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..

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I did it! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Six miles to better mental health..

Hi, semi-annonymous blog-world.. How is everyone feeling this evening/morning/afternoon, whenever this post finds you? I myself am feeling a little pesto-woozy.. I make the stuff about 4 times a year, because it takes me about 3 months to recover from the overdose of it.. I really make the best pesto, too good.. So irresistible that I eat the whole batch that's designed to last for a few good lunches.. And then those basil leaves expand in my stomache, and make me wonder what I was thinking.. I never learn.. So I hit a hilly running course today, trying to get back into some level of fitness that will put a little more fear into my competitors' hearts.. At least enough to stop them from being able to talk to me during an event.. It is a wickedly windy evening.. 35 mph winds, and I'm pushing the hills, so my heart is pounding away, and I'm totally incapable of talking.. (Who would try to talk to a runner in such a state, you may ask.. Good question.. And in the middle of a back farm road with little traffic.. ) Well, some poor soul found themselves lost on the road.. My mind was so out of it, I wasn't even aware they were slowing down to ask me directions. Directions! It was all I could do to keep breathing and moving forward, directions was about as realistic as flying.. I didn't want to be rude though, so I gasped out, 'I don't know anything around here!', which came out sounding like a snarky fishwife.. Really ugly voice, I didn't know I had it in me.. The woman said 'Oh, that's really nice', or something like that, as I wheezed on.. I felt really angry, and wasn't sure why.. At first I thought I was angry at the woman.. Couldn't she SEE that I was doing a tortured workout on a blustery day?? Why are people so mindless about what others are going through? But then after a little more time went by, and my breathing went back to normal.. I realized that my nature is to help other people, and had I not been running, I would have happily given this woman directions or anything else she needed.. So my anger was really at myself.. For not being the nice person that I know I am.. But then on further inspection of this situation, I decided that training hard is my right, and truly one of the only times during the day that it's ok for me to be selfish.. And if someone has to miss out on me giving them directions so I can get through my workout, that doesn't make me a bad person.. The trick is to treat myself like I'm my own coach, and protect my need to train hard.. While I'm training, that needs to be my only focus.. And it's better to just not engage in any conversing with others, because frankly, I can't talk and run hard at the same time.. So on I went, ran hard up a few more hills, and boom! Car #2 slows down in the opposite direction I'm running in, rolls his window down.. What am I, the Walmart greeter?? Do I have a sign on my back that says 'This way for directions'? I kept my resolve, and ploughed on with no eye contact.. That was easy.. As I pick up the pace to finish the run, this guy actually turns around and rolls down his window again asking for directions! I just said 'sorry' and kept moving.. Do you people reading this go through these same struggles? Is this weird? Am I worrying too much about what others are thinking? Or am I being a cretin runner deserving of all the abuse drivers often throw my way.. Maybe I should run more with other people and let them deal with those direction-seekers.. Or as Deb suggested to me, wear a t-shirt instructing not to talk to runner.. I think I need some suggestions here.. I'm not confident with my new game plan of ignoring everyone, but I don't see an alternative..

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Race Morning..

Fifteen minutes before I'm suppossed to leave my house to run this local race as part of a club championship.. I couldn't be any less casual about it all.. Still wearing my pajamas.. This is not the real Tamar, who normally wakes up 5 times in the night worrying about race strategy and missing the start of the race.. Well, I'm merely a warm body for this event.. I already told the authorities that I'm in no shape to race seriously.. That being the case, I may actually be able to have a little fun today.. Sidle up to all those people that were chatting away to me mindlessly as I was struggling with the pace last race.. See how they like getting roped into a lengthy conversation on their declining state of fitness as they go into oxygen dept.. Yes, runners are a cruel and sadistic bunch.. If you had considered getting involved in the world of road racing, be prepared for more than a physical challenge.. Some of us are normal out there.. Usually not anyone that's very competitive though.. And the tricky part is, most will deny til the end that they have any desire to win.. 'Oh, I was just out to have a good time'.. OK, right.. It's really quite a riot when your inner systems are bordering on very uncomfortable to I-may-pass-out-from-lactic-acid-build-up any second.. So am I looking forward to seeing all these folks at the race this morning? I guess I have some doubts.. Racing always makes me anxious, I suppose that's normal.. A race is a test, and if you've trained hard, you have a lot at stake, so things that are important to you can give you a healthy anxiety.. I guess my real concern this morning is, since I've eliminated that worry of performing since I'm going to take it easy.. My real concern is how to deal with that woman that always has an in-your-face rude comment disquised as friendly comraderie.. I never know how to deal with those people.. I think they're just clueless that they leave everyone in their paths speechless and offended.. Yup, she will be there.. She kind of leaves you feeling like George Costanza.. Two hours later you come up with the perfect comeback line, and the moment is well over to use it.. Wish me luck..

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Streaker Dick and the Matzo Balls

No, I haven't sold out to my true self, trying to get extra hits on my blog with the promise of perversions.. Dick is an old friend of mine.. Actually, quite a pivotal friend, as I met him in my early twenties when I was just making some big discoveries in life. One of them was running. Dick had a little sporting good store in Ulster county, and in addition to having a 20 year running streak (yeah, that's right, he hasn't missed a single day of running.. Not for a broken ankle, birth of a child, lost Yankees game..) .. now it's actually 30 consecutive years.. So in addition to that cool little accolade, and of course, we all want friends that are unique.. I could always get great running advise from Dick.. So Dick comes by last night to visit.. He's got a tight hamstring from too much running and too little stretching.. He asks for a tennis ball to work it out (this works amazingly well, by the way.. You have to just sit on the floor and let your leg weight-bare on the tennis ball, it feels great and painful at the same time).. So then I offer him my very last bowl of chicken soup w matzo balls that I made to heal myself.. He's enjoying his bowl of soup, sporting these snazzy orange wool socks (runners have some wild socks..).. And he's really not too sure about those matzo balls.. 'You know, these would work great on my hamstring', he says.. I swear, they weren't anywhere NEAR the consistency of a tennis ball, I don't know what his issue was with them! I think they scared him..
Well, I took a pic of Dick and the orange socks eating his matzo ball soup, but sorry, my computer's rebeling and not allowing any proof. OK, so the nicest part of today was that I really feel better.. I tested the waters with a run on the trail I usually run on.. I felt great, the sun was out for once this year, and I was so thankful to be able to run and feel healthy again.. Then in the distance running the opposute direction, I saw a slim figure approaching me.. My friend Donna! Our schedules are so different, we rarely are able to run together, but it worked out perfectly.. She was on the final leg of a 20 mile run, so she was really happy to have someone to entertain her for a few miles.. And I was in such a great mood (for once!) that I didn't bring her down.. I was tempted to tell her about all the psychological warfare that took place at my last race.. But I don't want her to think I'm too much of a psycho, especially in the great mood that I was in.. Did you ever notice that once you've discovered some subject that's slightly touchy with a particular friend, for some reason, you gravitate towards it? I know Donna doesn't like to hear about me feeling insecure or untrusting in social situations, I guess it makes HER feel vulnerable.. But I don't seem to be able to stop myself from doing it, like I'm trying to test a theory.. I think that's how marriages fall apart.. We're always trying to test each other, press the bruises.. Just because they're green and purple, and we expect there to be pain when we press down on them, but still, wouldn't it be fun to just test it? Maybe this time it won't hurt if I press it? It's so much fun though, LOVE pressing the bruises!!!!!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

It's scary away from work.. Stockholm Syndrome?

Yes, after 8 years of complaining that I really should find a job that's a better fit for me, something that will allow my creative side to develop.. And just general anquished complaints about how corporate America is not the right fit for a girl raised by hippies and various step-parents in psychedelic VW bugs.. Where was I going with this? OOh yeah, I finally have a glimmer of the freedom I've been dying for.. As I sit waiting for my doctor's appointment tomorrow to give me the ok to return to work.. But I don't feel free at all.. I think I've forgotten what being free means.. I think I was 5 years old the last time I remembered.. Does that mean I'll never be free again? Nah, I think it means a 2 day reprieve from work does not a free woman make. Freedom really is a state of mind. My freedom throughout my incarceration, er, 8 year term at work has always been my running. I put my 42 hours a week into my job, but the dream of running personal records in races always propelled me forward, prevented me from feeling like my soul was not my own.. Running in races brought me to new countries, new neighborhoods, new worlds.. Physically transported me from my excruciatingly routine life to somewhere better.. Somewhere where people were excited about their accomplishments, excited to see what their bodies were able to do.. Excited to show off their hard labour.. And training for a race is one of the most taxing experiences you can have in this life.. Try running 6 times a mile on a track in 6:41 pace with only a 1 minute rest in between.. Well, I couldn't run more than an 11 minute mile when I first started running, and to just string 2 of them together took me a full month. Now I can run 13 of them back to back at a 7:05 pace per mile. Running saved my life, gave me some focus .. Maybe that's why I'm feeling so out of sorts now.. The doc said no running.. Ah, it's good to change your routine now and then.. Gives you a chance to try other stuff, like blogging..

Monday, March 06, 2006

A good day for REM and Math..

Hello, Deb's loyal readers! OK, how great a gal is she? Not only drags my sick butt to the doctor, after buying me tulips and sick-person goods, but then links me to her own blog! This girl is the most generous-hearted person I've ever met. The bad news is, you all have no idea who you are now stuck with .. And neither do I.. I'd love to stick some random photos in here to liven this whole experience up for those that took the time to meander over.. OK, that took about ten minutes, will have to save that trick for next time. This experience is a bit humbling, as I'm not very fluent with the tools for blogging, and feel like a child in a bad way.. Meaning I feel impatient and would love to just decorate here and there and embellish this post with some fun graphics, but being ignorant to this, am being forced to stick with the writing.. Which in itself is great, but this is a little scarey.. I suppose.. Wondering who is reading this and judging this.. And mostly hoping I'm not boring someone to tears who is being polite to Deb by reading my blog.. It doesn't even feel worthy of the 'blog' title..
A little about me: This is one of the few times I'm absent from my job.. It feels really strange, and I'm putting so much pressure on myself to figure out what other career I should be gravitating towards, that I 'm actually missing my high-stress job! Today was my first official day back at work, after missing 1 full week.. I felt OK, was nice to see everyone, we sit in little cubicles in this call center, the girls that sit in front of me looked relieved that I'd returned.. I'm kind of like the big sister, provide them with a lot of comic relief throughout the day.. I was touched to note several trash gossip magazines made their way to my desk for entertainment.. Brought a toy chicken that lays jellybeans for one girl, Melissa.. Inside joke.. I told her you put the jellybeans in the chicken's head, and then press it's wing and it lays eggs.. Melissa's from the city.. 'You mean the eggs come out of her koolie??' I think that's the word she used, it sounded approriate, so I agreed.. She appreciated her toy chicken.. A few minutes later, while this other woman was filling me in on some meeting I missed, I started getting really light-headed.. Back to the doctor to try and get him to agree to short-termed disability.. He checked all the vital stuff.. Said I'm in perfect shape.. But took some blood for good measure and told me to come back Wednesday.. So it's all in my head! But I was SOOO happy to be able to go back home.. Nothing like the comfort of home after a morning of harsh realities in the office.. OK, exchanging toys doesn't sound very traumatic, but trust me, my job can get really brutal.. Petty politics, whining grown customers that are looking for mental punching bags, constantly increasing sales goals and continual reminders throughout the day of all this.. I'm usually daydreaming about winning a race somewhere on another continent.. But you're pulled back to reality within seconds.. Yeah, it's nice to be writing to you all and listening to REM.. And not doing Math.. I was able to add that to my list of careers I will not choose to pursue in the future..
Good Night, good wishes to all...

Friday, March 03, 2006

One Desolate Blog..

Who but a true Luddite would have accidentally created a blog in a failed attempt to post a comment on a friend's blog? OK, if anyone's reading this, apologies for the emptiness.. I'm too sick to continue with this today.. Hopefully I'll remember I created this tomorrow.. Peace to all..