Sunday, March 19, 2006

4:30 AM Wake up call.. Tamar's back to racing!

Doesn't that sound a little too early to be doing ANY activity, let alone contemplating running as fast as you can for 13.1 miles? I'm used to it, but just wanted to let you know, that I appreciate how inhuman it sounds to the non-runner.. So this was the highlight of my weekend.. Spending the day with a dedicated group of runners in a van driving to Coney Island Brooklyn at 6 am.. What could be better? A lot of foreign accents were co-mingling.. One man with a British accent named Bill was giving me the scoop on today's race, as he ran it last year.. 'You start on the boardwalk, which is about 3/4's of a mile, and some people fell down last year'.. Oh great.. Something to look forward to.. The man sitting on my right was screaming directions to the driver frantically, in some strange sounding accent.. Sounded transylvanian.. 'No NO!! Make a RIGHT!', he barked.. Tara from my town looked alarmed at the level of aggression.. I was enjoying being with new people.. We arrive in town and exit the cozy little van greeted by freezing cold 20 mph winds.. Dressed in very little, in prep for the race.. The logistics of getting to the starting line are quite complicated, and if you're not good with time-management, you'll never make it.. We have about 30 minutes to use the port-o-potties (very long lines), check our race bags, and get to the start .. I'm leaving out about 5 more things you have to accomplish in that time, but I'm getting bored typing it, so I can imagine how you're feeling (I'm such an empathetic blogger.. ) OK, the race goes off, I instantly hate running on the boardwalk.. There are loose skinny little wood planks that threaten to catch your toe with every step, the wind is so cold it renders our feet frozen, so we can't even feel if they're making contact with the ground.. I'm aware of trotting to avoid tripping.. And all of a sudden, BLAM! Runner down on my left.. I felt his pain.. Right on his face.. Poor guy.. On we continued, no time to help the fallen.. We had our own suffering to deal with.. Two miles later, we finally turn off the boardwalk (I make a mental note to never trust anything Bill says..) .. and we head straight into the wind for eight miles up Ocean Parkway.. To take my mind off how hard I'm working, I keep repeating my goal race pace in my head like a mantra.. 7:30-7:30-7:30.. I study the runners in front of me.. I've never seen such strange running forms.. One man has these long swinging arms, and runs with his feet out like a duck.. Like he's Elmer Fudd, chasin' wabbits.. And he's ahead of me! A very old looking man who looks like arthritis has set in everywhere but his head is awkwardly maintaining a spot ahead of me.. We get into Prospect Park, some man on the side is cheering us on.. 'I'm very proud of you!' he announces to us all.. This has a very good effect on me.. 'Wow.. He's proud of me.. I made him proud..' I pick up the pace a little.. And then I see it in the distance.. A long, nasty hill.. I make up my mind to put no effort whatsoever into keeping my pace up it.. (My coach would be mortified.. He's always coaching to maintain an even effort up the hills).. OK, I finally see the finish, sprint like a banshee to get under 1:40, and make.. Close to my goal, a 7:36 pace per mile.. Yay me! 103rd female out of 1,300.. Not too shabby.. The best part is after, when the group I drove down with all gathers to wait for everyone.. How nice to have support! I usually have to fend for myself.. This is the best.. On the trip home, I discover the transylvanian is actually Israeli.. I'm so excited as I rarely get to use my Hebrew.. We get into a conversation in Hebrew about his running, the running community in Israel, if his wife supports his running.. Funny, conversations with men are the same cross-culturally.. The woman always finds out more information about them than they do about the women.. So I think everyone is impressed and astounded with my fluency in this exotic language.. No one heard a word of our conversation.. An Asian man sitting next to me announced that this was his first 1/2 marathon.. The guy beat me by eight minutes.. Genetics are not doled out fairly.. Why should this man be blessed with more speed than me? And better hair? I bet he was jealous of the Hebrew, though..


Mike said...

Wow....If I'm up at 4:30 in the morning I'm more than likely running to the bathroom....but I think it's great the dedication you have for running.

Jon said...

Way to go Tamar!!! I am proud of you.

Yes, 4:30 in the morning is too early for anything except the "sport" of spooning, but we all have our things. Actually I used to get up at that time every other weekend to fishing. I know, you probably don't think that is a sport, but it's fun.

TrappedInColorado said...

You speak Hebrew?! What a coincidence! I don't!

4 freakin' 30 on a winter morning. I sorta, kinda admire your passion. I have similar passions but they do not fire up before the sun does.

Seriously, though. Bravo!

When you run here the air is thinner so there is less resistance so you time will be faster. So, when can we expect you?


green said...

I'm with mike on this one: 4:30 AM is a bathroom call.

Good that you are fluent in Hebrew. If I get my wish and go to the grad school I've applied to I'll have to learn Hebrew. The alphabet alone looks intimidating, plus reading right to left...

Have you ever been to Israel? If so what are your impressions of it?

~Deb said...

Asian men. Aerodynamic/sleek/lean/faster and above all, lots of light fluffy rice for carbs. Don’t sweat it. I’m sure he’s just green with envy when he couldn’t understand a word you said in Hebrew… or in English? (okay that was bad) I’ll stop.

I don’t know how you run in this cold windy weather. If the heat is off at the gym, I complain. For the love of GOD I need some stamina and strength like you have girl!

I love the part where the guy was cheering you on and saying that he was proud of you. You gotta love people like that. Some people just go --- for no one --- other than watching the people run. I know people like that, and they find it fascinating how people can run for miles and miles. I find it fascinating.

I’m proud of you! Every race you do and everyday when you’re out pounding the pavement, I think of all the hard work, motivation and discipline it takes to do something like that. Above all, it shows character and determination; which is the main reason I believe you’ll make it to the Olympics.

~Deb said...

I mean--hell---you ran while you had the flu! THAT'S a loyal runner! That's a runner who's butt I'm gonna kick after taking a prescious week off from 'school'... but I still wuv ya!

Sister of the Assumption
AKA Suzie

P.S. Where the hell is Dorothy?

tamar said...

~Deb- I love you! You're the best, most supportive friend.. Thanks for believing in my dreams and me.. dorothy may be back in kansas..

~mike what's up with these frequenst bathroom calls? how do you ever get a good night's rest?

~jon thanks.. so you've been up that early to fish? there's something kind of special about that time of day.. perfect for type-A people, you can get a lot more done..

~trapped time to learn a new language! yes, your altitude is beneficial to runners.. I lived in aurora for a few months for that purpose, but was so unhappy.. could have been my drunken boyfriend

~green good luck with grad school.. I lived in israel for 3 years.. on a religious kibbutz and then outside of tel aviv taking classes in hebrew.. it's kind of an easy language, but it is so totally foreign from ours.. I fould learning from modern songs helpful..

TrappedInColorado said...

OMG!! You having a drunken boyfriend is bad enough. But living in Aurora!!.. damn, girl.. no wonder you are never coming back!


JC said...

Wow, congratulations Tamar. That's a hell of a time you got! Now if only I had seen your pic before the race, I'd have known who I was cheering for in the back of my head. =)

Are you going to run the Queens half at the end of April as well?

~Deb said...

*See what's gonna happen here* As I think to myself...

Dorothy went to Kansas with her little dog Sammy---oooh---I meant Toto?

tamar said...

~trapped you're not kidding! I HATED Aurora, and Denver too.. I loved Evergreen and Durango.. And Red Rocks..

~JC THanks, I worked hard! I've been running since 1988, and it took me all that time to get to where I am.. No natural talent whatsoever, just brute stubbornness.. I did Queens last year and loved it, but I'm doing more 5k's this year.. How about you?

~deblet deblet deblet..
you crack me up! sammy/toto/chica (benita's little horrible dog)..
*see-what's-gonna-happen-WHERE?-my-dear* hahahaha, I know how that little mind works!

~Deb said...

Eh-hem... ~^~cOUgh~*~^

green said...

tamar: my ex and I went to Israel for 10 days and Egypt for four days in 1996. We left Jerusalem just as they were making Passover preparations.

That vacation still, to this day, is the most wonderful trip I've ever taken. What a beautiful country.

tamar said...

~deb ;-)

~green that's really nice to hear.. It is a magical place.. so significant and special to so many cultures.. easy to understand the passions that arise, if not totally the violence.. I visited last year, and felt very protected.. I love it there..