Monday, June 11, 2007

Two Race Reports, and Why I Should Listen to My Own Advice

Not one, but two races this weekend to share with you!
But first...

Total to date:

Thank you all so much. I am eternally amazed and grateful.

So, two races. The first was a women's only 10K in Central Park. This is normally sponsored by the Legacy Foundation, which runs a women's smoking cessation program called Circle of Friends. Not so this year, it was a "plain old" 10K. I was sad, because as a non-smoker of over 14 years I liked the Corcle of Friends sponsors. I even appear in a promotional video for them, because the first year I ran it, I wore a sign on my back that said something like "1992 - pack a day smoker, 2004 - runner" and they pulled me aside after the race to film me talking about not smoking.

73 degree heat and 79 percent humidity, that took a toll. I've run this race before, and it's either way too hot and humid or, like last year, unseasonably cold. Boy, I hate humidity. How do southerners do it?

Anyway, this is one of those races where it's an uphill finish (it's the same finish as the marathon) and I hate it! For those not familiar with this area of the park, there's a big hill right before Tavern on the Green. Normally, the clockwise 10K races finish on the hill, but this race starts out of the park, and to maintain the proper distance you finish on the bottom of the other side of the hill. The effect of that is, you round the corner, and instead of seeing the finish line at the top of the hill, you see -- the hill. Where did the finish line go? Then you pass the 6 mile mark and still -- where's the finish line? You can't see it until you get to the top of the hill. So discouraging! Between that and the heat I had nothing left for a finishing kick. My 6th mile was an 8:32, but I think that last .2 was another hour. Finish time -- 55:44 and my first negative split, amazing because the second half of the race is much more uphill.

Sunday was a 5K run benefitting Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (home of Fred's Team!) and their cancer survivors program. It was down by the Hudson Piers, where they've created a bike/run path along the West Side Highway (it's safer than it sounds!) I ran with my friend Greg, who lost his brother Tim to cancer last year. Greg used to be a runner, but hasn't really laced up in a couple of years. He was happy to have me there to pace him.

First of all, let me say that there were OVER 1500 people there, both survivors and their friends and family. AMAZING!! Those who were survivors wore shirts with a yellow portion of the logo; friends and family shirts were orange. So many yellow shirts!! Greg wore a shirt with his brother's picture on the front, and on the back -- he had offered to the people who sponsored him, if they would like him to run in honor of their friends/loved one, to please send him their name. He received 60 names. So, on the back of his shirt, an iron-on list of the names he received.

Fred's Team was also well-represented, chief among us was Aubrey Barr, namesake of the Aubrey Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research started by Fred Lebow in 1997 and the fund Fred's Team raises money for (you can read Aubrey's story at It's pretty amazing. I gave her one of my rubber bracelets that I made for all you sponsors (yes, beans are spilled, that's what they are. I will send one to all sponsors, if you want one now send me your address!! I promise to email you all to get those addresses!)

Greg wore his brother's Ipod and listened to it on shuffle as he ran. And for somebody who claims to run maybe once every other week, I thought he'd want to mosey along, but his competitive streak came out. It wasn't an official race but they had a start/finish clock and I timed the miles out of curiosity. After I told him his first mile was 9:30 he started booking, and we finished the second mile in under 9:00. We both finished with a good kick at around 27:30. I was so proud of him! The run meant a lot to him and I am honored that I was allowed to share it with him, especially since he is the Greg I mention in my letter, and responsible for me getting my priorities straight (see "A Wake-Up Call," the previous post.) I'm waiting for my friend to email pictures to me. When I get them I'll post them.

What a lovely way to honor and celebrate the lives of those affected by cancer!

In other news, because it can't ALL be about running, I'm sure there's a saying somewhere along the lines of "those who can't do, teach" that has to do with following your own sage advice. Here's why: I believe that you should never do something with a cat that you would not want to do for the rest of the cat's life. For example, my first cat, Frankie -- she liked to sleep in the bathroom sink and I thought it would be funny to turn the water on one day while she was hanging out. Well, she loved it, and from then on would only drink from the sink.

I thought I learned my lesson with my next and current cat Spot, now 15 -- an old lady in cat years, who has started to get kitty Alzheimers (yes, cats do get dementia, believe it or not.) I have been very careful not to do anything with her that would drive me crazy for the next X number of years, except for the fact that I literally feed her by hand. She prefers to eat out of my hand, especially when my roomate Laura's cat Ming is lurking about. It's been 12 years now, and they still barely tolerate each other. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago she was hungry, but because Ming was in the kitchen she wouldn't eat. She just sat on the other end of the kitchen, sulking. So I shot her a nugget of food across the floor (it's dry food, of course!) Now she will eat a couple of mouthfuls, then sit across the room and wait for me to wing the rest of her food to her. I guess it is possible to teach an old cat new tricks, or to put it another way, it's possible for an old cat to develop new and annoying habits.

OK, dinner time. More anon.

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