Monday, December 26, 2005

I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers…

Ten miles in to my twenty-mile, out-and-back run, it was clear that I hadn’t brought enough Gatorade. I’d filled all three of my fuel-belt flasks (I lost the fourth ages ago), but the air was warm, and I was thirsty, and after ten miles, only a few sips remained.

Most of the Potomac Runners stick to 10 to 12 mile runs at this time of year—the majority ran in fall marathons and are in their off-season. They’ve taken to leaving the water stop out for me, even though I run longer and slower than almost everyone, and, on my really long runs, pass by it hours after the next last person. Maybe it’s not a big deal, and they may not even be thinking of me when they do it, but I can’t help picturing someone having to come back hours after they’ve gone home to collect the table from the side of the trail with a cooler and a POTOMAC RUNNERS sign in a plastic sleeve resting beside it. It makes me feel cared for, like finding a plate of dinner waiting for you at home after working late, or a parent tucking in a sleeping child after sending the babysitter home.

But the water stop is set up three miles from the start, and I had more than an hour of running before I’d get there.

I tried to savor the last drops in my flasks, and ration them out. But by mile twelve, they were gone. My wallet was locked in my car, along with the extra bottle of Gatorade I’d brought for afterwards. Anyway, the trail ran alongside the Potomac River (and a highway on the other side) so there was no place to stop to buy a drink. There are a few water fountains on the trail, but the pipes would freeze in the winter, so they were turned off.

I began eying the waterbottles of runners and bikers I passed on the trail. I would catch sight of someone in the distance, jogging towards me, with the tell-tale signs of a belt clipped around her waist. I’d turn my head as she passed, glimpsing the plastic bottles hanging on a slant off her back. My eyes sought out the crossbars of passing bicycles, where waterbottles—sometimes more than one—tend to be mounted. I pulled one of my flasks and tried to shake out another drop. I thought about the packs of PowerGel I still had left in the pouch of my fuel belt, but didn’t want to risk coating my parched mouth with the stuff.

I passed the thirteenth mile, and started picturing the shops I would pass in Alexandria in another four miles. I’d stop in and beg for a bottle of Aquafina. I’d leave my iPod as collateral. No, my watch. No. My iPod. Maybe they’d take my water belt?

I was thirsty. What was I going to do? What would you have done?

Me? I asked.

My friends tell me I’m a born “asker.” Who’s the person in your family who asks for a late checkout at a hotel? Or for a vegetarian substitution at a restaurant? Or if you can get a student discount for the movie tickets you’re buying for your friends, who are students, but who aren’t here yet, so you don’t have their Student ID on hand?

In my family, that’s my mother. But among my friends, especially a certain group from college, that’s me.

Most people seem happy to accommodate a special request, as long as it’s not too much trouble for them, and as long as you ask nicely. And usually I’m not too bothered if they say no. It never hurts to ask, I tend to think, because you’re much more likely to get what you want, if you do.

Soon after the thirteenth mile, the trail crosses through a parking lot near National Airport (the planes zoom overhead so low in the sky you feel like you could knock them with your hand, if you just stood on top of your car, and maybe jumped a bit). I saw two friendly-looking bikers stretching near an SUV—two bottles each. I veered off the trail towards the couple, pulling an earphone out of my ear with my left hand, and a fuel belt flask in my right.

“Hi. I’m sorry to bother you.” Apologetic smiling, directed back and forth between the two people, trying not to eye the water bottles too thirstily. “I still have about seven miles to run, and I’ve run out of water. Can I possibly get some from you?”

The couple laughs easily, and the man pulls a full bottle from his bike. “This one hasn’t been drunk from at all.”

I quickly begin unscrewing the lid from the flask. “Thank you so much. This is so great.”

He reaches over to begin pouring, and pauses. “There’s some Gu in here.”

“That doesn’t matter. Thank you so much.” He squeezes the water from his bottle into mine.

“I have some over here, too,” the woman says, holding up a bottle of her own.

“Thank you so much.” My flask is full, and I’m replacing the lid.

“Do you want more? I’m not going to need it.”

“It wouldn’t hurt.” We laugh. I pull out a second flask. “Is yours Gu-free?”

“Yes.” I bring my flask to her.

“Thank you so much. Have a great day. Merry Christmas.” I’m already jogging back towards to trail, gulping gu-free water from my refilled flask.

My energy replenished, I fairly fly by the 14th mile marker, and forget that I’ve passed it until I reach the 15th, and realize I only have five miles to go.

The Potomac Runner’s water stop is waiting for me after mile 17, and I refill again. Who says it’s a cruel world?


Hi. I’m in an overly dramatic mood today. I’ve been reading Out of Africa, and Isak Denison’s writing seems to have inspired new heights of self-indulgence. Please don’t blame Denison—it’s hardly her fault. Did I mention that I was running on my own and my iPod was skipping all over the place—and then stopped working altogether? I had to amuse myself somehow, and planning a blog entry is as good an entertainment as anything else.

Anyway, long story short (too late!) the run went very well. My splits averaged around 10:00 to 10:20, which is just where I’d like to be for the marathon. My last monster run is in two weeks, and I’ve vowed to hit all my weekday miles in the meantime. Then a three-week taper, and it’s off to Miami.

Now, if only this unseasonably warm weather will hold…

Friday, December 23, 2005

Congratulate me

I find it very hard to believe that people will PAY me to write stuff.

“But, I WANT to write articles,” I think to myself. “So clearly, that’s not going to work out for me.”

I don’t claim to know a lot about logic. But I do know that to want something really, really badly is scary. Because rejection and failure hurts, and it hurts more when it’s something that you really, really want.

So I shield myself by imagining the failure in advance. I inoculate myself against the embarrassment by accepting its eventuality—and by broadcasting it to the world. I doubt myself first so I don’t have to feel anybody else’s doubts (forget the fact that other seem to have many fewer doubts about my chances for success. They don’t know how much I want this.)

And I use the world’s best defense against failure: I don’t try. So these past two years, I have avoided writing classes, stopped short of pitching freelance stories, and steeped myself in my boring, unchallenging job. I looked for challenges elsewhere. I made myself at home in this new city, and I traveled to distant ones. I ran a marathon. I applied to the Peace Corps.

But I couldn’t quite forget that what I wanted was journalism. Boring and unchallenging my job may be, but in this office I am surrounded by people living my dream. It is possible, because they do it. And so I decided to try.

That’s the story behind my trip to Senegal. You’ve seen pieces of it unfold in my blog. And today is a big day. Because today I sign the contract on my first writing assignment. It is a story that I thought of, that I researched, and that I pitched. The editor was skeptical when I called, but I persisted, and emailed him a detailed proposal. And, two weeks after I had given up, he emailed me today with an offer and a contract.

It’s just a little article for my alumni magazine. 2,000 words. But it’s a start. It’s a project, and it’s mine.

Y’all. I’m a freelance writer!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Universe to Naomi: Merry Christmas

Naomi to Universe: But I'm Jewish!
Universe to Naomi: Whatever. Just enjoy.


You know what I hate about exercise? There’s no way to make up missed time. If I don’t run on Tuesday, I can’t run twice as fast on Thursday to make up for it. I suppose I could run twice as long, but ultimately, there’s no substitute for actually putting in the miles on Tuesday.

Can you tell that I’m feeling a little guilty? Can you perhaps guess why?

Despite my best intentions, I skipped runs on both Sunday and Tuesday. I did go to an hour-and-a-half dance class on Sunday, so that probably counts for something. And if I weren’t training for a marathon, it would be plenty for a day’s worth of exercise.

Okay, more’s the pity. No looking back. And I used the time spent not running in a relatively productive fashion, talking to my West African dance teacher and other classmates about travel in West Africa and people they know who have been or are currently in Senegal. This is Useful.

I planned to make up the miles on Monday, now that my tap class has ended. I didn’t. But! I had made plans with Tim to run on Thursday, in addition to my regularly scheduled spin class on Thursday mornings. So all was not lost.

Then, Tuesday. Having given myself permission to skip two planned runs, I found it astonishingly easy to skip a third. I knew it wouldn’t be bad once I started. I had even been in the mood to run up until about 4 pm. And then, as I felt the mood slipping, I read lots of running blogs in the hopes of inspiring myself. (Can I say, by the way, that I am incredibly intimidated by Rachel—by which I mean impressed and in awe. While I pitifully complain about 18-mile runs, she has run a PR half-marathon, 21 miles, and 23 miles in the last three weeks. I don’t deserve to run in the same marathon with her.)

Last night I got my act together and ran the planned 7 miles (and remembered that I enjoy running quite a bit). But, this morning, knowing that I was running in the evening with Tim, I also slept through my spin class.


And for all my complaining about the Universe’s sick sense of humor, I am really the child of fortune. Because in response to my incredible laziness, I have been given an amazing reward.

Remember Deanna, the not-running-blogger who makes me run faster and better on my Saturday long runs?

Last Saturday, towards the end of our two hour run (I only did 12 miles in preparation for this weekend’s 20; see above, re: Naomi=slacker), I joked, “are you sure you don’t want to come to Miami with me?” Joking because I never thought she’d be interested, not because I didn’t want a running buddy for the marathon.

To my shock, she said, “hmmm… when is it?”

We determined that it was too late for her to consider running the full distance (her longest distance to date is 14 miles, run a month or so ago). But when I suggested that she run the last 10 miles with me, she said, “I’ll look into plane tickets!”

Well as of about five minutes ago, she has booked herself on a flight. We’re going to eat pasta and watch Chariots of Fire, and then the next morning, around mile 16, she’s going to jump onto the course with me and keep me motivated until the end.

How great is that?

Answer: Pretty seriously great.


Happy Solstice, Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, or Friday, depending on what you do or do not celebrate! (Am I the PC-ist or what?)

Seriously, enjoy the holidays!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

While we’re on the topic…

So I’m not sure I mentioned, but I quit my job a couple weeks ago. Or, more accurately, I gave notice. My last day will be on January 6th.

I am thrilled and excited and I know that this is beyond a doubt the right move for me. It would not be good for my well-being or my career to stay longer in this job.

Not that I have a new job or anything.

Peace Corps, as I think I’ve mentioned, won’t start until June.

So what am I planning to do with my newfound freedom? Funny you should ask.

I’m going to Dakar, the capital of Senegal. That’s in West Africa. Actually, a couple miles west of Dakar is the westernmost point in all of Africa. There’s a plaque and everything. Or so I’m told.

Theoretically, I will be a “stringer”. Which is a jargon-y term for a freelance newspaper journalist. I’m working on figuring out how to do that. I’m talking to newspaper editors, and foreign correspondents, and everyone and anyone who has been in Dakar or West Africa, or you know, anywhere.

In reality, I have a feeling that what I’m really going to be is unemployed. But in Dakar! Which is far more exciting and less like being a bum than being unemployed in Washington, D.C. Right? Eh, maybe.

So anyway, I’m going for three months, after which I will determine what my next move will be. If I’m wildly successful at this “stringing” business then maybe I’ll just head straight back to Dakar and keep doing that. Or else I’ll probably follow through with the whole Peace Corps thing. Or maybe I’ll decide that I’ve had just about enough of Africa, thank you very much, and get a job in New Jersey. (The funny thing about that is that every time I tell people this, they all say, “Oh god. Definitely don’t get a job in New Jersey.” Cracks me up.)

And the (tenuous) connection to the previous topic? (The previous topic being “bugs, Naomi’s deeply-rooted dislike of.”) Let me explain.

Reading up on Dakar in the Lonely Planet, I came across the section on budget hotels.

At a Christmas party recently, I started telling some co-workers what I had read.

Naomi: So, the section opens with a little explanation that says, “A particularly aggressive strain of bedbugs seems to have infested Dakar, specifically in the city’s budget hotels. We searched hard, but were unable to find any hotels free from the infestation. We can only hope that by the time you arrive, the bugs will have moved on to some other city.”

Co-worker 1: Ewww.

Co-worker 2 [who did Peace Corps in Morocco]: Yuck. They probably just mean fleas, though. There are definitely fleas in all the cheap hotels.

Naomi: Yeah, but fleas aren’t nearly as bad, right? I mean, bed bugs, they get in everything. And they’re bigger.

Co-worker 1: True.

Naomi: Actually, the only thing I know about bedbugs is what I read in the New Yorker last summer, about a recent bedbug infestation in NYC. But there was no way to get rid of the bugs. The people in the article had to throw away ALL their furniture. So here’s my question: If I use my sleeping bag, will the bed bugs infest the sleeping bag? And then I’ll have bed bugs FOREVER?

Co-worker 2: Hmmm….

Naomi: And you know what else? So there are like 5 or so hotels listed in the section, right? And they all seem normal. You know, this one has air-conditioning, this one has private bathrooms, whatever. Except in the description of the fourth one, they say, all nonchalant-like, “Like all cheapies, this one’s a brothel.” What?

Co-workers 1, 2: [Laughter]

Coworker 2: Yup. I stayed in brothels all over Morocco.

Naomi: Does that mean that all the rest are brothels, too, and they just didn’t feel like mentioning it?

Coworker 2: Pretty sure.

Naomi: So, do I, a woman, traveling alone, want to stay in a brothel?

Coworker 2: It’s fine. You’re a foreigner, so they put you in a different category.

Naomi: But. A brothel?

Coworker 3: [just joining the conversation] Did I just hear you guys talking about brothels? [We fill her in on what she missed, with appropriate faces of shock, horror, and disgust, made mostly by me.]

Naomi: So, I think I might stay in a non-budget hotel. You know, just for the first night or two. Like maybe a “moderate” one. Because of the bed bugs. And the brothel.

Coworker 3: Apparently, Naomi wants to do the Peace Corps in Connecticut.

Cue laughter.

Okay. I recognize that I’m not choosing the path of luxury and spa treatments here. And it may be that last night’s Waterbug-Gate won’t be the most disgusting thing that I encounter in the next few months.

So I hope that Jessica was right when she commented, “Noames, I bet you will come back from the Peace Corps and read this post and laugh until tears come out your nose.”

I’m sure I’ll be fine, once I get there, right? I’ll just get used to it. I’ll soon become so jaded that I will blithely pull the wings off beetles and eat them whole. While sitting on my bed-buggy bed in a brothel.


True story:

Last night, I was getting ready for bed. I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth, and I saw the bottle of vitamins that I bought over the summer, and that I stopped taking after about a month, because I hated swallowing the giant pills.

I decided I should start taking them again. I finished brushing my teeth, popped a vitamin in my mouth, and walked out to my living room (or, well, only room—it’s a studio) and took a big gulp of water from the half-full glass I’d left out a few minutes before.

Mission accomplished, pill swallowed, I looked at the glass.

Which had a big, disgusting waterbug (which is just a fancy word for COCKROACH) floating in it.

I DRANK the BUG water. I ALMOST drank the BUG. In fact, I may have drank a bug. Who knows? Maybe there were TWO in the water before I took my giant gulp.

Do cockroaches carry the plague? I’m probably going to die now, right?


Saturday, December 10, 2005

Quel désastre

It’s a good thing I just bought my plane ticket yesterday.

Because, today’s run?

Not so fun. (And, apparently, it has turned me into Dr. Seuss. The indignities just keep piling on.)

I wasn’t really up for a run, this morning, when I woke up at 7 to temperatures in the twenties (Fahrenheit). It looked to be a beautiful, sunny morning, but my bed seemed so much more inviting than an 18-mile run.

Still, I knew I needed to get my long run in, and that it wasn’t going to seem any more fun at 10 am, when I wouldn’t have a group to run with. Nine times out of ten, I can shake myself out of my funk just by getting dressed and getting on the road.

Of course, there’s always that pesky tenth time out of ten. Sigh.

A half-mile in: “I’m so not feeling this today,” I told Mr. BPD, who ran the first seven miles with me (and who, God help me, is starting to grow on me).

I deliberately stacked an eighteen-mile run the week after a sixteen-mile run, instead of inserting a shorter run between the two distances. Mostly it was a question of timing—by the time I started training, there were only a certain number of weeks left, and several holiday weekends to factor in. But I also thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea, conditioning-wise. I’ve heard that it takes about two weeks to recover from any given workout. I’ve also heard that it takes a day for every mile (this one is usually meant for races). Either way, I figured the effects of the sixteen miles would still be in my legs when I ran eighteen, and that running when already tired would help me be prepared for the last miles of the marathon.

So when I was making my schedule, I blithely put the two numbers on the calendar, and moved on. I wasn’t feeling so confident this morning, though. My legs were noticeably fatigued, and I had a long way to go.

And two snowstorms this week weren’t going to make things any easier.

Most of the trail is paved with asphalt, and most of the ice had already melted there. But there are a number of concrete and wooden bridges, and more than a few shady spots on the trail, where there was still plenty of ice. Lots of crunchy, refrozen snow, which isn’t so bad, and a few really slick spots. We kept our eyes on the ground ahead of us, ran slowly when we hit an icy patch (every couple of minutes, it felt like) and sometimes ran on the snow-covered grass alongside the trail.

Five or six miles in, it was clear that my sub-10 min/mile pace from the past few weeks wasn’t going to hold up over this run. We were probably averaging 10:30-40. Mr. BPD turned around at mile 7, and, thankfully, I had learned from last week, and brought my iPod with me for the remainder of the run.

For the next 7 miles, I fought myself to keep running, even at my snail-like pace, and I was winning. But soon after the mile marker that signified 4 miles to go, the cramp-like twinges in my left calf got annoyed at being ignored.

There were four miles between me and my car, and nothing to do but keep moving. I walked until the muscle relaxed, and then stretched lightly. I thought about trying to run again, but I was at a particularly icy spot, so I decided not to risk it. I walked on for another couple of minutes, and, when the ice cleared, I stopped to stretch again, this time a little more aggressively. Then, I started to run.

This wasn’t exactly the strategy I used when my calves cramped during the marathon. That time, I used a lot more panic, and also self-pity. I threw in some whining, whenever someone would listen. After the first cramps, I also didn’t give myself much time to recover. The moment the spasm passed, I tried to run again, without really letting the muscle relax, or trying to stretch.

So this strategy? The calm, walk-it-off-and-stretch strategy? Totally worked. I ran the whole rest of the way to my car. I felt a few more twinges, and my quads started burning when I still had about a mile and a half to go, but I kept running.

And I can’t deny that this kind of thing was, in a sick way, exactly what I was hoping would happen when I planned these last two long runs. Because, on any given training run or race, you can only do as well as you can, with what you have, on that day. And the thing they never tell you about race day is that you have a lot more control over your training runs than you do over the race. So I contrived to give myself a crappy run, to see if I could push through.

It sucked. I was tired the whole time, and I could NOT imagine running eight more miles after that. I *really* hope my run goes better in Miami. And, despite my efforts not to care how long today’s run took, I was totally disappointed. Part of me thinks that if I was running this slow, it shouldn’t have been so tiring. But I also think that the ice and snow contributed to my exhaustion—there was a lot more weaving than usual, and stepping so carefully over the icy patches seems like it must be more work than just running on clear ground.

I have two more chances to do better. I will run 20 miles in two weeks, and 22 miles two weeks after that. Plus, the actual race. Which is the run that counts. So… We’ll see.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for a return of the funny, as I contend with water-stop volunteerism, trying to eat right, and fighting my inner lazy.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I blame the patriarchy

Many of the running blogs I read have recently written lovely posts about running in the snow. They post photos of the picturesque landscapes. So serene. So white. So fluffy. “Yay snow!” they say. “Isn’t it just the peachiest keen?”

No. It is neither peachy, nor keen.

Look, I grew up in New York. I’m not going to claim snow cred along the lines of some Minnesotan or Wisconsin-ite? (-er? Wisconsonian? Help me out here), but I know snow. I’ve done the sacred “Please snow, snow hard, but not before about 4 am, because otherwise they will have time to plow it and then we will still have to go to school” dance. I have frolicked in snow, and I have loved it.

And I’m not afraid to run in weather. I started running last winter, for no good reason, I might add, and I liked it. I even enjoy running in the rain. It reminds me of summer camp, where we’d run around through the mud in the late summer downpours, barefoot, because that’s just the way we rolled. I actually have this whole philosophy about rain, and about how it only sucks because you’re trying not to get wet, because that’s what the man demands. But it’s wrong. Because you WILL get wet. And you will not melt. So embrace the wet. Get drenched and love it. Damn the man!

So I tried to channel the snow-love for my run on Tuesday morning. But I just wasn’t feeling it. I even contemplated running on a treadmill instead.

The problem, really, is not the snow. It’s the ice. I know more than one former running addict (okay, two. I know two such people) who have blithely gone for a winter run, only to slip on ice and injure themselves terribly. And they never ran again! Or, well, one of them is starting to run again. But it’s been more than a year. And he had to have surgery.

I’m a klutz. I trip. I bump into things. I = not graceful. So I was nervous as I headed out for a four-mile run. I was bundled up, and not too cold, and the sidewalks had all been cleared, and many had been salted, so there wasn’t much ice. There was some, and there were moments when I could feel that my footing wasn’t sure, but I went slowly, especially downhill, and paid attention.

3.85 miles later, my apartment building was in sight, and it appeared that I had managed to avoid major mishap.

What’s the thing they say about how 99% of accidents within two blocks of when Naomi stops paying attention?

So I’m running on the block leading up to my building, the one part of my run that is the same EVERY SINGLE TIME I leave my home, a stretch of sidewalk I could navigate with my eyes closed. And then.

The sidewalk is uneven—a tree root pushed up one piece of pavement so that it jutted three inches higher than the piece next to it. This is not new. Yet I tripped over it.

All of a sudden, my arms were pinwheeling comically, my feet were scrambling to catch up with my center of gravity, and my mouth was spewing curse words (maybe).

I caught my balance (I’ve had lots of practice). I wasn’t injured. (Was that anti-climactic?) And there wasn’t any ice, either. I just tripped. Nevertheless? I never tripped there when there wasn’t snow on the ground.**


Damn the man.

** That might not be true. I trip a lot.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Top twenty finish, first overall female

I didn’t break two hours in the half marathon, or beat my PR by 75 minutes or anything else comparably spectacular, but I did manage to hit the finish line of the Gar Williams Half Marathon in the top twenty.

How to reconcile such a paradox? Just requires starting an hour and fifteen minutes early, running a completely different version of the out-and-back course, and a healthy dose of self-delusion. But I’ve never shied away from a challenge.

It seems I didn’t get the memo. All the other bloggers I know of who are running Miami in January scheduled themselves to run half-marathons on Saturday. Instead, I scheduled myself to run sixteen miles.

I started worrying the night before (as I do) when, sitting on the couch, indoors (in case that wasn’t clear), under a blanket, I was freezing. Because running happens outside, with no blankets. Which sounded colder.

On Saturday morning, I drove out to Alexandria to run with the Potomac Runners. Other than Thanksgiving, I haven’t missed a week since I started running with them. The organizer, a former Ironman who got injured and can’t run anymore, used to welcome me with a pleased, “You’re back!” Now he just says, “I’m glad you’re here!” He’s known the other runners longer, and so he has more to chat about with them.

On Saturday, Chelle strolled over and commiserated about the cold. She was wearing a tech shirt, a thin wool sweater, and a fleece vest. I only had two layers, and I was jealous. Deanna, I knew, would be running the half-marathon (starting at 9:30 am), and so wouldn’t be joining us that morning. I ran with Chelle and another guy for the first mile and a half or so, but soon their pace picked up or I slowed down or both. After that, there didn’t seem to be anyone at my pace, so I was going to be on my own.

The rolling hills of the Mt. Vernon trail become more hill than rolling after about 4 or 5 miles, so I decided to run out and back twice — five miles out the first time, and three miles out the second. That also allowed me to hit the Potomac Runners water stop twice.

And it meant that I saw both ends of the Half Marathon. The race started as I headed back the first time, and I ran past the whole group between their miles one and two (my miles 8 and 9). Their course was a straight out-and-back that started about a quarter-mile south of my starting point, so I didn’t see them again after I turned around at my 10th mile and headed back out three miles.

I turned around just past one of their water stops, and headed back, finally on my home stretch. The racers were still behind me, and the winner didn’t pass me until somewhere around the next mile marker.

He was well out in the lead. The next runner didn’t pass me for at least several minutes. And the next runner after that was another several minutes behind. Three, four, and five were closer together (three and four were right on each others heels), and number six was the first older runner.

For a while I thought I could make the top ten—and I was behind number seven for a good half mile, but once number eight streamed past, my hopes were dashed, as another five or six runners quickly followed.

I’ve only ever seen the front of a race from the other side of the turn around, and it was fun to watch it play out in front of me. Some much needed entertainment, after more than two hours of running on my own.

The sixteen miles were hard—I don’t really want to think about how I would have felt running another 10 miles on top of that. During an especially hilly portion of miles 12 and 13 I had to fight to keep myself from stopping to walk—I told myself it was mile 22 of the marathon, and I was close to finishing at my goal. It helped me get through those last 4 miles, but it wouldn’t have gotten me through another 13.

But that’s what the next month of training is for, right?

It’s nice to think about how far I’ve come since last time. I’m much faster (Saturday’s run clocked in around 2:38, which is just below a 10 min/mile pace). And much less achy. Last year, I was stiff and exhausted for days after my long runs, and by this point of the training, I was skipping at least one workout a week, if not more.

But after Saturday’s sixteen miles, I went to my dance class on Sunday (there was a substitute teacher, who I kind of hated), ran another 4 miles (at an easy pace), and tried out my new yoga DVD. Not in a row. There was lunch and other stuff in between many of those things. But still.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Putting my money where my mouth is...

You might think that making a training schedule, following it, making travel arrangements (or, well, talking about travel arrangments), and telling everyone I know that I was planning to run Miami in January would indicate, I don't know, that I was "committed." That I actually intended to, as they say, "follow through."

You might not have been wrong to think that. But I wasn't convinced.

Because none of those things cost me anything. I could still back out and not be a penny poorer.

And apparently, money is all I care about. What's that they say about Jewish people? (I can make that joke, but you cannot. Just like my jokes about living in a hut in Africa are funny, and your jokes about catching the malaria death there are not. This public service announcement has been brought to you by our fine friends at Naomi is a, where our motto is, "Yeah, we don't like her either.")

But, back to my point, I am now actually committed. I paid more than $75 (stupid online processingn fee) to the ING Miami Marathon people. So it looks like I'll be running on January 29th.