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"

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Holiday Marathons: EASTER

On Sunday morning, I got my lazy self together and headed up to Van Cortlandt Park for the latest in the Holiday Marathons. Basically, on every major holiday since Thanksgiving, a group of dedicated volunteers have sponsored a free trail marathon (or half, or 6.5m race) in the Bronx. I'd missed all of them to date, either being out of town or out of shape or otherwise engaged.  But not this week! I made plans to meet up with a few friends (including Mz. Duffy,* my friends Renee and Mike, and Aron - who has recently begun blogging himself) to run the half.

Well, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, isn't it. I had the best of intentions, and by the end of the day I was in hell. I'll explain more about why that is tomorrow, but for now, I'll just tell you a bit about the race.

It was small. And free! And there was a guy dressed as the Easter Bunny!

And better yet... there was Scott Jurek. Let me tell you something: Scott Jurek is hot. He totally is. I'm not embarrassed to say that. I'm only slightly ashamed to admit that when we saw him arrive, I jumped up excitedly like a little girl. I wasn't the only one, though, and he was pretty quickly mobbed with a crowd of runner women.

10:15ish and we were off. If you're wondering about the course, Aron has a few photos up on his flickr account that can give you some idea of it, as do the race directors on their website. It was largely flat. There were some hills toward the beginning and the last couple miles (of the 6.5m loops) were rolling. The trails were not at all technical - some paved, some loose gravel, nothing off-road. The only aid was at the start/finish, so every 6.5m if you were doing the full marathon. Large parts of the course were quiet and serene, although the parts that run along a highway had the ambient noise of, well, a highway.

Lovely course. Hot day. Crap run. It started solidly, running leisurely with Aron and catching up on his recent (first!) marathon. Around mile 3 or so, Mike joined us and we ran together for a bit. By mile 4, I had given myself permission to only do one lap. By mile 5, I was running on my own. Mike and Aron lost me on some uphills, and I never caught up with them. (You can go ahead and read between the lines of Aron's race report that I'm basically a crap friend who let him down by not running on - but I would have held him back more had I tried to continue.)

The good part of being the last of your friends to finish is having Renee there to bang a gong when you finish:

Even if you finish with the stupidest look ever made on your face. Seriously, can anyone explain to me what I'm doing here?

Afterwards, I was wiped. Renee and I did an extra 3m, but it was kind of a wash. I was quite lightheaded and frankly, bummed that I'd backed off the half marathon. Very unhappy. Why couldn't I have just accepted that it was a fun run and gone with it? Why did I have to beat myself up? Questions for the ages... or for tomorrow, at least.

*Somehow I never met up with Mz. Duffy, inexplicably. I'm not really sure how I missed her!


  1. I wanna know if, after banging the gong, you got it on. With Jurek or the rabbit. Or both at once!

  2. Kate, you know me so well. I put those stories in my other blog, though. The secret inappropriate fetish blog.

  3. haha...You got me through the 14.2M Manhattan Training Run run so you would have to do more than not do a second lap to disappoint me...I honestly feel I was a bit macho with going on and the heat.

  4. For a split second there, I was upset to learn of your "other" blog. All kinds of shock and exclusion washed over me. Then I clued in.

  5. I might not have actually been there. MYSTERIOUS. (No, really, I was! And I saw none of the people in your pictures. I was slow.)

  6. The weird pic of you was when I was jumping up and down like an idiot and telling you to run hard to the finish. You made a mocking face and waved your arms and legs like so...

    You're welcome. :)

  7. Sweet bunny pic! I love races with costumed mascots.