Crazy Enough…28 Days to Go
Day 93- Day off.
Day 94- Easy Run- 10.01 Miles.
Day 95- Easy Run- 4.10 Miles.
Day 96- Race- 13.10 Miles.
Day 97- Easy Run- 6.60 Miles.
I woke up this morning excited to find the broadcast of the Chicago Marathon. I turned it on and let it play in the background as I went through a normal weekend morning routine. I poured some coffee beans into the top of the coffee machine, added water, cleaned the filter and pushed the button to hear the hum of the coffee beans grind followed by the sound of the water heating up. I looked out the window and saw gray skies and a steady drip of rain. I picked up my phone and glanced at the weather report — light rain all morning. I shrugged and checked the Chicago Marathon app that would keep track of all the people I knew running the race today.
I also woke up distracted by the race I ran yesterday I ran a half marathon in Brooklyn. The Rock n Roll version of the Brooklyn Half Marathon. I had decided to run this race because it fit in nicely with my training schedule and the people I work with have a professional relationship with the organizers of the race. I was provided with access to the VIP areas both before and after the race. The race was great and the VIP treatment helped. Yesterday was probably the perfect conditions for a race. If anything it could have been a little colder but the warm weather made the after party that much better. I have run Brooklyn quite a bit over the years and part of this course overlaps some of the other races I have done in Brooklyn. As a result, there was a familiarity that I usually don’t have with a race I am running for the first time. I decided to kick hard right from the start to see if I could sustain a sub 7:00 minute per mile pace. That was the goal — break seven in a half. I kept the 1:30 pace group close to me for a while but in the end I faded. I missed it. 1:31:41, a personal best for a half marathon but exactly at 7:00 minutes per mile. I quietly contemplated the distorted feeling of being happy with a personal record but disappointed with the failure of achieving the original goal. As I waited for my friends, I decided that it was fine. I was entitled to having this depth of feelings about a race. I could be happy and upset at the same time because fortunately the bigger goal was still in front of me and I can always run another half marathon.
This morning I had that odd distorted feeling about the race hanging in the back of my mind while drinking a big cup of coffee and watching these elite men and women running the streets I ran last year. I can’t say I ever thought about skipping the run but I did procrastinate a little. Eventually I put on my Chicago Marathon race shirt from last year and went outside for an easy run in some light fall rain. I felt the cold drops of rain for the first couple of steps and then it eventually started blending with my sweat. Astoria Park was empty. A couple of dog walkers and some runners out. As I was running alongside the East River, an unfamiliar Ford Explorer pulled up next to me and a familiar voice emerged- “You’re crazy.”
I glanced over and saw Jerry in the van smiling back at me and I smiled and nodded at him as the rain continued to fall. He drove off but I felt the smile emerge across my face and a spring in my step. I should rewind. I don’t know actually know that man’s name. For about seven months a year, that guy comes to the park between 6:15 and 7:15 am every morning, sits on a park bench across from the East River listening to music and watching things on his phone. He is part of the non-runner regulars I see every day. I have named him Jerry because we have developed a relationship from our routine “Good Mornings” and a couple of brief words. Other than that we have never really had a substantive discussion. I have never actually slowed down and introduced myself. Jerry has told me I am crazt before, like when he sees me doing 9 mile tempo runs on a Thursday morning, which consists of about four and half trips around Astoria Park.
I have been thinking about that “crazy” comment because others have said it to me with respect to running. I have also been thinking about what I would challenge myself with after the marathon. One potential race is a 60K they do in Central Park two weeks after the Marathon. Nine laps around the park just sounds like fun to me. That wouldn’t be about time. It would just be one last chance for a long run before the winter really sets in. Is that crazy? I think only a runner can understand the allure of something like that. The feeling that there is a chance those miles may ravage my body but I know without a doubt how they will heal my soul.
Regardless, twenty eight days until November 6th and I want to savor each one of them.