‘Cuz When The Feeling’s Right

January 27 I ran a half marathon yesterday. Abbigail, wisely, sat it out.

Chris and I had returned from our whirlwind trip to Nantucket just twelve-hours prior when we met at the start of the Manhattan Half Marathon behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

He, Jen and I were quickly seperated in the 5000+ runner start, so I settled in, reminding myself over and over that this was a long, long run — a distance I hadn’t travelled since the New York City Marathon.

I ran track for exactly one year in high school: eighth grade. I rather unimpressively attempted to compete in the 400, never beating my try-out time of 1:04:00 (Michael Johnson’s current world record, by contrast, stands at 43:18).

I often listened to Bryan Adams “Run To You” on my Walkman cassette player as I stretched (or attempted to stretch; I’m not sure I had any idea what I was doing) before races. Even then (perhaps more so, even) music motivated me. It never added up to any trophies or ribbons, as it were, but it provided a soundtrack and a narrative arch for my runs.

Yesterday’s race was, in fact, soundtrackless save for my attempt to re-write the lyrics to a song of mine called “Here She Comes.”


Abbi finds the lyric “Here she comes / She’s all dressed up / She’s all messed up / I think she’s had enough” a bit depressing. I find them a bit trite, not to mention in unfortunate opposition to the song’s uptempo, almost cheery melody. So, as I ran, I cycled through possible alternatives…

By mile eleven, though, there were neither notes nor lyrics left in my head. I had taken to counting my footfalls in an effort to mask the pain and fatigue. I tallied roughly two thousand, re-zeroed, and did it again.

Afterwards, I hailed a cab home, showered, and collapsed on the couch. My objective was to sit on the couch, read the paper, and listen to NPR. And I did. For a few minutes. Abbi, who is — appropriately — in full-on nesting mode, was hanging frames, arranging flowers, and cleaning out closets. There were dishes to do, clean clothes to be out away, and windows to wash, so I rose, changed “A Prarie Home Companion” to “The Joshua Tree,” and pitched in.

As I washed our big, picture window, looked in on out increasingly warm and welcoming home, and Abbi there snapping a photo of me, I thought of the final steps of my half-marathon. At the end, as I slid towards the outside, digging deep and pushing past slower runners, I imagined Abbi waiting for me at the finish line.

I’m gonna run to you
I’m gonna run to you
‘Cuz when the feeling’s right
I’m gonna run all night
I’m gonna run to you

When I was fifteen-year-old, I’m sure I never imagined the finish line looking like this. If you told me I was racing to a bottle of Windex, or a tape measure and dry wall screw, or a petty argument over how to deal with the unwelcome surprise of a metal stud, I’m not even sure I would have understood well-enough to laugh.

One thousand and one races and 1:56:15 later, though, I think I may be beginning to get it.

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