On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Monday, November 8, 2010

To be continued...

I'll have a full and proper report tomorrow, once I've seen my brother off onto the airplane, eaten both of my Crumbs cupcakes, and gotten through the backlog of work I've built up over the last eight weeks (or so) that I haven't been able to do because of the mental energies used in marathon training.

Suffice it (for now) to say that I earned marathon medal #7, the hard way (aka the usual way, by running the whole damn thing).  This was my 4th best marathon, of 7 marathons.  Incidentally, this was my 4th worst marathon.  Glass is half-empty, or half full?

In the meantime, while you wait anxiously for my race report, I have an announcement:

I, like Haile Gebrselassie, am taking this opportunity to declare my retirement from the marathon.

One of us is arguably the best distance runner in the world, both middle and long distance.  The other of us is inarguably of mediocre abilities.  Both of us have expressed our frustration with the marathon.  Gebrselassie said today, in the NYTimes, "I never think about retiring.  For the first time, this is the day.  Let me stop and do other work after this.  Let me do other jobs."  I emailed a friend after the race with, "I think I'm retiring from marathoning to find something I'm actually competent at."  I hadn't yet heard about Gebrselassie's announcement, and yet we were already living parallel lives.  I would at this point suggest a reality show starring the two of us as we try to find other things to do with our free time.  We could live in a house on the beach somewhere.  It would be zany.

Of course, just as I hope that Gebrselassie changes his mind about his retirement, I, too, reserve the right to change my mind.


  1. It's like the twilight zone!!! Spooky.

    One of the things that did spur me on as I was running were the Crumbs cupcake (cupcakes?) that I am getting tonight. What kind do you have?

    Congrats on your 7th marathon! That is truly amazing.

  2. Ha! I suspect both Haile and I will have a rethink over the next few days/weeks.

    I'm eating Grasshopper right now. Last night was pumpkin. There's no frosting in the middle of pumpkin, fyi (I do not recommend it).

  3. Perhaps you were a Kenyan in a prior life and it is now becoming apparent? I'm all for reserving the right to reconsider, although Brett Favre should discontinue that practice. I told myself that after I ran the Marine Corps marathon this fall, I'd retire...but then I was unable to get to the start line. hmmmmmmmmm

  4. Temporary pause from the marathon is what you meant to say.

  5. I would definitely watch the Haile and Tracy show!

    That said, I was telling someone last week I never act on ideas that come to me at 3 in the morning, and I would advise the same for you -- don't swear off of marathons the day after having a lousy one.

    And never email pictures of your genitals.

  6. Marie, why didn't you give me that advice about genitals sooner? I thought if maybe you couldn't see my face... JUST KIDDING.

    And Kate - sounds like you have unfinished business with the marathon... I'd love to think that I am indeed part Kenyan, but sadly I think I'm probably the chubby cousin who had to drop out of school because she was three hours late every day from having to run there.

    And Ian - we'll see. We'll see.

  7. First, a reality show would be awesome!

    Second, I don't think your retirement will last... And, you can't retire before running the Marine Corps Marathon -- seriously, that was really a good one!

  8. Congrats for making it through your 7th! Purely amazing. I am in awe.

    Maybe you two just need a break from one another - explore other opportunities, see what else is out there.

  9. At 37, retirement is not out of the question for Geb. Still, one should sleep on these types of decisions. And his announcement detracts from the winner's accomplishment yesterday.

    Congrats on #7. Awaiting the full race report...

  10. Mike, I totally agree about his announcement. I'm sure it was said in the heat of the moment, but when I heard about it later it sort of came off as poor sportsmanship when I think (hope) he meant to graciously concede to a younger generation.

    Of course, my announcement is fully meant to detract from the female winner's accomplishment. Neither Edna Kiplagat nor Shalane Flanagan has to worry about me nipping at their heels come race day any longer.

  11. Congratulations on your NYC Marathon finish!!!! Let the whole thing percolate for a bit. But still. You trained and ran and finished. Which means you are as much of a Rock Star as the woman who finished second. She ran and trained and finished, too. Neither of you won. There ain't no first loser.

    Luv ya.

  12. Uh oh! I hope it wasn't that bad! Don't retire!

  13. I loved this post!

    Congrats on yet another race :) You're amazing! 7 marathons is awe inspiring!

    I took declare my retirement from racing. At least this decade ;) (I turn 29 this yeaR)

  14. Yeah, there's a good chance I'm already rethinking my retirement...
    But NO SPRING MARATHON. Or probably no spring marathon.

  15. ...or maybe just one spring marathon....

  16. ...if you're going to train for one, you might as well double-up, right? I mean two spring marathons wouldn't be that big of a deal...

  17. Huge congrats, Tracy! Can't wait to read the full report. I hope you change your mind more than I hope Haile does :)