Don’t Let It

This weekend, instead of doing the last (25k) race in the Boston Buildup, I met my friend Sara for a 16 miler in the cold rain on Saturday morning. Sara and I used to teach and coach together, but she’s a third year law student now, and I don’t see her nearly as much as I’d like. Since we’re training for the same marathon and have friends training for the half, we’ve made a routine of meeting at the softest surface around and getting in a long run before meeting for breakfast together. After the run, Nick and I headed into the city for a surprise birthday dinner my dad was planning for my mom at Eleven Madison Park. Luckily for my classiness, I accidentally left my phone at home and could not even be tempted to take pictures of my food. I spent most of yesterday reading the Eleven Madison Park cookbook and google-image searching the restaurant.

There have been a lot of years in my life when running came first. It’s embarrassing to admit: at best I was a potential conference-scorer on a DIII team, and more recently, a weekend warrior with slightly inflated expectations. Of course anything worth doing takes sacrifice, but after reading my Oiselle teammate Mollie’s thoughts on running potentially interfering with personal relationships (“it doesn’t because I don’t let it,” she said) I’ve been consciously looking for a way to make the joy I find in running and in racing supplementary to the joy I find spending time with my family, with Nick, writing, reading, and traveling.

Yesterday morning, still stuffed from the amazing dinner, we spent a leisurely morning in New York City. It was cold, but the sun was shining, my dad went out for fresh croissants, we lazed around reading the newspaper and doing crosswords in our pijamas, I re-read the cookbook, and it didn’t even occur to me until we were almost home, that the race had been going on without me the entire time. It’s funny how on the morning of races, I forget that any other life exists–that people are reading the paper and walking dogs and going to church. It was just as easy to forget that rank elementary school gymnasiums, buckets of bagels and agonizingly tight hamstrings were converging a few miles away in Silvermine.

This morning I checked the results–I still finished 4th in the series, and there’s no way I would have finished third, even if I had gone to the race and run well. I mean, I think I would have had to run my 5k PR 5 times in a row to win the race outright, and still, that might not have bumped me above the third place finisher.

I woke up refreshed before my alarm this morning, to birds and sunshine. While this is about one million times more enjoyable than waking up to creaky legs to rain and darkness, it also makes it hard to leave all these things that bring me joy for work. Once I’m there, I know there will be joy also (like my AP class that randomly incorporated Dadaism into a conversation about The Grapes of Wrath, or my freshmen’s sincere outrage that Ms. Maudie’s fire was left out of the movie version of To Kill a Mockingbird).

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