Monday, May 24, 2010

And you may ask yourself how did I get here?

There is a point at the start of every race when I wonder why I'm there and what I've gotten myself into. And so it was on Sunday at the Lilac 10K. Why did I think that getting up early on a weekend to run 6.2 miles with over 1200 other people (most of whom are ridiculously fast) was a good idea? But by then it was too late - I was already packed in with the rest of the crowd at the starting line. So there was nothing left to do but run.

I love to run. Or more accurately, I love the feeling of having completed a run (and the T-shirts you get when you sign up for a race). Sometimes, on my regular runs I can get into a nice, relaxed pace and actually feel pretty good. But races, when I'm trying to run as fast as I can, sometimes suck. To me, the best part of any race is the finish, where you get to stop running and people hand you drinks and snacks.

At the Lilac race, my goals were to feel good and hopefully finish under 50 minutes (which would be a personal best). I started out feeling decent, but by the 3rd mile I wished I had signed up for the 5K instead of the 10K. It was hot. And muggy. And then there was a hill. When my shoe came untied around mile 4, I was afraid that if I stopped to tie it I wouldn't be able to convince myself to start up again. But I did. Then my body started to hurt, but I kept telling myself that the sooner I got to the finish, the sooner I'd get to stop. It felt like hard work during the race, but afterward was pretty sweet, when I saw my time of 49 minutes 51 seconds (321st place out of 1258 runners). It's not fast, but it's good enough for me.

So I failed at the whole feeling good while running part, but I think mentally it was one of my better races. It's easy to get discouraged when you're hot and tired and insanely fast people are flying through the course, running 6.2 miles in half an hour (seriously, what do you have to do to be able to run 6 consecutive 5 minute miles? I want some of those genes). Negative thoughts inevitably pop up from time to time, especially if you're forcing your body to run as fast as it can and there aren't even any tigers chasing you. But lo and behold, you get better results if you focus on encouraging rather than disparaging yourself (it took me years of running to figure this out and a few more years before I was able to do it successfully). Listening to my iPod, periodically forcing myself to smile, and remembering to relax also helped.

So I may still ask myself how I got here, but I will keep coming back for more.

Lyric of the moment: "And I was waiting over here for life to begin, I was looking for the new thing. And you were the sunshine heading my front line. I was alone, you were just around the corner from me..."

Monday, May 17, 2010

Van Gogh's Starry Night

Over the weekend, Jeremy and I took a bus trip to New York City. We left Rochester at 2:00am Saturday morning (the bus was a few hours late picking us up) and got back at 4:30am on Sunday morning, so needless to say it was a long day. I severely underestimated how integral sleep, showers and clean bathrooms are to my comfort and general happiness. But all in all, it was a good time, albeit exhausting.

We had planned on going to the Statue of Liberty, but by the time the bus dropped us off in Manhattan and we took the subway to Battery Park, all of the Monument Passes that grant entry into the statue were sold out and the line for the ferry was 1.5 hours long. Rather than wait in line to go out to the island when we couldn't even go inside the statue, we decided to walk around and check out some of the stores and neighborhoods.

We did get to go to the Museum of Modern Art and see Van Gogh's Starry Night, which is one of my favorites. There were a lot of other "interesting" pieces at MoMA, like a performance artist who sits in a chair in silence all day and visitors can go in and sit across from her, a giant purple boat with phallic attachments sewn all over it, what looked to me like a pile of bricks, and a stool with a bicycle wheel attached to it.

Other highlights included a yummy sandwich from a cute little restaurant called the Soy Luck Club, getting frozen yogurt out of an ice cream truck (Rochester totally needs a frozen yogurt truck. It can park right outside my house), and seeing a woman wearing red lace underwear over black pants (I don't know if she was some kind of superhero, some underwear-over-the-pants wearing trendsetter, or just crazy).

New York was nice, but it's definitely good to be home. I do miss that frozen yogurt truck though.

Lyric of the moment: "I am convinced that we should be friends. We compare our hearts to things that fly but cannot land..."