mix) - Liquid People vs. Talk Talk
Hips Don't Lie - Bamboo (2006 FIFA World Cup Mix en Espanol) - Shakira
Around the corner from Coop's apartment on 3rd Ave. and down East 81st Street 'til it dead ends at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The up Fifth Avenue, past the Gugenheim (unfortunately scaffolded) and up and around the Reservoir and back. A brisk early morning run in Manhattan, and a route I took for several days in 2004.
Can I do this? With New York City as my backdrop, the answer has to be yes. My only concern right now is what I will do with the four to five hours I will be spending at the starting line, between sixish and ten.
And how to dress. If today is any indication, I will have no problem wearing my long-sleeve thermie under my red shirt (look for the red shirt!) my black hat and black shorts. I have a cheap, black sweat suit to toss, and gloves I don't like that I may tuck into my shorts if I think I may need them later, or toss by the side of the road.
This morning I had caffeinated GU, a PowerBar "Triple Threat" and Gatorade's noxious power-juice drink. I felt GREAT.
We are getting ready for a relaxing day in the City. My girl is watching Mary Poppins and the boy is diddling with an Elmo phone. The wife is making calls.
Mary Poppins was on tv while my wife and I were preparing to go out to dinner on New Year's Eve, 2001. We were in Niagara Falls. She was pregnant. Three months later our first child was dead.
Shortly thereafter I quit smoking. I dropped a lot of weight. Our subsequent, living children have made me even more obsessed with staying in good health. I have had kids late enough, I want to see as much as I can before I am done.
I've been running since I was 12. My dad was big into running in the late 70s and early 80s, you know, when it was all the rage (at least, from a pop culture stand-point, more people run now than ever.) We are not an atheltic family, of my two brothers and I, I think I was the only one who tried to engage in team sports. I tried softball, I attempted basketball, I was very bad at it and as a result I generally hate playing team sports. In college I would grit my teeth and smile whenever anyone suggested a pick-up game, and pray for it to be over, the way someone else might groan and grudgingly play Scrabble. Hell, I hate watching team sports, and I only sit through them for the beer and funny commercials.
My father was never much of a help. I like to imagine that if either of my children expressed the mildest interest in joining me, I would do what I could to bring them along. In fact, I already have, on the trip here my girl brought up a couple of times the day we ran together. We'll do that again soon, if she wants to.
What if my father and I had had one conversation about running? Anything about it, anything at all. Some pointers, some encouragement. Maybe I might have learned something.
I tired a couple races back then, I usually petered out after a mile or two. 5Ks weren't popular yet, they were all 5 milers, and those are long for someone who doesn't know what they're doing.
There was a girl I had a crush on in 7th grade, and we would make dates to "go running" at the track at the Bonnie Bell headquarters in Westlake. We'd run a mile and then walk the rest, with me listening to her go on about whoever it was she was stuck on that week. I think it was those experiences, more than anything, that gave running any significance in my life.
In 2003 I suddenly made myself a promise to do a marathon before I turned 40. I announced this intention at my 35th birthday party. But I didn't know where and when I would do this, until a cousin of mine actually ran the 2004 New York Marathon. And I realized, oh, if I am going to run a marathon, I need to plan to run a marathon.
I may have been better suited to do this back then. So many physical complaints, so busy, so much attention diverted from my wife, my kids. But this is the year, and I won't be attempting this any time again in the near future.
I hope I never stop running. I want to be one of those wiry old men who jog slowly up the street, past your house. And I want to run one marathon. I'll do that tomorrow. Wish me luck.