Words in Progress.

The Psychology of This Runner and a NY Half

DAY BEFORE THE RACE

Yeah, I don’t think I’m running tomorrow. It’s rainy. I’m tired. It’s been a tough month. Lots of work. I haven’t trained. I’m tired. I’ve done it before.

But I’m out so I may as well go by the expo and pick up my t-shirt. I paid for that t-shirt.

NIGHT BEFORE THE RACE

Maybe just a finger of scotch before bed to fall into a good deep sleep.

No harm in laying out my clothes. Pin my race bib on the t-shirt and drink some extra water. Prep up the fanny pack with a credit card and GU just in case. If I decide to run at least I won’t be hobbling around looking for socks in the morning.

**But if it’s raining I’m not running.**

11:30 pm. Reading Fowles’ The Collector. It’s picking up speed. How have I not read this before?

Midnight. Sleep.

DAY OF THE RACE

6:30 am. Alarm goes off. Snooze. Naturally.

6:38 am. Snooze. Is it raining? Dammit, it’s not raining. I don’t need to run though. I need to rest for the week.

6:42 am. If I don’t go I’ll regret it. Think about Times Square. Besides, I can be back in bed by 11 am for a nap. Fine.

6:55 am. Where is my sports bra? What’s going on here?

7:05 am. Off to Central Park I go. I shouldn’t have worn these pants. Why did I wear these pants? They’re going to ruin the race for me. Maybe I should go back home and change. No, too late. But if I don’t finish, it’s totally the pants’ fault.

7:30 am. My phone will die if I use Runkeeper to track me. Goddam iPhone and it’s ridiculous battery life. Questions about the iWatch… will it last a half marathon? Tracking me the entire length and entertaining me with music? How many songs will it store? Just sayin’, I’m not doling out $400 unless it gives me EVERYTHING I want. And lasts forever.

7:40 am. Okay, people. Let’s get this party started.

THE RACE

Mile 1: Why hello, Mr. 1:55 pace tracker. I did 1:54:46 last year. My PR. No big deal. But I’m not going to try to keep up. I haven’t really trained for this. Seriously. My long run was 10 miles a month ago and it’s gone downhill from there. I’ve run about 9 miles total in the last 3 weeks. Thanks, job.

Mile 3: Feeling pretty good. I think I passed the 1:55 pace tracker. I mean, the dude’s carrying a sign. That’s crazy.

Mile 5: That suicide hill’s messed up. The people who plan this race are sadists. But I’m doing ok. Maybe my body is doing better because it rested over the last month while my head worked overtime? Wonder where the 1:55 guy is. Is he that far behind? Did he drop the sign?

Mile 6: Times Square! This is awesome. Hello you beautiful people. I will memorize all your cheering faces. God bless. All of you. I’m smiling, not wincing. Don’t stare, it’s rude.

Mile 7: Well, that’s done. So, I kind of remember there being more bands?

Mile 8: Why do I always forget math around this point? Do I really have 4 or 5 miles to go? Dammit, I think it’s 5 miles. This is messed up. And why the hell am I wearing this shirt? It’s chafing me.

Mile 9. Oh my God. What happened to my socks? Did they get twisted under my right foot? Oh my God. I think I’m going to lose a toe nail. I’ve never lost a toe nail. What is happening? Should I stop and fix my foot? But I’ve come so far. I’ll just keep going. Que sera, sera.

Mile 10. What am I doing with my life? When will the wheels align? Maybe they are aligned? Maybe I should move to the country (what country?) and live off the land (ha).

God, who are all these people and why are they ringing cowbells at us? Do we look like a herd of animals? Don’t answer that.

Mile 11. I ran a marathon in November. That’s only like 4, 5 months ago. I totally have this. I can walk any time.

Mile 12. Well shit, hello 1:55 pacer man. Guess you’re just zooming past me now. Go right on ahead. I’m not racing you, you son of a… And now we’re in that little claustrophobic tunnel. How long does this last? 0.3 miles? 0.8?

In 20 minutes I can be buying a bagel and heading back to bed.

800 Meters to go: What does that mean? That’s 2 loops on a track, right? I haven’t run on a track in ages. Oh my God, how much longer? Why are they telling me in meters? Why are they messing with my brain? Who does this?

400 Meters to go: That’s like 3 minutes, I think. I can totally run for 3 more minutes. Maybe it’s 5 minutes. Is it 3 minutes or 5 minutes??? Yes, it makes all the difference!!!!

Mile 13. So I just have 0.1 miles to go? That’s less than a minute? But how can I still not see the finish line??? How long ago did 1:55 man finish? Can’t believe he beat me. Bastard.

FINISH.

Oh thank God. Now I need to get that medal. And that bagel.

1 HOUR LATER

Holy shit, I PR’ed!!! When’s my next race?

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