I’m not so sure about this weekly recap business
It would be, and has been, impossible for me to catalog every stupid thing I make. Not to mention horribly unreadable, and not to mention insanely time consuming. I know this sounds like ass-hattery, but I really do cook everything from scratch most every night. And it’s usually at least a little interesting. And mostly healthy. And I do a lot of other things… running, racing, swimming, recording music, but…. ugh,
So, it would seem to make this
easier more interesting maybe some snap shots of stuff here and there every week could be entertaining. And I do like this construct of, “oh yes, and then I went to Uniqlo and their underwear is ok, but their t-shirts seem to be designed for persons with very short torsos.”
But then a friend of ours passed away
It would be easy enough to just not mention this, but dammit (I prefer this spelling), this happened. The details I will omit, not for any lack of significance or unimportance, but rather out of respect for those much more affected from the loss than myself. But, still it’s weird. Death is weird, if not mostly for its seldom appearance in my lifetime.
And that was the breadth of week 41. It’s not a complaint or a burden or some inconceivable probability that’s beyond my own existential universe… this week, death just was. So talking about my first trip to Uniqlo… eh.
So what the fuck do I write about now…
I doubt there is anything more cathartic than running; and honestly, a half-marathon was really what my wife and I needed.
This past Sunday was the final installment of the B.A.A. Distance Medley. (The Boston Athletic Association presents the Boston Marathon along with a distance medley comprised of three races throughout the year starting with a 5k in the Spring, a 10k in the Summer and culminating with a half-marathon in October.)
Last week I mentioned a back spasm, a mere hiccup if you will, that rested me for a few weeks earlier this month, but I healed up quickly and was able to get in one last solid track workout prior to the half marathon. My goal was a 6:45 mile pace which would put me at a few minutes under 1:30–highly consistent with my training this summer.
There were over 6,200 professional and amateur athletes participating in the race–a stately field for a half. Two of my running team mates convinced me to congregate with them at the front of the field just a few meters from “the elites”. After the first mile I glanced at my watch: 6:15. I’m not a newbie, with or without a GPS watch, I know pace-feel. I dropped back into a more realistic 6:30 and eventually settled into a 6:45 for the first half of the race. (Said fellow runners finished at 1:26, respectively–amazing!)
And then… motherfucker. After the first .25 miles my shoe came untied. I swear to God it’s Mizunos. Every pair I have… it’s like they are designed to untie even triple knotted. I decided at mile 7 I would: tie shoe, hit the inhaler, take a salt tab, down a GU gel with some gatorade and move on. This was a bad idea. Basically all of these things took about 2 minutes off my time. Dumb. What was I thinking?!
I did have one smart plan in place.
My amazing contemporary Laura, who was not participating in the race, agreed to pace me out for the last five miles of the half. She met me at mile 8 and was emphatically ready to go. I cannot tell you how important this was… first, the Boston half is a brutal course that punishes its victims with three final miles of uphill treachery. Laura talked me through the hardest part of the race–reminding me to lower my arms, to pick up my cadence, to focus only on the hill in front of me…
I finished the Boston Half Marathon in 1:31:48. I know that the two minutes of fucking around at mile 7 cost me, but then again, I needed the inhaler. I could’ve tripped on my shoe lace (despite not doing so for over six miles). I could’ve cramped up without the S-caps.
But still, there is no way in hell I would have powered through the last five miles without someone’s voice other than my own.
I finished 265th out of 6,211 runners. Or as my friend Jacob said, “it sounds a lot better to just say 96th percentile.” True.
And I finished ten minutes faster than the same course last year. A nice PR. (Out of the collective distance medley races for the year I finished 12th in my age group. So there’s that.)
Many o’ races my eyes have welled-up
This was my wife’s first half-marathon. To see someone race their first half, grieving no less–it’s impossibly emotional and touching.
I don’t doubt many have shed the weight of the world through the perpetual enduring cadence of running that keeps us moving forward despite the pain, heartache and loss of a loved one. And this race was no exception.
I can’t write any experience other than my own, and the loss of our friend was greatly that of my wife’s–so this entry is largely understated by my exclusive authorship; however, I am forever grateful to the friends, family and team mates that have supported us over the years in so many ways.
In the end, sometimes a little push is all anyone needs. Drop your arms… pick up your cadence… you got this.
Dedicated to Kimberly Smith who passed away at just 41.