Silver Linings

Yesterday, I was supposed to race a marathon. It was going to be my 27th marathon and my second one this year. It was going to be my first international marathon, one that I had been targeting to podium, or — if I was having a good day — compete for an overall win. But, the universe and I have been in kind of in a big fight these past few weeks and instead of racing in Banff, Canada, I spent the weekend on Long Island in a walking boot nursing a sprained ankle and a wounded heart.

My crappy new accessory.
My crappy new accessory. But, thanks to some fancy technology, I am rocking “the shoes with the pumps” a la Todd Carey.
          Yikes. I didn’t mean for that to sound quite so dramatic. In all seriousness, though, the summer hasn’t exactly turned out the way I thought it would, but if a series of little (okay, more like, big Canadian Rockies-sized) bumps in the road have taught me anything, it’s that these days, I’m all about finding the silver linings — listening to my cousin sing “This is the New Year” instead of going to a concert at Bowery Ballroom, having my aunt take me to Bed Bed Bath and Beyond instead of buying new clothes at Lululemon and Banana Republic. It’s Friday night pizza and wine with family instead of late night dinner dates at home. And in the case of this weekend, it was celebrating my grandmother’s 90th birthday instead of racing 26.2 miles through the Canadian Rockies. Oh, and there was also an impromptu pool side dance party, a challenger league baseball game, Father’s Day dinner, and a little game called “Bean Boozled” where 4 of us dopes sat on my cousin’s bed in our pajamas and ate jellybeans flavored like rotten eggs, moldy cheese, barf, skunk, and boogers, just to name a few. We laughed (and gagged) so hard our eyes watered. And yes, there is evidence, but only in the form of video — physical evidence in the form of, well, actual vomit, has (hopefully?) been washed from my cousin’s shirt.
With the birthday girl. Note: her tiara says
With the birthday girl. Note: her tiara says “Happy 29th Birthday”
          This weekend, I didn’t get my typical pre-race jitters (or, less flatteringly referred to as “that time before a marathon where Kelly turns into a crazy lady”). I didn’t get to carbo load. I didn’t get the challenge of trying to convert my kilometer splits into mile times (as an enginerd, I was kind of looking forward to it). I didn’t hit the wall and then fight through it. I didn’t get to see my sherpa. I didn’t get that indescribable feeling that brings me to tears every time I cross a marathon finish line. And the fashion-inept engineer/scientist part of me is disappointed I didn’t get to wear my favorite post-race accessories: bright purple compression socks and brown crocs.
With Auntie M
With Auntie M
          But I did spend the weekend with my family. My family, who makes me smile so hard my face hurts, who cares so much my chest aches, and who insists on feeding me so much my kellybelly hurts. My family, who is reminding me how to be happy and how to laugh again. And if that’s not a silver lining, I don’t know what is.
Kisses from Connor!
Kisses from Connor!

This is my fight song…

          Alanis Morissette told us “I recommend getting your heart trampled on to anyone.” Alanis, you be crazy. Okay, maybe we already knew she was a little crazy when she wrote a scathing breakup song about Uncle Joey, but nevertheless, I am not a fan of this heart trampling she speaks of. In fact, I would argue that it kinda sorta completely and totally sucks. Combine this feeling of heartbreak with moving out and having to find an apartment in NYC on a serious budget, and it’s nothing short of Kelly and the terrible horrible no good very bad… month.
          But now, I’m in a new place, in a new borough, writing this entry on my laptop feeling very Carrie Bradshaw… minus the cigarette and closet full of designer shoes (unless you count ASICS and New Balance as couture). Oh, there’s also the fact that this apartment is most definitely not rent controlled and that my desk happens to overlook an “Amp and Guitar Wellness Center” and not some tree-lined street off of Madison Ave. There’s no confusing the fact that Toto, we are definitely not in the upper east side. We are in Brooklyn.
          Since that whole heart trampling thing, I haven’t had any interest to run. I used to see people running and feel a twinge of jealousy: I want to run, too! Now, I look at them and think, “that’s nice. I remember when I used to do that.” Anyone that knows me, knows that this apathy is cause for concern (to put it mildly). I’ve gone running twice in the last two and a half weeks, both times with my coach. The second time we went to a beautiful facility up in Harlem where I saw stars and almost tasted synthetic track during a particularly tough 1200m repeat. Here’s a thought: lack of sleep + severe caloric deficit = bad news bears when it comes to speed work. But it’s all good — I recovered with a calorie-rich smoothie and a good cry. (Apologies to my fellow A train passengers. It was a rough morning.)
          In any case, I think I’m starting to get the running bug back, and I know that when I am feeling better, with calories replenished and my sleep bank back in the black (or more realistically, a little less in the red), I’ll be out there, doing as many loops of Prospect Park as my weary legs can handle. I have a marathon and a 50 mile ultramarathon left on my calendar for 2015, and now more than ever, I need running. I need to zone out for an hour (or four) each day, I need to be so tired I can’t go another step, and then run another mile. I need to remember the simple pleasures — the joy of a 6 mile recovery run, the welcome pain of 8 miles of hills, and the mind-clearing relaxation of an 18 mile long run. I need my legs to be sore, my brain to quiet down, and my heart to be whole. I need to fall in love again. I need to run.
July 4, on the Village Green, circa 1992.
July 4 on the Village Green, circa 1992.
“Fight Song” by Rachel Platten
This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me