Thursday, November 16, 2006

the mortals, and the gods

last night’s hard hills workout was the last of the year. 9 days & counting ‘til my last race of the season, it really doesn’t make any sense to do anything but taper & sharpen. and maybe race a 5K this weekend.

2 weekends ago i raced for the first time since worlds back in july (not counting my delightfully disastrous first swim meet in october); and this past weekend i raced a 4-miler, the 2nd annual Race for Rose. a friend of a friend organises this fundraising event to defray some medical expenses for rose, a local high school student who last march was in a car accident that killed two other students and left rose with permanent brain damage.

rose showed for the post-race gathering and awards ceremony – rather, rose was brought in by two classmates who maneuver her wheelchair with nonchalant, practised ease. well-wishers showered balloons and flowers upon her; a woman with a french bulldog coaxed the dog to stand on its hind legs and rest its chin on rose’s knee. FMC, you might have squeeed with delite.

while this activity roiled around her, rose’s head lolled, her cocked wrist trembled and she scratched desultorily at her chair’s armrest. from my POV, on the fringes and admittedly unfamiliar with rose’s signs & signifiers, i didn’t see many conventional signs of awareness. i’m sure rose’s family would argue that her life is meaningful and rewarding, just different; but if i were in the same position, with no control over my body, few outward indications of sentience and an inability to communicate effectively, i’m pretty sure i’d be begging for somebody’s mercy just like that chick in Million Dollar Baby. rose is a teenager, not an 80-year-old stroke victim who can run movies of her solid past life in her head ‘til someone finally turns off the lights.

my take, anyway. the mileage always varies.

anyway, though my time wasn’t anything to write home about, i ended up first female, bested only by two UD XC guys and the steeplechaser mike diG, who’s peaking for the Rothman 8K in philly this weekend and was running a light tempo at 6:15min mile pace. i started at 6:30 and caught him at the 2nd mile. he looked like he was out for an easy jog, whereas i metered in a gasping breath after every 3 words, like george-bush speak:

dude you know – it would be – really nice if – at least you – were a little – bit out of – - - breath.

there was a response from him, and more words after that, but in my oxygen-deprived state they didn’t register very effectively and i didn’t put up a fight when he motored ahead on the last hill.

the steeplechaser – called so because he went to the last Olympic trials in that event but didn’t make the cut because he’s a bit of a head-case – is one of those creatures who looks perfectly human jogging (7min mile pace to him) but who, once put into overdrive -- that notch in the clutch that most of us don’t have -- settles into a fluid, light grace that drops your jaw and holds you spellbound. not bad for a cracker.

at the wintherthur 5K XC race, my return to racing 2 weekends ago, DiG ran a 15:07 – on an undulating course of hillocky grass. that’s a 4:53 mile pace. MF NotWorthy.

for adam, who will clamor for pix (by Bud Keegan):

it is so good to be back, my friends.


Anonymous said...

You finished second to the illustrious Vicki Huber? What's her name these days?

finn said...

it'd be rudawski. and i have a funny story... but it'll have to wait.

(and for the record it was a distant second.)

Anonymous said...

I'm going to hold you to telling me that story some day...

Theo said...

Welcome back to "on form!"

Silly question tho... why the white gloves? I wanna 'chop in some top hats and monocles.

fatmammycat said...

Welcome home Toots, welcome home.
I love/hate runners like mister steeplechaser, don't they make you green with envy? There a guy in Bushy Park who runs like that, he's about twenty and I swear, his feet seem to whisper over the ground as he runs. he lapped me the other day on the rugby pitch and I just felt like a Clydesdale farting along in his beautiful etheral wake.
By the by, I wouldn't have sqeeeed, I would have robbed the dog.
How's the leg holding up? Feel any twinges?

Anonymous said...

good work finn although you got me confused by these names and places and such, nothing seems to relate to anything else. many thanks for the pics, thoughtful of you.

are you the leggy lass with the baggy pants in that pic?

looking good if so.

i couldn't run a raffle at the moment so all praise to you, well done!

mens sana in corpore sano, or as near as you can.


finn said...


adam, nothing seems to relate to anything else is my great plot. you are onto me and my baggy-pantses.

FMC, it is more love than hate. i could watch those people forever. like watching thorpey swim.

and the hammie is absolutely fine! rudy gives me tune-ups now & then, but aside from some new shinsplints, i am 100%! i think i will be sensible (for once) and NOT race tomorrow.

teho, we were running at *winterthur,* a former dupont estate. white gloves are de rigueur.

K, per your request...

Subhangi said...

Yay, Finn pic at last!!! Wheee!

So I'm back at college.[sigh] No jogging or biking for the next six months. 'Tis a conspiracy.

Good thing time flies.