Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Running of the Pit Bulls

I went to Georgia to teach writing last weekend. I got caught up in the fun of old friends in new places, and hard work and easy laughter. So even though running was high priority, hedonism overrode my good judgment.

I was in Georgia, staying in a vintage farmhouse that rises from a field of cultured mist at the end of a long drive flanked by trees. I swear I can hear strains of “Theme from Gone with the Wind” as my car inches reverently up to the house. Gracious Plenty Farm is cast with the requisite cow, horse, and small herd of goats. My hostesses, Socha and Andi, note that the animals are not working farm animals. They are large pets masquerading as lawn ornaments.

But I digress.

Their farm is next door to a pit bull rescue center.

Let me repeat.

Pit. Bull. Rescue. Center.

Call me overly cautious, but I deemed it stooooopid to tie on running shoes and head out into the Georgia morning alone in an area where pit bulls might be migrating in search of new digs and a food supply they can outrun.

Even the cow looked nervous.

So I chose to play with Socha and Andi, commune with my fellow writers at the Generations Gallery in Indian Springs, teach, eat, and sleep. No running.

What an undisciplined wussie.

Had I been brave, I might have had my own Ernest Hemingway moment. Spitting in the eye of danger, Hemingway didn't hesitate to hurl himself into Pamplona Running of the Bulls. But I clutched when I had the opportunity to replicate his greatness. Somehow, Butts County Running of the Pit Bulls seemed less romantic and heroic.

In retrospect, I know I missed an opportunity that may never come my way again. I’ll be braver if there's a next time.

Run well, my darlings! Warm weather welcomes us!

Friday, April 16, 2010

We're taking a Marathon Mulligan!

So far, 2010 has been so insanely horrific that people have stopped asking, “Hey, Bev, how’s it going?” They’re afraid I’ll answer. If you’ve been paying close attention to the blog, you are vaguely aware that I’ve been up to my Floridian elbows in alligators. The blog has evolved into material less about the joy of running and more about the annoyance of whining.

Gang, I’ve decided that we need the running version of a Mulligan. We gotta have a do-over. No year should start like this.

When we launched 2010, I was on a singular mission to run New York.

Derailed completely.

It is said that if you want to hear God laugh, make plans. He must be hysterical about now. Life broadsided me so hard that it knocked me to my knees. Running took a back seat on the Seventh Level of Hell. And then New York rejected me, which in retrospect was probably cosmic retribution for my getting sloppy about running when life went upside down. I committed the unpardonable sin. Runners run, no matter what. And I just didn’t.

As a writer, I sometimes see life in terms of plot and character and outline. I’ve concluded that I need a rewrite here. A new chapter is in order. I’m getting busy, babies! I’ve set my keyboard on STUN!

I’m declaring today to be New Year’s Eve. I’m starting 2010 all over again. Right here. Right now. If it’s true that the manner in which you spend New Year’s Eve is the manner in which you will spend your year, then I’ll be spending the day working hard, the early evening with beloved friends, and midnight running into tomorrow.

Happy New Year, my darlings!

I wish you a year of joy, peace, prosperity, and PRs. Me too. Let's do it better this time.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I'm training for the NYC. Yeah, I am.

I’m training for the New York City Marathon.

No, not THAT one.

The OTHER one.

I might not be able to run the ING New York City Marathon on November 7, but no one can stop me from training for it. I enjoy having the discipline of a worthy goal, so I’m continuing.

We were all wondering what the REAL Plan B would be after the Ben and Jerry’s melted.

Also, as Phil Wharton reminds me, there’s a marathon somewhere EVERY weekend. Even if it’s in my head.

Run strong!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Salt in wound not enough.

Got home early tonight from Hospice, so exhausted that I can hardly function. Opened email before collapsing face-first into bed.

Found a second, duplicate memo from the New York Road Runners, reiterating my rejection from the ING New York City Marathon. Ya know. Just in case yesterday's podcast, the rejection on my personal Web application, and this morning's email rejection memo were not enough.

One has to admire how thorough they are.

One also has to marvel that one of the flavors in the Ben and Jerry's collection from last night is NEW YORK SUPER FUDGE CHUNK. One way or the other, a tenacious runner finds a way to do New York.

Salt in wound.

Just in case I didn't fully understand being rejected yesterday, New York Road Runners sent me an email today to make sure I got it.


I know that sounded testy, but I'm sure that's just the Ben and Jerry's Sugar Hangover talking.

Everything is going to be okay, babies. Really. I've learned so much from running the New York City Marathon many times. Maybe there's even more to learn from being rejected by the New York City Marathon! I'm just sayin' ...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Until we can figure this out ...

Plan B
Transitional Program for Runner Rejected
by New York City Marathon
(Wharton Approved)

New York did not accept me.

I did not get into the ING New York City Marathon. Following my name, it says, "Not accepted."

You've been with me for months on this ... and have caught the smallest glimpse into the Seventh Level of Hell over the past month, so you know that not being accepted into the marathon is entirely consistent with the Seventh Level. In fact, really, honestly, frankly, would we have expected anything else?

So I know what you're thinking: Bev is going to fall apart now.


We now go to Plan B.

You are intrigued. You ask, "Allrighteee then! What is that, Bev?"

I have no idea.

Just know that I'm okay. Now, following the lottery drawing, I'm going back to Hospice, where I will ponder life, death, and Plan B. Tomorrow, I'll come back to you with Plan B. Prepare to be amazed!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Happy in the Seventh Level of Hell

Oh! What a beautiful morning!
Oh! What a beautiful day!
I’ve got a wonderful feeling …
… get real … nothing is going my way …

I don’t care. I ran this morning. Like a thief, I surfaced out of the Seventh Level of Hell and snatched the best of the day while no one was looking to take it away from me.

The gift of running is mine. And buddy, I need it.

TOMORROW AT NOON IS THE LOTTERY DRAWING FOR THE ING NEW YORK CITY MARATHON!!! So today is a day of hope and guilty, delicious anticipation. Today, I know that something marvelous is possible!

Tomorrow at noon may prove me wrong, so for right now, I’m hanging onto it. Yes, I am. A miniscule pinpoint of light is brilliant and easy to see in the darkest dark. I’m blinded by brilliance. It’s a wonderful gift from New York … even if it lasts only 24 more hours!

Delusion is a useful mechanism. When all is going wrong, it's marvelous to think that one thing could go right. It might preserve my sanity today. It's been two whole hours since I begged someone to shoot me. See???

Monday, April 5, 2010

Wednesday will come.

Is it wrong to smile just a little while standing at the window at Hospice? Probably. But the spirit of a runner is unconquerable.

Just beyond the window is a birdfeeder that Hospice volunteers keep full so that every bird in Gainesville knows to come here for lunch. Just beyond the birdfeeder is a small berm. And beyond the berm is a vast, verdant soccer field where children come to play and runners do laps around the edges.

Running is a big part of my life. And now when I am unable to run because of sitting bedside with a beloved in a tough situation, watching other runners snaps me back to sanity. With death all around me, the runners keep me mindful of the cleansing that comes from a good sweat, the heartbeat rhythm of footfall, the power of breath, the joy of freedom when your body is tuned up like a Ferrari, and thinking that Gatorade has no medical purpose; its sole raison d'etre is to hydrate an athlete after a long, hot run.

Tomorrow morning, before I come here again, I’m going to get up extra early, and no matter how exhausted I am, I’m going to run hard even if only for a little while.

The ING New York City Marathon Lottery drawing is in two days. Standing at the window at Hospice, I'm clear that someday life will go on. Someday November 7 will come. And I’ll still be here to claim it.

I’m smiling.

Thursday, April 1, 2010



For the first time in history, we’re launching the ING New York City Marathon in a live broadcast that you can watch from any computer on 7 April.

Do you want to know whether you’ve been accepted? Tune in at noon on Wednesday, April 7, to find out who’s been selected in the 2010 lottery, including eight entrants announced on air who’ll win VIP prizes. Are you excited about the battle for the New York crown? We’ll also announce the first two professional runners.

Catch the Live Launch
You don’t want to miss the action-packed show. You and your friends and family can tune in from anywhere around the world.

When the show ends, you can log in to your NYRR profile to check whether you’ve been accepted to run on November 7, 2010.

Celebrate in New York with NYRR
The celebration will continue all day and into the night.

Join the experts on April 7 to start planning for the ING New York City Marathon 2010 at the first NYRR Learning Series of marathon season.

Visit our site for soon-to-be released launch parties throughout New York City that will connect marathoners with friends and fellow runners.

We want to celebrate 41 years of running through the five boroughs—don’t miss the action beginning on April 7 and continuing through race day on November 7.

(So, will Bev allow herself to be a little juiced up? Yah. Just a little)