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Monday, August 06, 2007


The Running Man

So the thing is, I talk about running in casual conversations. I don't, I don't think, bring it up obnoxiously. ("Oh, man. This is good cheese dip, Marv. I can't wait to get out and run later.") It just sometimes comes up in conversations.

I've been running for a couple of years now. Almost exactly a couple of years, in fact. It was right around this time in 2005 when my friend Salim scored me some free running shoes and took away my last excuse to not join my wife in her exercise.

But, though it's been two years, they've been spotty years. They've been two years with some gaps in them. When my wife miscarried, we tended to be too goddamned depressed to run. And there were other times when I just went through periods of great sloth. You know how it is. And if you don't know how it is, kiss my ass.

I've been pretty good for the last few months, though. My wife and I really have been putting forth a little more effort. And, since she's now working a job that doesn't have a four-hour round-trip commute every day (I'm not kidding, folks; she was driving to the ass-end of Long Island five days a goddamn week) we've had many fewer days when we were too tired and just said "To hell with it."

So, while this increased fidelity to regular exercise hasn't yet done anything too spectacular to my physique, it has made me a somewhat more confident runner.

Which is why, last week, I off-handedly said to my wife, "Hey, why don't we try going all the way around the park this weekend." It was one of those things you say when you're just about finished with a wimpy two-mile run and feeling all cocky about yourself for no valid reason.

I basically forgot about mentioning this until my wife called me up on her way home from photographing the New York City Half-Marathon Sunday morning. She said, " ready to run the park?" I don't remember clearly, as a fog of panic set in at this point, but I think may have hung up the phone in lieu of responding.

She was not to be put off by such clever maneuvering, though. She renewed the subject when she got home. I tried to convince her that my leg was broken, going so far as to wrap a roll of wet paper towels around my femur and pretending that it was a cast. She wasn't buying it, though. She got indignant. Something about me "going back on my promises" or some such nonsense. She insisted. She went, in fact, so far as to threaten to poor my delicious beer down the sink.

And so I relented. I mournfully pulled on my stink-resistant running shirt. I hiked up my ball-cradling Sports Briefs, shoved my keys in my little shoe-purse and we headed out the door.

For anyone unfamiliar with Central Park or with running therein, it looks a little something like this, only less flat and jaggedy. Our normal run is from the top of the park, at 110th, down to Columbus Circle. It's only three miles, but it's got some hills and it makes us sweat enough that we feel like we've done something.

So what we did yesterday was our normal run, and then another one on top of it. We ran six miles, which is the farthest I've ever gone. I don't remember, because everything became hazy toward the end, but I think I might've been crying for the last 3/4 of a mile. I didn't crap my pants, like the marathon runners do, but that's probably just because I hadn't eaten that morning.

Anyway, I did it. I did it and now I can get all smug whenever I want and say, "Yeah, I'm going to go run six miles. Hey, enjoy that funnel cake."

Man, I've been trying to run lately, but the 95% humidity and 88 degree temps have pretty much turned "trying" into "thinking about".
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