Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fried Chicken Running

The lingering creakiness from last weekend was gone by Tuesday. This morning I set out to Washington Heights to see if I could match last Sunday’s personal record setting pace. Today was the Third Annual Fried Chicken & Waffles Race, known to others as Coogan’s Salsa, Blues, and Shamrocks 5K and I was ready to try something new.

At most NYRR’s races there are photographers snapping away. A few days later you get an email offering prints and other products so you can forever preserve the image of your sweaty grimace. Makes a good gift, they say.

I disagree, but I still look at the pictures. The way you can’t avert your eyes from horrible images even as you try not to look, I am drawn to these pictures from races. They’re not flattering, but what bothers me the most is that in them I don’t look like I’m running: both of my feet are touching the ground.

You can't get anywhere if you keep both feet on the ground the whole time.

I’ve gotten good at doing the old lady shuffle – I’ve even gotten progressively faster – but I haven’t earned the right to it. When I’m sixty, I’ll be happy to start working on perfecting the little old lady shuffle.

Right now, I need to work on letting go of fear. I need to push off, one foot at a time, and not be afraid of where that might take me.

Today it took me to Fort Tryon Park, past marching bands, bag pipes, mariachis, and a view that spanned the Hudson and the George Washington Bridge, all the way to my prize: a new personal record followed by a green bagel courtesy of NYRR and fried chicken and waffles (plus a side of cheesy grits and a buttery biscuit) at Amy Ruth's in Harlem.

But it doesn’t stop there. I need to keep pushing off and letting myself lift off the ground so I can move forward.

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