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, December 20, 2011

This is what it's all about.

Last week, I was moaning about goals. If you could read between the lines, which you can because both of you readers are very very bright, you could sense that I was - I don't know, not exactly missing motivation so much as kind of floundering about what to do next. I'm goal-less, and while that's okay, I'm also impatient.

I got some excellent advice in the comments, including M's suggestion that I work on... well, on doing nothing. Sweaty Kid also had a suggestion: more trail running. So, I tried that.

On Sunday, I met Illana in a place with a funny name to run on a trail with a burly name. That's how I described it to a friend, and I stand behind my words - we met at the Mamaroneck train station (funny name) to run the Leatherstocking Trail (burly name). And it was awesome.

That photo is about .02 seconds after I stepped in the water accidentally and screamed out loads of profanities. It was cold. Coldcoldcold. This is also my new facebook profile photo, since it's rare that I look anything other than completely strange while in running clothes.

But first, I ran a 15k. And it was great. Saturday morning, only very slightly hungover, I ran the Ted Corbitt 15k in Central Park in 1:29:11, beating my last year's time (and PR) of 1:34:01 by nearly 5 minutes. This made me happy. I set a goal for myself (sub-1:30) and I beat it. And it was hard.

Illana is training for things that are much more hardcore than I am, including a trail 50k this spring. Me, I'm chilling. Although I wanted to throw up more than a little bit at the finish line of Saturday's race, I actually didn't feel that terrible by Saturday afternoon. Sunday was all about easy running, though. Illana let me lead and set the pace, and I set it sloooooow. My Garmin died just as our run began, and hers was recording only the time (not the pace/distance). This was fine by me.

There was an element of Blair Witch to the whole thing - mostly because you can't tell from the photos that we were never more than 500 feet from the suburbs.

Of course, I am like an elephant when it comes to the trails. Well, maybe not quite an elephant, as an elephant would be able to just smash its way through stuff. I'm more like, you know, something clutzy and awkward.

Illana is faking falling, but I'll bet you were fooled, weren't you, you totally couldn't tell that this was staged, can you!

It was only about 90 minutes into our 2+ hour run that she took the lead. Immediately I noticed her style - she jumped gracefully from stone to stone, seeming to float or bounce. "Be nimble!" she told me. "Nimble!" I tried it. It worked. (Relatively speaking. I went from elephant to maybe hippopotamus - which I'm good with.)


  1. That's how I'd like to run trails - floating above the rocks and obstacles. Sadly, I feel more like a hippo than a gazelle. I realize that the answer to this is probably to run more trails, but that has yet to actually happen. (Despite the fact that good trails are only a 20 minute drive from my house. But roads are right outside my door!)

  2. Thanks T. It really was a great morning and your pace was perfect. I am sure the staged fall was far more graceful than the real faceplant I did. How nimble was I when I went down the hill.

  3. Hippo > elephant! :)
    At least you can walk without tripping. I am an avid hiker, but have yet to do a day hike where I don't take a tumble at some point! (I'm usually A-OK on the short treks. It's the day-long ones that always trip me up!)

  4. Congrats on meeting your goal for the 10K! That is a very good time!

    Also - brrr!!! I see pics of people doing cross country and running through mud and water in the fall and winter... brr brr brr!!!

  5. Way to go on the 10K - that is awesome!!! As for the trail running - what a great idea. I always feel like a little kid outside playing when trail running. It really feels like running for running's sake. So glad you enjoyed your Blair Witch adventure on the trails!!!!

  6. Did I make a mistake? It was a *15k*, not a 10k. (Although my 15k pace is now faster than my 10k pr race, oops.) Thanks!

  7. That's awesome! I love trail running, but I'm always wigged out to go by myself. There's a Fat Ass every February here, where you're either running through snow, on ice or through mud. I've done it twice and signed up for it again this year. Sure, I only do the 7.1 miles, but I love it. Plus, there's a giant potluck party at the end. My kind of runners.

  8. YAY, GoTracyGo is back! What a gorgeous trail.