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Hashem Ietz-uv. Loosely translated, “God has a plan.”
I spent about 10 hours in Temple yesterday learning that God has a plan. This isn’t anything I didn’t know, of course, I’ve been going to Temple since I was a matzoh ball. Over the past five or so years, I’ve been paying closer attention – it’s actually fun to learn.
So yesterday’s Yom Kippur found me entering Temple as the holiest day of the year began, and leaving after sundown, as the day ended. Of course, I’d been fasting the entire day and evening before, as you do on the holiest day of the year. It’s fun. Take 200 Jews, put them in a room, and watch them get crabbier and crabbier as their blood-sugar levels get lower and lower. It’s like God’s little petri dish.
Anyhow, during Temple, many a time we were told about how God is great, His infinite wisdom, all of that. Of course, this would make you assume that He has a plan for all of us. Especially on Yom Kippur, where He decides, according to Jewish religion, who lives and who dies in the coming year.
Why do I bring that up?
Well, I’ve been wracking my brain all day, and for the life of me, am simply unable to figure out exactly what good comes from His plan to have me fast for 24 hours BEFORE THE MOST HILL-FILLED HALF-MARATHON IN NEW YORK CITY.
Nope. No idea.
After fasting Friday night to Saturday night, I broke fast in typical Jewish fashion, three bagels, loaded with Cream Cheese and Lox. Then I went home, drank as much water as humanly possible, and was asleep by 10:30pm, to get up at 4:30am to get to Queens for a 7am half-marathon start.
Queens, by the way, is like, near Cleveland, or something. Just ask Josh. He lives there. So in a cab at 5:30am, and JUST barely made it there in time.
So the gun goes off. I’m still trying to get back to normal pre-race hydration levels.
I start running. I get through 7 miles in EXACTLY 1:00:00, or an 8:34 pace. I’m feeling pretty good! Hey, maybe there’s something to this whole not eati….
And, cue body shut down in 3… 2… 1… Go body shut down.
Body shuts down.
It was as if my entire body remembered, all at once, that I hadn’t eaten the day before. It started mocking me. My feet got heavy. My quads and ankles burned. Cramps floated from the left side of my abdomen to my right, where they did a little back-step swing dance, and came back again to the left. Miles 7 and 8 were a blur. All of a sudden my pace went from “pretty good” to “people in walkers passing me on their way to get their Sunday papers.” It was the first time I’d seriously considered quitting a race.
Somewhere between 8 and 9, as I was cursing my very existence and was sure that atheism was the way to go, I hear a “Peter!” from behind me.
It was a fellow Harrier – Stephanie, who was using this half marathon as a “Recovery run” after completing an IRONMAN TRIATHLON a few weeks ago.
No, I don’t know what’s wrong with these people, either. She completes an Ironman and “recovers” by running a half-marathon. OK, sure. That makes sense. If I ever ran an Ironman Triathlon, I’d recover by eating my way through Midtown. No. She recovers by running 13.1 miles. Freak.
So sure enough, she found me, and slowed down to match my pace. (You know, because an IRONMAN TRIATHLETE WAS RUNNING FASTER THAN ME TWO WEEKS AFTER HER IRONMAN TRIATHLON. Sigh.)
She pulled me through the last 4 miles, and I finished in 1:56:06.
So perhaps the “plan” was to make Peter be in a lot of pain, then find someone to take his mind off said pain. I dunno.
I do know though, that somewhere, God has a personal cosmic gag reel of me. When he’s bored, he watches it.
See, Stephanie pushed me so hard, that I crossed the finish line with only one thing in my head, and that was all the water and Gatorade, coming up from my stomach way to expel out of me anyway possible. This time, it would be through my mouth and nose.
So as I crossed the finish line with the thought of Brightroom FINALLY catching me in a photo, and it’s going to be me puking, I tried to hold it in. Which somehow, threw off my balance. I noticed THAT, because I found myself crossing the finish line, and falling headfirst into the ground. I don’t know if I tripped, if I was tripped, or what… But I was going down.
Fortunately, (and I didn’t even realize this until five minutes later) my skydiving training automatically took over, and I found myself instinctively doing a perfect “Parachute Landing Fall,” or PLF, so that I managed to land on my thigh, butt, back, and shoulders, and absorb all the energy of the fall without any serious damage. (Not including a sore butt, but it beats a broken wrist.) Upon getting up, I was more angry than anything else. I apologize to anyone who might have been in earshot, especially Stephanie and Cheryl.
I’m not sure what’s happening to me. I ran the Manhattan half in 1:54 and change, 2 minutes slower than last year. Today I ran Queens 2 minutes slower than Manhattan. The scary part is that I’m starting to “hurt” earlier into the races – Pain that last year would come at mile 12 for a half and mile 22 for a full is now coming at mile 8 and 16, respectively.
I don’t know what that means, and I don’t know what to do about it, and it’s depressing me.
October 21 is the Staten Island Half Marathon. That was my PR last year, at 1:46:03. That’s basically going to determine my marathon pace, and whether I should be upset or happy. Much like Yom Kippur, I suppose, which determines whether this year will be one of happiness or sadness.
I guess some kind of funny irony is that I always think “hey, if I’m thinner, I’ll run faster.” Doesn’t work that way, as I found out today. So much for my understanding of basic physics.
Let me just get through the marathon. I don’t even need the four hours anymore. I’ll take a 4:15. I’ll take anything under a 4:30 without dying.
I guess time will tell if that’s sealed in this year’s book, too.
**Update** I’m not the only one bitching about this race! That makes me happy: http://nyflygirl.blogspot.com/2007/09/if-it-aint-broke.html