Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Race

Dave and I after our big race. I certainly needed a haircut.
I dreamt last night that I was racing a mile on an outdoor track. I was trying to remember how many laps, do they measure this from the inside lane or the outside lanes? I was having trouble figuring this all out and it seemed to be an overwhelming distance.

I was never  a sprinter. I remember the indignity of coming dead last except for the profoundly obese in the 50 yd dash as part of the President Kennedy Fitness Challenge in grade school. By 8th grade when I was relatively wiry, I came in slightly better than average with a 7.6 seconds though I rocked at the 440. It was not thought that women (or girls) could safely run beyond that distance.

That was it for a long time for me running. I started taking long bicycle rides in high school and in college, I took up long distance swimming. At one point, some ladies in the co-op wanted to run on an indoor track (Waterman looked like it would collapse any second). I didn't think I would be good for more than a tenth of a mile though I ran a half mile before having to stop. Soon I was running a mile. I had a boyfriend freshman year that had been a cross country runner. It sounded like an impossible chore. Two miles was the standard distance in those days (now high schoolers of both sexes run 3.1 miles; college: 6.2 miles). I ran some to get in shape for my wedding but I hated every second of it and would be beet red for hours afterwards.

I didn't run again until after I weaned Josh in the fall of 1982. I found myself fat. Long distance swimming was not doing the trick for me and it took too long. I figured I would run at lunch instead of eating. I was able to run a mile the first time but it was down a steep hill. I remember Dave telling me that anyone could run down a hill; try running up it. By the end of the week, I made it up the hill too. I entered my first 10k after 6 weeks. The weight was dropping and I was getting faster and faster. By the spring, I was placing fairly high in my age group and the excess weight was gone. I ran my first marathon in the fall of 1984. It was later in the same month that Dave challenged me to a race. We were always betting on things. He was a sprinter and had little endurance. I had a lot of endurance but my muscles had not recovered yet from the marathon. I could not run the mile even at the time I had before in a middle of a longer race.

Our coworkers all showed up for this race on a windy Saturday morning. My plan was to run equal 90s for each 440. The first 440 I did under that but then the times started going into the 100s. Dave's strategy was to stay behind me until the final 100 yds and then just blow by me, which he did with not much effort on his part.
Damn. We all went for beers afterwards and later in the week, I treated him to lunch.

I am going to his memorial this afternoon. He died from head injuries from losing control of his bicycle on a steep downhill a few weeks ago. I saw him a few years ago when he showed up for my 30th anniversary party at work. He looked the same as he did in the picture above; no sign of ageing. I though look quite different. We are younger in this picture than Shanna is now.

Yesterday afternoon, a storm came in and  the temps went from 94 to 72 in minutes. It is misty and hot again. A colleague from Pittsburgh used to refer to high humidity as 'close'. Today I can see how they came up with that term with the pressure of the humidity closing in on me as I struggled to breathe while running.

I spent some time in the pool yesterday with Maya and Naomi. A woman whose unit is across from Naomi's and who is the mother of one of Josh's friends was in the pool with us. She asked me what was new.

Well this one is getting married next month.

I know. I am going to be there.

I was puzzled. Naomi and I have had several arguments on whom is appropriate to invite to the wedding. Did she ask this woman too? This woman came to Josh's because her son was in the wedding party. Turns out that we have to hire an attendant at the clubhouse that we are renting out. She saw Naomi's name and signed up for the job.

Shanna and Ramy are finally going to sign their contract for the condo after much annoying negotiations.

The original house was built in 1890 and at some point later, was subdivided into 7 units. They will have 3 floors, 4 if you include the basement. It looks nice inside with bamboo floors and granite counters. It is on the eastern side of Arlington near the Cambridge border. Ramy works on Kendall square in the heart of Cambridge, not far away but lots of traffic in between. It won't be far from the subway.

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