So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.
Pink Floyd; Dark Side of the moon, Time
Time, the great equalizer. The one thing we cannot outrun, cannot defeat. The clock always wins, and yet we try to fight. That’s what people do. There are countless products out that take advantage of our fear of time, and it’s effects. Anti-Aging cream, and all such similar products play on our fear of time, and aging. There are countless things we say and do that point to our knowledge of, and fear of time, which is borne out in our fear of death. We have created for ourselves the cute but in the end silly delusion of life after death to fight it, to make the passage of time, and death’s inexorable decree more palatable. Death loses it’s sting when we have a world beyond to go to.
But, consciousness of time is consciousness of life. We spend our time, waste our time, bide our time. Time is money. There is time for every purpose under heaven, so the saying goes. There are a thousand different sayings and the like similar enough that show that time is man’s greatest obsession, and properly so. There never seems to be enough of it, and what time we do have seems to go by so fast, it is sometimes hard to make enough time for all the people in our lives.
It’s tough to take time to appreciate everyone, and everything people in our lives do. On certain occasions, we take time and put it aside, so we can give thanks for all they do. There are numerous days for it. Mother’s Day, Fathers Day, Labor Day.
It is Memorial Day here in the States. A day by which we remember and commemorate the fallen soldiers of this great nations wars, to commemorate those who gave us all of their time on this earth to make sure that freedom would not utterly pass into extinction. To those who fell, we salute you.
Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines…
Pink Floyd; Dark Side of the moon, Time
Today, this memorial day, I ran a 4 mile race here on Staten Island. The aptly titled 4 mile Memorial day race.
We got to the race near Midland beach, my wife and I, some 40 minutes early, at 8:20 am. We walked around, caught a little sun, chatted a bit, did the things husband and wife do in public at the beach, talk, walk, smile, enjoy the time together, catch some sun, relax, take a few pictures. Had fun for those 25 or so minutes, but it was time to get ready for the race so I put my race number on, 458, along with the shirt that I ran in, an orange under armor type shirt, took off my denim shorts, under which I had my running shorts on.
I was ready. No warm-up necessary, no stretch necessary. I’m ready. A wee bit nervous, like a race horse in the gate, waiting to get started, chomping at the bit. I could have burned some excess energy if I had wanted to by running warm-up like some of the more fit people, but the weather wasn’t right for it. It was too warm, at least 75 degrees near race start, and there was no way I was going to burn it unnecessarily with temps looking to get near 90 during the day with no cloud cover.
The wife and I walked up to the race start line, as close as we could get, hoping to get far enough up front to get a decent quick start. I ended up WAY too far out.
Didn’t know that at the time.
As the race started on Father Capodanno Boulevard, the crowd didn’t move. It continued to not move for at least 10 seconds. I was antsy, wanting to BOLT and burn some rubber. The crowd, wanting to do the same, sensed movement and began to applaud and yell. I started to walk with the rest of the crowd and I looked around for a lane to actually run. There were people who seemed happy to just be walking. It took 25 or 30 seconds to get to the start line. And the crowd would not open up. I hadn’t realized I was surrounded by walkers and slower runners. After almost a full minute of walking and fits and starts, I made a beeline for the outside of the pack. I finally found a lane.
Suddenly, after that first minute, I had open space. I began to push, and began to put slow people in my rear view mirror. A lot of them. But seeing how I didn’t want to push myself too hard too early, I started to say to myself “slow..even..pace..” each word spoken with every other landing of my right foot. Setting my pace, and linking breath to movement. Curiously, the stride pace I set was in fact fast.
Very fast. And yet I hit the first mile marker at 8:30. An 8:30 m/m pace? Much of that had to do with the slow start, and I felt the need to push harder, so I did. This part of the run, mile 2, is the only piece of the run with any appreciable shade, and I used it.
And I flew, faster than before. Pushed with everything I had. Passed people who I thought I had no business passing. I was getting to the people who I was hoping to start with, and I was passing them. Easily. I was thinking I was moving too fast, but I wasn’t about to take my foot off of the gas.
Made the turn off of Father Cap. Blvd. and onto the boardwalk, and hit the second mile marker at 15:00. I had cut my pace from an 8:30 m/m to a 7:30, and run the second mile in 6:30. The sun though, was out, there was no shade, and the running got harder.
I hit the first of 2 water stations, and grabbed some water. Didn’t drink it. Took off my hat and poured it on my head. The shock of cold water on my head felt wonderful. Gave me energy I knew I would not have gotten from drinking the water. And let me mention that I was perhaps the only person I saw out there wearing a hat running. Needed one today, with that blazing sun beating down the way it was. It helped.
I started seeing people who were stopping, the sun and heat beating the hell out of everyone. The heat started to affect me as well. It was hard work running in the sun, and I was starting to feel overheated, and took a little bit of a break. No stop, not even a serious slowdown, just a short 10 stride pace slackening. Made it easier for the next bit of running. The beach on my right shimmered in the heat, as did the asphalt in front of me. I can see ahead of me the mile three marker, but it looks like it is too far away. Or is it me?
Ya, actually it is. I close the distance of what seems like half a mile, but was actually around 2/10ths of a mile, in the blink of an eye. Hit the marker at 21:05. Nice. First mile in 8:30, the next 2 miles in 12:35.
But I was pushing too hard, and had to take the foot off of the gas. I tried to push, but started to slow down. The heat was catching up with me, and I was starting to really feel it. After a half a mile of slowly slowing down, I got a stitch on my right side, and slowed it down even more for a bit.
Got some funny looks when I did my stitch “cure”, which involves slowing down, putting pressure on the stitch, and breath out forcefully with every other step. I did that for a while, and it got rid of the stitch in about 40 strides, but I kept it slow for some extra strides, just to make sure I was OK, and turned the afterburners back on.
With about 3/10ths of a mile to go, I got my wind back, and the speed returned. The finish line is in sight. Full speed ahead. There were a few people I had kept up with, even when I was slowing down, who I had my eye on, who I wanted to pass. Here I found the speed to pass them. Some guy with his number on his back and a white shirt, who I could not catch for half a mile I found the energy to catch and pass.
One more person in my sights with the finish line looming. Woman, fast woman, wearing yellow, NYPD something on her shirt. And she was hauling ass. So was I. I caught her with about 25 yards to go.
Finish time 27:48. a 6:57 m/m pace. Ran the last mile in 6:43 even with the slow down. Ran the last 3 miles in a 6:26 pace, after that first mile at 8:30.
I had a good time. My wife and I met up, took more pics, talked some more, smiled, celebrated, ate, drank all the water we could find, sank our toes in the water and sand at the beach. The race was fun, so was hanging out with my wife, more so perhaps than the race itself.
She made the moment complete. Without her to celebrate with afterwards, this would not have been as much fun. Thanks hon!
Time well spent.