Sunday, May 21, 2006

I'm Naming Names...

Who are the people in your neighborhood? Well, I have no idea what their names are, and sadly, if one were to say hi in the grocery store, I'd be clueless as to how I knew him. But put me in a local race, and I'll see faces and legs I've run against many years.. And I don't want them saying hi to me either! During the race, that is.. So a few months ago I was very distressed about folks talking to me during a race.. They saw Tamar running slower than her usual pace, and figured she must be taking it easy, so it's fair game to start a little conversation.. But no, I wasn't taking it easy, I was just germinating a flu that would give me a temperature of 103 later that evening (the same cold which forced Deb to take me to the doctors office and also gave birth to this blog.. No Deb, didn't give birth to it.. That sentence needs revamping..) So.. Ah yes, that fateful day, three people talked to me; One asked if I was training for a marathon, which right off the bat, isn't a compliment.. The logic being, 'well, she's running SLOW, she couldn't possibly be taking this race seriously'; Coming from Tara, I knew she meant no harm, an honest question.. Still makes you aware that people are scrutinizing things, and you best not become too damn slow, or you will hear an even less complimentary comment such as, 'Wow, you must have been run over by a truck, the way your feet are dragging'.. Next comment comes from Steve (told you I was naming names!) Upon passing me, 'Hi Tamar.' No return greeting from me, as I was really working hard, regardless of how much slower it was than usual.. Steve felt he should check on my health, because surely if I didn't answer him, there could be a serious health risk.. He continued: 'Are you OK?' I felt exhausted from the run and the flu, and then degraded by someone that was passing me, and what I thought, playing some kind of a psychological game (don't think this is paranoia, it's actually quite common for competitve runners to test others in mid-competition.. Bill Rodgers, who has won the Boston Marathon four times*, was famous for pulling this trick.. Amazingly, I still think he's a really cool guy..) OK, so I had a talk with both of these parties, and cleared the air.. No harm was intended, I think they were shocked that I had confronted them (Did they not know how seriously I take this stuff?) but that was then, and this is now.. Over the past 2 months my hamstrings have been acting up and not allowing me to get quality runs in, such as speedwork, which of course, is essential to doing well in races.. It was pretty discouraging, but this seems to happen to me every time I try to make a breakthrough in the 5k.. That short little bugger gets me everytime.. So at least, I consoled myself, I can still do normal training runs so I won't become completely unfit.. Just not very fast.. So there was a 10k race today that I decided to run to just see where I'm at.. I figured if my hamstrings didn't give me too much trouble, I could maybe run a 46 minute race, which would have pleased me, because the course was hilly, too.. So I get there, see a lot of people I know.. I'm relaxed, because I have my handy hamstring excuse to fall back on if questioned.. Runners are so insecure.. So the race starts, I'm feeling good.. I keep telling myself to 'run within yourself', meaning don't push the pace harder than what I can maintain for 6 miles.. My breathing is smooth, we're in the first 1/2 mile, and I find it odd that the front runners are still within grasp.. They must be taking it easy to warm up, I think.. Then we hit the first mile in 6:49.. Whoa! I guess all that resting has paid off! So I'm excited.. There's one woman with braids in front of me.. Then another woman, Terri, passed both of us calmly.. Terri will win this race, I already know.. The woman in braids puts more of a distance between us, so I forget about her for now, and continue concentrating on the zen of this race.. We start up a dirt hill, and Steve from the last race catches up to me.. He says, as he passes me, 'You look strong Tamar, keep it up'.. I guess I trained him well.. Then a new guy enters the club of 'talkers to Tamar in a race'! Scott says, as he's catching me up that same hill, 'How are you doing?' I don't answer him, because, buddy I'm here to run a race, and sorry, but breathing is more important to me right now than giving you updates on my state of well being.. He doesn't get it.. He has to add a new inquiry: 'Is everything OK?' Now lets really analyze this one.. Why would you ask such a question during a race? This guy was clearly pulling a Boston Billy.. I waited til we crested the hill to answer.. 'Actually', I said, 'I'm feeling a little tired.. Can you help me out?' That got a good laugh from another guy, and Scott just said, 'This is a piece of cake for you!' as he zoomed ahead of me.. Whatever, I was feeling a real lactic acid burn in my legs between the hill and mustering up that sentence for Scott.. Then a real cool thing happened.. I started getting closer to braid woman, and this guy Rich V. said, 'Atta girl, you can get her!' I had a friend on the course! How rare.. Racing is like feeding with piranhas, NO ONE is your friend! You're as physically maxed out as you're ever going to be in this lifetime, and then knowing that if you slow down, there are five people that would be thrilled to pass you .. Is so mentally stressful.. So hearing this man genuinely cheer for me made me want to stop and kiss him! Of course, I couldn't do that, because then all the other people that I had worked so hard on conditioning to not talk to me would immediately demand they be kissed too, as all groups of people seem to demand equal attention.. That's how it is in my world, anyway.. I remember when I was 10, I had this friend named Tiffany that one day decided she wanted me to kiss her! I refused, but then my friend Tara (different Tara) made the same request on a different occasion! WTF, as Jon from Colorado would say.. But let me get back to the race.. Over 1/2 a mile til the finish, I passed braid woman, and the ugliest part of the race is upon me.. A long long stretch to the finish line.. The clock is so tiny and far away, but I know if I don't maintain the effort, I will either get passed by a woman or risk losing my great time.. So suffer I must.. I run all out to a 44:55 finish.. Second woman overall, I'm so happy.. I shake hands with all the people that helped me.. Braid lady, as she really motivated me to keep going.. And Rich V. especially.. Racing really is like (I imagine) being in the trenches..
I even punched Scott in the arm affectionately, after it was all over.. Maybe a little harder than acceptable..

* Thanks to my friend Quentin for correcting my info on Boston Billy; I had previously stated that Bill has the most wins at Boston, which is incorrect; That honour goes to Clarence DeMar with an amazing 7 wins there, the first one set in 1911 at the age of 22 the last one in 1930 at the ripe old age of 41, which still stands today, SEVENTY SIX YEARS later as the oldest man to win Boston!

17 comments:

Madelene Rose said...

This sure is eventful! :) I remember my first major running experience... I could barely stand up after the sprint and the weather was soooo hot. I thought I was going to collapse.
Then again... I pulled it off.

Jon said...

Do I say WTF too much? :D

Congratulations on doing so well. A lady that worked for me a couple years ago is a marathon runner. She shared some similar stories. Always cracked me up. You ever notice that it's the men that are chatting it up. They are hitting on you mid-race. WTF? LOL I Had to add that.

tamar said...

madelene rose~ thanks for commenting! running in the heat is just about as bad as it gets.. and then add some people trying to chat you up! good for you for doing it..

jon~ I like your 'wtf's'.. That was the first time I had ever seen it, and when I fiqured out what it stood for, I loved it! keep on 'wtf'ing'! yeah, good observatin about the men.. I read an interview w an elite woman, and she said they try and pull that stuff on her too.. You know why, right? Cause other woman that are at that level are running as hard as they can, so they physically can't talk, whereas I believe the men are slacking, so they can speak and comment at their leisure.. great, we're always trying to get men to talk, I've found the one forum where they won't stop talking..

Jon said...

Maybe it's because you are generally approachable (not to mention gorgeous). You seem that way to me, not that I really know you. But while you are running I am sure you give off a different vibe. I can usually tell what a person is like by how they carry themselves. To me body language is very telling. It can usually tell if someone is friendly or unfriendly without coming anywhere near them. The fact that these guys keep trying to talk to you means they are a bit clueless or just down right pushy.

It aggrivates me to no end when guys are extremely forward toward women and won't let up. This probably doesn't match your situation, but I ran into this over the weekend and it has stuck in my head.

Yes, there are appropriate times to step up to the plate and take your shot, but when you hear that perverbial gong it's time to move on.

tamar said...

jon~ you're so great for my ego! haha, and if you knew me, you would recant on thinking I'm approachable.. yeah, these guys are not reading meters at all.. I wish I HAD a gong.. Maybe I'll bring one to my next race.. So you witnessed some embarrassing behaviours from your species? Do tell?

Jon said...

I am working on a post about what happened on Friday. If I can sit at my desk long enough I'll get it posted today.

Madelene Rose said...

You're welcome tamar :)

I lost your link and spend days trying to find it again. Yay! Anyway... It looks like you have an admirer here ;)

Cya around. A definite favorite

Adrian Cable said...

Tamar,
Just a quick non-running-related note to say that you were definitely the best airplane companion I've ever had on a business trip. London->JFK is usually grim, but your company made the plasticky chicken bearable.

Good luck with everything and let's keep in touch! Hope I'll get to join you for a shared Canada Dry again some day ...

Yours,
-A.

tamar said...

Madelene Rose~ Thank-you.. Hope you don't regret your search, since I've been a bit negligent here.. I always return, though..

Adrian!~ How was SF? Did you find the sourdough bread? Thanks for visiting my blog, and being a good seatmate.. Eventhough you copied all of my dining choices..

~Deb said...

Why do people constantly bug you while you're running? I wish I could see your reaction on your face. It's probably the same one I got when I tried interupting you at work while talking to a customer. haha! Love it!

Missed ya sweetie!

Madelene Rose said...

I shant regret. Ur blog is interesting :)

Adrian Cable said...

SF was fantastic - just got home yesterday and am missing the sour-dough bowl chowder already. (Although I'm not missing the weather - it's 85 degrees here back in the UK.) I didn't get the chance to visit the Japanese tea garden but I did verify that there is indeed a Monster Park and that unfortunately it is quite boring.

And I think you'll find that you copied my drinking choices before I copied your dining choices!

Did you get my email address?

-A

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