One of the exciting new developments in my life is that I’ve officially kicked off training for the Hamptons Marathon today with a threshold run. Which the Internet described as “reasonably hard” or

roughly equivalent to what exercise physiologists call “lactate threshold,” or the point at which your muscles start fatiguing at a rapid rate.(from here)

I’d like to describe it has as fast as I could, just a tad slower than the speed at which I’d be sick, spewing or hyperventilating. It hurt to run fast, rather than at my usual leisurely jog/walk pace, and I did find myself slowing down a bit after first four laps on the outdoor track, or after the first mile. I tried to motivate myself by keeping on the heels of a young couple running in tandem. They seemed relaxed and not at all trying to establish their threshold pace, but in the end they were ahead of me by about .10 miles, or half a track. Lesson learned: it never pays to compare myself to others. I finished my two-mile run in 22 minutes and 3 seconds, so at the pace of about 11 minutes per mile.

I was not an athlete in school, except for a very brief stint with tae-kwon-do classes in elementary school (yellow belt, so not quite assassin-level). Bagels, ramen noodles, and chocolate chip cookies were my favorite foods. I often ate myself to sleep. A boy once called me fat; my mother more often so. I can’t remember exactly how long it took me to do that dreaded mile run in gym class, but it was north of fifteen, maybe close to twenty, heavy-footed minutes. So my thirty-one year old self beat my eighteen year old self today. My marathon-running self will beat my current self, I hope.

I jog/walked a mile to and from the outdoor track in East River Park, so I ran/jogged/walked more than 4 miles today. On the way back, I saw a tweet about dedicating 4.15 mile runs to show support for the outstanding work of Boston Police. I think that’s great, and I would totally dedicate 4.15 miles to the cause, because I believe that action speaks louder than words.

Words can’t quite describe how I feel about the incident and its violent aftermath resulting in more senseless deaths and a suspect’s arrest in Watertown last night. The tv was on in the house last night, and I asked C to turn down the volume when the shootout scene was replayed with news commentary. My eyes still gloss over any news related to the Boston bombing; reading about violence makes me wince. It’s tempting to pretend we don’t live in a world of random acts of violence, of wars, and of terrorist threats. But I know that’s pathetically naive. Reading JLM’s blog has me rethinking how rebellion and wars made this country and make my life possible here. I don’t like violence, but I have to accept that the peace I relish resulted from violence. It’s a bitter pill.

I want to end this entry on a brighter note. So here’s a scene I encountered at Union Square Park this afternoon. A young boy battles an older gentleman in a game of chess, while his younger brother watches on. Not pictured is the mom, who was graciously offered a seat by one of the other chess players. She must have gotten up for a minute when I took this picture. She felt safe and she trusted enough (or was reckless enough) to leave her big purse on the seat.

Chess in Union Square Park

Chess in Union Square Park