This whole half marathon thing has me running a little scared, no pun intended. My fellow masochist and I went for what ended up being a pain-stricken 7-miler overlooking the Hudson. The fact that there is almost twice that awaiting us on Sunday is hilarious. Old age has hit, I tell you, and if I could amputate only my knee caps, I would. But it was all worth it – not for the accomplishment of completing a difficult run, no. But the fact that we saw John Slattery, who plays Roger Sterling for the three of you who don’t watch Mad Men. (I will light a candle for all three).
He was coming out of the ice rink at Chelsea Piers, with his son on his handlebars, about to cross the West Side Highway. I’ll take seven miles of hell for the chance to witness that.
Sunday is not going to be pretty and it’s not going to feel good…until after when I’m downing blueberry pancakes and my third Bloody Mary. A few months ago, it seemed the most natural thing in the world to sign up for this race. I’d done the NYC marathon, am hoping to do it again this year, no biggie. But, the last month has not allowed the time, the interest, and the dedication to run such a distance. I haven’t run over six miles in a year. But we’re doing it anyway. Maybe it’s a statement for me, a chance to finish something. Maybe it’s a desire to feel less guilty about the pancakes I would have eaten anyway. Maybe it’s to squelch the disbelieving laughter I received from a certain someone who knew I wasn’t training for it. It could be all of those things. It may cause physical pain and require some icing, but I know I’ve been through a lot worse in recent days. Thirteen point one miles is a friggin’ cakewalk.
A sucker for a good Nike quote, I’ve had this poster in my possession for as long as I can remember. “That’s right. I’m out of here. Do not chase me down or text me or try to talk me into going out to lunch. I don’t have time to figure out if I have time for a run. I’m just going. The world will not fall apart in my absence. I might miss somebody’s birthday cake or a discussion of last night’s season finale. Even if I do, who cares. I’m coming back with a state of mind three coffees, two flirtatious emails and a week of vacation can’t buy. Just do it.”
Ninety percent of life is about just showing up. No, I’m not going to reach my goal of finishing under two hours, not this time around. And that’s ok. A dear old friend I haven’t spoken to in years gave me some great advice last night: “Think back to horseback riding. Where you look is where you go. You look down you will go down. You look to the left, everything will follow.” She saw me literally fall off many times for not looking where I was going, and depending on my horse to take me to the next jump. But we need to take the reins instead and steer to our destination. On Sunday, it will be a finish line down in Battery Park, where I will cross with a friend, hearing the cheers of family. It’s not the time that shows up on the radar that means anything, it’s the ninety percent that do.