31 December 2011


And 2011 is almost over. As I sit here, while my chai cooks on my stove, I can't help but think back on the past year. Lots of running, lots of running,  lots of traveling.

Happy after an all-nighter on the playa with my love!

I started in the streets of Leon, Nicaragua, surrounded by strangers who became friends, other backpackers who I discussed philosophy and love and Spanish and life with mere moments after meeting them. The local radio station put the speakers in the street and we danced with old ladies and shared bottles of delicious Flor de Cana rum while we celebrated our love of life.

Then I continued traveling, experienced a painful breakup, ran to beautiful places around Central America, improved my Spanish, and somehow found myself back in NY. Flew to Florida to see my Gram, cried at the loss of my Papa, and ran 50 miles.

Flew back to NYC, tried to push all the sadness out of my heart as I ran my slowest ever 50k through snow and ice and wet freezing cold puddles and misery. Got frostbite.

Fell in love. Right after the frostbite, I fell in love. The first night, he touched my toes, and told me they were cold. I let him warm me up. I let the next few months - really, to be honest, this next beautiful year - be absorbed with utter happiness in our love.

Ran Umstead 100 Miler. Fought with my sister, mother. Made up. Ran Bear Mountain 50 Miler. Skipped the Peaks Ultra to head to Tahoe and Big Sur for a wedding on my 32nd birthday. Gunks Fatass 50k.

Philly for work. Then PEX to dance and experience freedom. Intoxication to absolute fun. And amazing conversations of what is this all really about?

No one ever really knows.

Burning Man prep was a blur. Costumes, shopping, sewing, sewing, sewing, ultra prep. Night before flight found my boy and I making numbers for the race.

And the week was bliss...self-discovery and amazingness and it can go on forever because everything you want is there.

And then the worst 100 miler ever. Horrible. Went from 3rd place woman in BRC 50k to the back of the Rio del Lago 100 miler.

I lost my love for running.

I ran Vermont 50, as a fun run, with friends. It felt great.

Flu. Bad running. Just love.

And November. Ran DWG 50k. Fun.

Then Cajun Coyote 100 Miler. Didn't meet my goal time but made second woman. Had a blast. Once again, my love for trail running exploded. And visited New Orleans.

And a million other things - more races and parties and Occupy Wall Street and protesting hardcore and Team Odwalla Athlete and being so busy I can barely breathe and NBR runs and my sister is pregnant and one of my best friends had a baby and I grew tougher at running and did a few speed workouts and ran twice a day and studied Spanish lots and visited my Gram in FL twice and started baking and cooking again and let the wounds all heal, my grandfather is in a better place, and my cat grew sweeter, and I read more and I broke down and got a Kindle and I ran to the beach and I called both my grandmas two or three times a week and started knitting again and made blankets for friend/babies and loved my lightweight shoes but also ran in Hokas and almost ran away to a million different places 5,000 times, but never would because love always keeps me warm and happy and one day, we'll live in our little bungalow on the beach in Costa Rica with twelve cats, writing, fighting for equality.

Happy 2011 - it's been great. 2012 will be even better!

28 December 2011

Run in the Rockies!

To my East Coast Tri-State Ultrarunning Pals, a run in the Rockies means a run in Rockefeller State Park. I did have days in my life where running in the Rockies meant running in the Rocky Mountains where I, for two years, lived (ahhhh, the Naropa Boulder days...), but this is quite different.

Rockefeller State Park is a nice place to run trails - they're all carriage trails, so nothing too technical, though if you're like me, you'll end up with small stones in your shoes (and a bee, as Tony once witnessed during a flailing, screaming, shoe-kicking incident at the end of a way-too-long run last summer). There's a bunch of hills that I did repeats (7x this one horrible hill today), hills that Tony makes me run hard up, and lots of gentle ups and downs. Great training b/c unlike Bear Mountain where you end up hiking because you are climbing essentially, mountains, most of these hills are runnable unless you choose this time to pull out your phone to look at your Google map to see where the hell an exit to this park may be.

But I digress.

A great thing about this park is you can get here via public transport. You can go via a ride to the Pleasantville train station following these directions; however, it's almost 3 miles and I have never run that way. The plus of going that way is you enter by the main entrance of the park, which is where the bathrooms are (Sometimes, you just don't want to find a tree, and there are some parts in the Rockies were trees are not as common as you'd like!), plus water fountains (that might only be on in the summer) and a soda/other beverage machine (I think they have water and vitamin water too!). I know these trails best and also, you're close to the lake which is a cute 2 or so mile run around.

Today I went via the Tarrytown Train Station, where the trains seem to run more often. And it's less time running on the roads - 1.4 miles! I use these directions, but my play-by-play might help you more. I run up the hill behind the train station, up this street called Franklin. (If you get lost, ask anyone how you can run to Broadway.) When I get to Broadway, I hit a left and run down for a bit, past the cute little town of Tarrytown (good Greek place on your left, should you be hungry on the way back) and past all the official looking buildings and past the high school. You'll make a right just after you pass the Horseman Diner and head up the steep 448 - and then you'll make a left onto the OCA (Old Croton Aqueduct Trail). You run down this for a little while - at one point, the trail disappears but keep going past houses in the general direction and you'll end up back on it - and when you see trails on your right, go that way - those are the Rockies!

Other nice things about this park - you can park for free at the high school across from the OCA entrance (or sometimes!) and if you get to the main lot of the Rockies it's free before 8am, I think. If you come up via train, you can hide a gallon of water and change of clothes/etc in the woods, as I have done before. Mostly, I love it because it's pretty, you can run by Stone Barns and see the super cute pigs and cows and animals (Vegetarian Cherie doesn't think of eating these!), deer!, flowers, the hills are manageable but still push you, you see people but not so many.

I love the Rockies! Training for Santa Barbara 100 Miler in April followed three weeks later by Bear Mountain 50 Miler - I'll be training here for the long faster runs.

Care to join?

He Sang to Me

It was the second-to-last day of Burning Man. The last day for many people. The Man had burned last night. My campmates were unpacking, picking up moop, giving away food. It seemed so awful to let it all fall apart. My boyfriend was absorbed in the process of making ice cream. I needed to leave, somewhere, I don't know. I couldn't deal with everyone I loved for an inexplicable, painful reason.

So I biked around. I headed to Center Camp. People were dazed, with the dust and lack of sleep and intense environment and I'm sure, other substances. I felt sorrowful, and I couldn't figure out the cause. I thought of my Papa, who had died one year and mere days earlier.

I sat on a couch. I wasn't sure why, except that I couldn't handle my grief standing up. The guy next to me made room, smiled, and offered popcorn. I blinked back tears and shook my head.

I closed my eyes and listened to the music.

I still felt numb, but my soul was thawing. I wondered what was happening back at my camp, but I didn't want to be there. I needed to be someplace that that was not. I needed to find something else. Something deep inside me.

And I still felt - weird. Later, Gwendolyn attributed it to me being sad that it was the second-to-last day of the Burn and she let me have my bad mood. She loves me like that.

And then, the scruffy but intensely special singer on stage, began singing, "I'm For Today." I got him. I understood him. It all made sense.

I'm for today - 
I'm for the birds who fly away - 
Free as they came,
Free as they came.

I blinked back tears. I listened hard. I clapped my hands until they ached. He finished singing, this wonderful Aaron Glass. He gave me a hug and a CD.

I hopped on my bike. I sang again and again, the chorus which pulled me up. As I biked, I swear everyone listened, and was waking up in their own way.

But it's Burning Man, everyone wakes up in their own way.

20 December 2011

Is 100 "It"? (Or, Why Do I Run 100 Milers?)

For years, marathons were IT for me. I trained and trained and trained, and if I bombed, I cried and was depressed for days, or if I did good, I still was depressed that I didn't do quite as good as I hoped (though my first Boston Qualifying Marathon was an exception).

Then, sub in 50 milers for marathons....

Then, 100s...

And I can't seem to get away from 100 milers, though I find them so brutal, so tough, so rough, so horrendous, so painful, so soul-destroying, so demoralizing...

...yet so uplifting, for moments here and there, and most especially, when you're done.

But really, I love 50 milers best.

Marathons sucked so much when they sucked. They can be amazing, but when they hurt, it's not fun. And it's not pretty and sometimes you can't get beyond the pain. And fast, yes, you have to run fast. Ow.

But 50 milers...they're just the perfect distance. You're over in a day. You start running early, and you finish early enough to get dinner with your loved ones and shock/appall/impress them with your eating capabilities. Maybe you'll even head out for a drink or two (because there will, of course, be an amazing party that night) and then you'll plead exhaustion, crash for a few hours, or more, be stiff the next day, but feel pretty good.  You can run slower than a marathon, eat cookies while you run, see beautiful trails, bond with rad ultrarunners. Even if it sucks, it's only 50 miles.

But that last sentence - you can't explain that, you can't really feel that, until after you run 100 miles. And then it seems easy. You need to run 100miles to feel that. To appreciate it.

100 miles...why? Why do I keep going back? Why? 

There's that point where it's dark (It seems like the middle of the night, but it might only be 8 or 9pm. You've been up for hours, you're tired, it is the middle of the night to you.):

And everything starts hurting. Your feet are swollen, you took off your compression leg sleeves miles ago because your calves were so swollen that your sleeves felt unbearable. You have a million blisters (or maybe just one). You are nauseas, you're hungry, you have go to the bathroom, right now, right now, can we please just stop, oh pacer, just let me stop for one minute, you feel like you're going to die, you want to die, you hate this, you hate everything, why did you sign up, you paid how much to run this far, you swear you're never running a 100miler again, oh, this sucks, your shins hurt so bad, this hurts so bad, you want to be in bed, it is horrible....

Or maybe that's just me? Yeah, I didn't think so.

But there's this glimmer. 100 milers are where - as my pacer Kathy told me at Rio del Lago - you learn to be tough, you prove just how tough you are. It's where you discover something deep inside yourself. I don't find that in any other race. It's where you learn to push past pain. It's where you learn to push past reasonability.

I do love running 50 milers best - they are my favourite race - but I still keep signing up for 100s. I do them as my goal races, my key races. 50 milers are often just training runs, build-ups. But I love them best. Should I focus on them instead? Should I enjoy my runs more?

Sometimes, I want to spare myself the agony and just sign up for a 50miler. Like, maybe I should do that for the 50 mile at the Santa Barbara Endurance Race instead of the 100. But I get this feeling that I'm being wimpy - I know the 100 is what will push me, what's harder.

It's not wimpy. It's a different option. I'll have to run it differently...

I think as I'm writing this, I realize WHY I run 100milers. They are the best way to challenge myself. With my writing, I challenge my creativity, my thought process, my view of life. But when I run 100 miles, I challenge my body, push it past pain.

You know what? When it's all over, and your body is aching and you're thirsty and exhausted and hungry and sore and in pain and everything hurts - YOU DID IT. You ran 100 miles and that is something so hardcore that so few people can say. You got to be out there in nature, running through beautiful woods, on lovely trails, bonding with amazing people (and of course, nature), bonding with yourself, thinking deep, thinking clear, thinking pure.

And so, I love 50 milers best.

But I will continue running 100 milers to challenge my soul.

Missing back in the day....

Yes, those good old rave days, where you'd apply blue eyeliner to me - "Hold still, Cher" - and I'd blink anyway, and then we'd talk about the big puffy down vest we'd be wearing over tube tops. But that was the era of so much more.

That was the era of connecting. That was the era of people engaging with people, of conversation, of phone numbers written on wrists, on long walks around the East Village over bad cups of tea and coffee, of shopping for lacy vinyl clothes we couldn't afford that we bought anyway, of meeting guys every time we hopped on the train, because, hey, life was about making connections.

Now, everyone is shut off. It makes me sick. On the train, everyone is plugged into their iPod, their mp3 device, blasting music that I wonder if it will cause more damage to their eardrums than dancing on top of the speakers to Scott Henry's infamous June 5th set years ago on the Baltimore Waterfront. No one talks to each other on the train, unless it's to curse you out for accidentally stepping on someone's foot. Do people loathe reality so they must distract themselves? Or is life just so much more pleasant when you're not in the present moment? Or...?

You go to a bar and in line for the bathroom, where I actually met friends in the past ("Hey everyone, this is Jessie, we just talked in the bathroom line for the past twenty minutes and she also was at that Superchunk show at Lollapalooza back in the nineties too!") - and everyone's on their smart phone, looking at Facebook, obsessing over whatever. I don't get it. Why can't you be in the present moment? I assure you, it's bound to be more interesting than what others are posting on Facebook. Or people who are checking their phones while they sleep, or during sex.

I'm not a Luddite - I have a smart phone, a Kindle, a netbook, a laptop, and a work computer. Sometimes I'm using most of those at the same time. But a lot of the  times, I just prefer to be writing a letter to my girl V, reading one of my Moosewood cookbooks in between dicing peppers, curled up in bed with my kitty and an Anais Nin diary, drinking tea with a friend, writing a story, running in the woods, jumping off a dock, walking along the edge of the ocean with feet partially wet/very sandy.

And to me, those are the things that life is really about. Maybe Facebook and Twitter and all these things are a way of sharing that - but shouldn't we be in that very moment first?

Live in the present moment. Stop distracting yourself.

19 December 2011

When did my feelings change like this?

I suppose it was in the woods somewhere, out at one of the ultras, but I no longer have the love or respect for NYRR. Oh, I admire that they put on one of the greatest marathons - my favourite marathon indeed! - but where is the love of everything?

When I went to pick up my number for admittedly, a MUCH smaller race, Cajun Coyote 100 Miler, the RD joked around with me while wearing a stuffed alligator hat. Volunteers gave me Mardi-Gras beads, joked about the cherry vodka-blue-marshmallow drinks they'd be serving later. It was fun.

When I went to pick up my number for a recent 15k in Central Park, I got SCREAMED at my NYRR volunteers when in the registration room. Screamed. I was putting on my Dtag while waiting in line - apparently, I could wait there doing nothing, but not put on my Dtag. I left the room. I did not want to deal with this.

NYRR raised the price of the NYC Half-Marathon to $117. Assuming I don't have to travel for work, I plan on running a 50 miler the following week for $69. Pay almost twice to run nearly a quarter of the distance? Yes, the course is fast. Yes, they have to shut streets down. Yes, they have to pay cops and security, and yes, don't forget appearance fees for top runners. But really? Do I really want to?

Honestly - I've gone back and forth a bunch of times in my head. I don't have to travel. (Though I generally don't fly for anything less than 50miles.) It's close. It's easy. Lots of friends will come. Probably not my parents. But still. My whole running club! But the principle...and $117.

I have a few hours left. I probably won't sign up, but NYRR, when did you start being so expensive and stop being so much fun?

Maybe it's that I discovered another world, ultrarunning, with its casual laid-back atmosphere and cheaper fees (I've paid less for 100milers than I have for the NYC Marathon and I get a lot more out of a 100miler - tons of food, gear, fun, and a helluva lot more pain!).

But maybe, really maybe, things have changed...

15 December 2011


Jenn Shelton is an ultrarunning hero of mine. She is fierce, kills it, runs hard, runs for the love of it.

A recent article about her was really interesting and made me fall for her all over. She says bad-ass things like, 

"When I'm out running in the mountains and I get that fear that a cougar is following me and I'm going to die, I think, 'It's OK if the cougar eats me because I've done some really cool things."

During last year's Javelina Jundred, I got caught two miles from the start/finish/aid station without my light. I figured I'd get back before it got dark. (It's always hard in ultras when it's super sunny and the middle of the afternoon or even early afternoon to be like, "Yes, I need to carry this bulky headlamp the next 15-20 miles because I'll need it for that last mile" or if you get slightly off schedule...)

I was running when I got to the tricky part. Shannon was in front of me, and Jenn had blasted out a loop or two, racing, before she dropped - and was now pacing Shannon. I passed, but hung close to them - Shannon and Jenn both had lights. Suddenly, Jenn spoke up. I had never talked to her, merely smiled as we passed each other during the race, said hi. She asked me if I had a light.

"Nope. Mine's back at my drop bag. This part took me a little longer. I got nauseas," I told her.

"Here," she said, running up to me, handing me her flashlight. "Use this. This part's tricky footing. Give it to me when you see me or if you don't, give it to Maria. She's a volunteer at the aid station."

I thanked her profusely, and took off, much more confident with a light of my own.

In the aid station, I proceeded to change my shoes and socks, suck down a coconut water, stuff as many homemade cookies in my body as possible. A random guy - that's ultras, random people just help you - offered to hold the flashlight up for me. 

"This is a great flashlight," he told me while I rooted in my drop bag for my headlamp. 

"It's not mine," I said as I finally found my headlamp and strapped it on. "It's Jenn Shelton's. She just lent it to me because I didn't have a light."

"Nice of her," he told me as I slathered Body Glide on. "This is a $100 flashlight."

And that's what I love about ultras. One of the fastest women ultrarunners drops the race - I'm not sure race - but doesn't quit. She paces her friend. Then she helps a fellow ultrarunner - someone she doesn't even know at all - and lends her an expensive flashlight.

When I finally passed Jenn and gave her the flashlight back, those thanks were from deep within.

And to all ultrarunners - I say thank you for rocking so hard.

11 December 2011

You Don't Want to Run 100 Miles, Or, Some Videos From My Last 100 Miler

At Cajun Coyote 100 Miler, I carried a camera on my second loop (miles 20-40) so I could record the beauty and craziness of the course. Here are some things to scare the crap outta you.

Hallucinations, way too early in.

Crying because I really need water and I'm out

Vanilla gu or pudding?

Cajun Coyote 100 Miler: A Race Report of a Very Unusual 100 Miler

So the good news on the Cajun Coyote 100 Miler first, I suppose:
  • I was second woman!
  • It reinstilled my love in the love run - oh, trails, how alive you make me feel.
  • I ran through some beautiful places.
  • While my time was far from my PR, I still had a smashing good time.
  • It was like Burning Man - we all had "race names" and I used my playa one, Cherry Bomb, as my name.
  • One of the most fun races I ran.

I arrived at the start and knew I was in the right place - the RD was wearing a stuffed alligator hat and the volunteers were wearing Mardi Gras beads. In my race bag (one of those little sneaker bags) were lots and lots of beads, a nice tech shirt that actually looks good, a Lip Smacker (Yes! I loved them when I was 9 years old and they're still great!), a mask, homemade soaps, bug wipes, Hammer samples, and other fun. Everyone was excited, chattering under the Christmas lights about the day to come. Numbers were written on a select body part - you'd run into an aid station, shouting your number and your nickname. My nickname was, of course, Cherry Bomb.
At the start...

#111, Cherry Bomb!
The course was five 20 mile loops. Louisiana's a flat state, and this was in the bayou, so it was flat, right?


Me at the start

Yes! Get me outta here!!!

Loop One: Miles 1-20
The race started with the RD saying offhandedly, "Bye!" And we took off!

I started out at a good pace, chatting with a guy doing his first ultra (who later went on to win the 100k) and a guy from Maine. We talked about dysfunctional relationships, work, running. The first 4.3 miles - up to the first aid station - were the hardest. Up, down, steep, short, up, down, repeat. And a rock to trip on, a root, focus, focus. Through some miracle I did not trip at all on this single track rocky-and-rooty course.

The next 4-ish miles were the easiest. Lots of ups and downs, but not as hard as the first section. Right before the aid station you run down into this ditch and then up. Oh, fun. And then up a little hill and to Jeff's aid station - Jeff who didn't sleep the entire race. I love ultra volunteers.

Then there were eight miles to the unmanned aid station. Mentally, it was a challenge. I also had to be careful and conserve my water each time. At this aid station, there was water, a container of Heed, and a jar of pickled pig's lips. No one dared open it - yuck!

Ew! Pigs' lips as ultrarunning snack
And then a mere four miles or so to the main aid station. This wasn't so terrible, some hills, but it was only four miles. 

And then you were back.

Overall, the course was up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down on single track. Enough rocks and roots and twists and turns and bridges to keep your eyes on the ground at all times - but wait, look up, don't miss those orange blazes. (The RD put heaps of ribbons up which were helpful...until the trail maintenance volunteers decided to help out and remove all the ribbons. ARGH!)

Loop Two, Miles 20-40
I repeated everything.

On the move!

Fueling up
I ran a bunch w a guy from Maine who I got into an extensive discussion with about dysfunctional relationships. We'd lose each other on and off - he'd spend extra time in an aid station, and I'd leave him, or he'd get a speed burst. It was a nice way to pass the time.

 And then I was alone, but it was okay. I felt free, alive, in love with the run. I was here to run 100 miles, yes, but the real reason? I needed vengeance on the 100 mile distance. My last 100 was so wretched that I needed to prove to myself and the world that I loved this. And I did. I did. I felt alive as I ran across a wooden walkway (which were SO pretty and I loved them during the day but at night were positively frightening) across the bayou. I thought, "Yes, yes, this is why I'm here! This is what it means to be alive."

Loop Three, Miles 40-60
It got harder. That goes without saying.
Crossing the bridge

I had my light but I wouldn't need it until the end of this loop. Things got rough and I pushed and I felt the pain but I pushed and I pushed and I pushed. I thought of coconut water and Odwalla bars and of my cat back home, sleeping for sure, and of The Godfather, which I was re-reading for the third time, and created sentences in my head in Spanish and about what to get V for Xmas and everything, everything, everything. I thought and then I blanked and I pushed and I pushed harder and hardest of all, I pushed the tears from my eyes and wouldn't let them escape. I was tougher than this.

It got dark. It was okay. I was tough. But my headlamp battery wasn't. It was impossible to see. I got freaked. I began singing loudly, scaring the armadillos, comforting myself. I wonder if KRS-ONE ever thought when he was writing "How Bad Do You Want It" that some ultrarunner would use it to push herself during a 100miler.

I could barely see. I slowed down, squinting with my pathetic light to see the markers. I had to walk, to avoid tripping on things I couldn't see. Finally I arrived at an aid station and they gave me batteries. It was a relief to get back to the main aid station and get my kickass headlamp and pacer.

Loop Four, Miles 60-80
My pacer was new to ultras, and we barely knew each other, but that wasn't a problem. We quickly began talking, laughing, getting to know each other.

About seven and a half miles in, we got to an intersection and couldn't find the next blaze. No worries, there it is. Oops. Rather, that is the orange blaze we just passed. We ended up running three extra miles. Argh. When I figured it out, I began running super hard. I was so upset that I just pushed, pushed, pushed and tried not to think about it. When we got to the next aid station, I inquired if I'd have to pay extra because, after all, everyone else paid for 100 miles and here I was, running 103 and paying the same price!

Things felt rough but I felt mostly good. I was eating throughout the race - grilled cheese and rice at the main aid station, quesadillas at Jeff's aid station, and vanilla gus and honey stingers in between.

Loop Five, Miles 80-100
It hurt.

I was psyched to be on my last loop but my shins were killing. And I was SO tired. I felt wretched. Of course, if I didn't, something would be seriously wrong with me.

A light was behind me. Push. Push. I can't let it pass me. My pacer and I would talk, or we would say nothing but breathe and think and push. Then there would be times where it would get to me, and I would say to Jessica, "Talk. Say something. Anything," and she'd amazingly well respond, "Well, at work..." or "My kids..." or whatever. She could have been reading the ingredients on a cereal box to me and I would have found it soothing.

It got later. It got worse. Each aid station was a beacon of hope, the volunteers so cheerful, so wonderful, so nice and helpful. I inhaled grilled cheeses. I drank ginger ale. They were so helpful and nice.

I started to cry. Jessica told me not to cry. I was unable to listen to her. I cried harder. This hurt so much. I worked so hard, why was I running so poorly? How have I been getting slower, getting further from my goals? Why did it hurt so bad?

We started talking, laughing. I pushed. "Mile 97!" "Mile 98!" And harder.

And then we were on the road. I couldn't believe I was almost done. As I came in, everyone cheered. And the RD was there and everyone was awake. It was over. Somehow.

Food was prepared and shared. I sat there, stunned and exhausted. I called New York, was told I sounded totally out of it. I was told not to drive.

The RD gave out finishers' hats, and I was second woman. I won a free pair of sneakers. We joked around, and I was stunned at how I was able to run into the finishing area not that long, and now, now that the clock had stopped for me, walking was near impossible.

In the middle of the night, I thought about how hard it was. It's so hard. 100 milers are a million times harder than a marathon, a lot harder than a 50. But it's SO hard. Mentally. Physically. Everything hurts and it's hard to remember why you should push. And it's hard to break through. Those people that are WINNING - they impress me. Because when I run, I'm in my own race. I'm competing against myself. I'm running for the love of it, for the struggle of the day, for discovering within.

And really, it takes 100 miles to find a lot of that out. Because if it didn't, why would we be doing it in the first place?

You're Only As Old As You Feel

This morning, my legs were tired, reminding me that yes, I did run 100 miles last week. I started feeling better as we headed over the Pulaski, running back to my house with Wayne. Some guy nodded at us as we ran past, as he was wearing his Boston Marathon gear and Wayne was wearing my old Boston shirt. (I arrived one year too late at the expo and they only had men's large shirts...thanks, Boston, I train my butt off to qualify for you, and then train my butt off for you, only to get a men's large shirt?!?!). I started talking about Boston - I don't actually like the course. There's a lot of gaping sections of nothing, boring suburbs, and I don't know, it just doesn't love me how NYC loves me.

We're passing this older guy - I'm feeling better and thinking, let's run hard in - when he hears us talking about Boston and starts telling us about all the time he's run Boston. Fourteen times. About the crowds at the start and how he hears it's in waves now and how he did ultras in the 70s and 80s and he did the Shea Stadium one my friend Ray K did and how much he loves running. And this guy is 70 but he looks so incredible.

Wayne and I slow down our pace and talk to him the rest of the time, and I swear, it was one of the most beautiful Greenpoint runs I've had in a while. It was really special to run with some an interesting and amazing individual - and yeah, he's 70 but he was so young at heart.

I'll be there someday!