Tuesday, November 27, 2007


My brother came down from NYC to visit for Thanksgiving, and we celebrated the day by cooking roast beef and watching football on TV. As a friend later remarked, "Two bachelors alone all day in a house with no adult supervision, priceless." This led me to quip, "And for the beer, there was Mastercard." (Left: Yeah, I cooked this meal. Photo credit J.)

I had run before dawn that morning in 60 degree temperature. As I poked along in the dark, footsteps came rapidly up behind me. It was an older gentleman, passing me purposefully.

"Way to work off your feast beforehand," I said to him as he went by. He glanced at me once and proceeded on without a word, rapidly leaving me astern.

Not even a casual retort in return, I thought as I watched his figure recede up the block. This annoyed me for some reason. It’s a male thing, I guess.

Once comfortably beyond me, the other runner slowed imperceptibly. He didn’t put me away, in other words.

I knew I could run that fast. So I did. I sped up and closed the gap that had developed between us. I settled in behind him, practically on his left hip. We silently ran on that way for several blocks.

When my turn-off loomed ahead I pulled even, and then went half a body length in front. Then I turned off. No words or further glances were exchanged.

Later that morning I called my ex-wife’s house two miles away hoping to express a happy Thanksgiving wish to my children. I last spoke with my youngest child in the spring, sometime before he graduated. I haven’t spoken with my middle child in about two years, nor with my oldest child since Super Bowl Sunday.

When there was no answer at their Mother's house, I left my youngest child a message. At noon I called again and left my middle child a message when there was no answer. Neither one returned my call.

I didn’t leave my oldest child a message since he has ignored all of my communications ever since he turned 21. I don't count him cashing the check I sent for his 21st birthday as a form of communication.

Meanwhile, I received an email from a sort-of running buddy who had come to town to visit her folks, fresh from her 3:23 NYCM. She wanted to run medium to long on the W&OD Trail the next morning. I arranged to meet her at nine o’clock to run 14 miles.

I met M at a club SLR last summer, and we ran once after that when we went 14 miles on the W&OD Trail in 2:04, a nine-minute-per-mile pace. That was in July, when I was just starting to gear up for Chicago, and I was in far better shape than I am in now.

That was my last good run, really, because shortly after that I injured my foot and I wasn’t the same when I came back from that injury. Although I had a decent time at the Charm City Twenty-Miler in September on the dirt surface of the Northern Central Railroad Trail, at Chicago in October it was ungodly hot, I was on antibiotics and by the eighth mile I was already walking and considering DNFing. Although I finished that fun run, the race officials were only too happy to help with that last thought as they cancelled the marathon midway through it after they ran out of water. (Left: Did you ever see the movie, Night of the Living Dead? That's me lurching along with 35,000 other fun runners in Chicago on October 7, 2007.)

I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of this adept runner, who is also a very accomplished and interesting person, so I retired early. Still, I was as anxious as if a race was coming up on the morrow. I didn’t know if I could string together 14 nine-minute miles anymore and I didn't want to hold M up.


Rainmaker said...

It's always a bummer when someone doesn't return friendliness on the trail.

jeanne said...

maybe he didn't speak english--?? you and bex...someone tried to run her off the road in tahoe over thanksgiving! nothing exciting ever happens to me. bikers say "on your left," people smile and make eye contact... the only conclusion i can draw is that they all must realize that i'm ABOUT TO DIE.

anyway, sounds like you had a nice easy thanksgiving.

and i can relate to your feelings about running with M. Only every time I run!