Saturday, October 26, 2013

6 Things I Will Remember About Training for My First Marathon

Yes, I completed my first marathon on September 28! I don't often write about running because I feel like a bit of a sham, but it's weird calling myself a dancer, too, so, well…I usually just think of myself as a mover.

In any case, I trained for the Hamptons Marathon for 16 weeks and a lot of stuff happened. Here's some of what makes me smile the most:

* One of the reasons I signed up for this race was to figure out if I could make peace with my hometown, my childhood, the "me" who lived there who I sometimes dislike and pretend not to know…one of the Sunday morning group training sessions in East Hampton had us running down to 5 different beaches. Running through the fog and salty sea air, I started to feel the magic of the beautiful place where I grew up, accessing it like breathing, slowly and wholly, as I made my way through morning mist… I realized this is part of me, period the end, and no tourists or developers or stupid celebrities  who've overtaken it…or even myself!…can take that away. I'm the mist, I'm the ocean, I'm the sand and sky… it twinkles in me like a firefly.

* Maybe it was the endorphin release that sent me to some canine plane of consciousness, but about an hour and 15 minutes or so into my long runs, this weird communication thing would start happening with the dogs I'd run past. I'd notice them from hundreds of yards away and they'd turn around and smile at me. Happened on every long run. There was one English bulldog in particular, by Chelsea Piers--I wish I knew what he was saying to me, because I think it was something funny and motivational, the doggie version of Chris Farley as Matt Foley living in a van down by the river...

* Sonic memory: One of the runners at a training run in East Hampton, gloriously, unknowingly farting for about 1/2 a mile as we discussed shih tzus (One reason not to wear headphones…not to hear people farting, but to realize you are the farter…)

* My first 20-miler: Running down Madison Avenue when they closed it to traffic during Summer Streets on a gnarly hot August Saturday, listening to Prince's "Sometimes it Snows In April" on my iPod and smiling and crying at the same time because it made me think of how much I missed/love Bing.

* Stopping at the concession stand on Atlantic Beach to get water on a slimy and bright July day, and some jerk getting out of his car mumbles to himself as I pass by that you're not allowed to run on the dunes. It took me about a minute to realize he thought I was the one who'd been running on the dunes (slow to grok, I know!). Little did he know I am the dunes : )  In hindsight, I would have loved to have whupped his passive-aggressive honky @ss.

* On a bunch of Monday nights toward the end of training, I'd run with my friend Hope in Central Park. Before meeting her, I'd go into a candy store on Madison Ave. to get Gatorade, where there was a resident kitty who had his own cubby. One evening in early September, I noticed a little glittery hot pink scooter parked outside with pink unicorns and ribbons tied to it. When I went in, a little girl (clearly the scooter owner) was sitting on the floor with the candy cat, saying goodbye to him because she was going away for Labor Day and wouldn't see him for a while. The cat was totally in love, licking her and letting her pet him. I hear they remodeled and candy cat doesn't have a cubicle anymore, so I'm thinking of getting him a kitty bed and just sort of leaving it there. Pink, of course. : )

If I'm running in a race, with a group or with someone else…I don't like to listen to music. But by myself, it's fun to listen to  crappy 70s and 80s songs and full-length albums. Here's the first song on one I listened to a lot this past summer: