Thursday, May 27, 2010


Because hand and eye coordination is not a strength of mine, I've never been into sports involving a racket. While growing up, tennis was for the rich kids with access to the country club. While in college I unsuccessfully flirted with table tennis, but the tables were at El Corral in the most popular food court and the potential for embarrassment was high. I had better luck with squash. A classmate of mine lived in the outskirts of Bogotá in a compound with courts and for a couple of semesters I got to play enough squash to develop the skills to hit the ball. Sometimes.

Which is why I never thought I'd ever be excited at approaching tennis courts. My arms were covered in goosebumps yesterday as I walked towards the Prospect Park Tennis Center; the sight of it drawing me in as I struggled to contain myself.

Earlier, I had gone out for an easy run as part of my new speed training. Since the previous day's hill repeats had almost ended with my leaving the contents of my stomach on the side of the road, I had started at a very easy warm-up jog. At mile one my stomach was queasy but I thought it would pass.

I entered the park at Bartel Pritchard Square and was running counter clockwise. By the time I got to Center Drive, I was one a half miles into my run and thinking I might need to make a bathroom stop. I bypassed the port-a-potty that stands sentry at Center & West Drive because that wasn't a good option yesterday and I was still hoping it would go away.

A third of a mile later I was by lake and knew I was in serious trouble. I scanned the horizon for playgrounds and comfort centers. Nada. I flipped through mental images of what was outside the park on the other side of the road to try to remember if there were any coffee shops or some other places that might be open then and came up empty.

By the time I stopped two people walking dogs to ask them if they knew where there was a restroom nearby my eyes were darting about, all systems threatening immediate shut down.

"If you walk long enough you'll bump into one," said the one with the corgi.

But I didn't have long. Time was running out; a ticking bomb was about to explode.

The skating rink would be closed and because of uneven toilet distribution on the loop I was about a mile from the next comfort station. Would this be the end? My legs were still moving but I knew it was a matter of time before it was all over for me.

Then I saw it. Through the leaves of the trees, a glimpse of where I would be saved: the Tennis Center on the Parade Grounds just outside the park.

Oh, Tennis Center, bless your hours.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Gone Woodstalking

Before: The fabulous Van 1 in Woodstock.

After: The amazing I'm Woodstalking your Girlfriend team, in Dobbs Ferry 185 miles later and not much worse for the wear.

More details later, once I've caught up on sleep and food.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Flying the Flag

My terrace is too small for me to take a good shot, but the flag is flying.

This weekend, I'm Woodstalking your Girlfriend will be running from Woodstock to New York. We cross the start line at 8am and run non-stop until we get to Dobbs Ferry, hopefully not too late for lunch on Saturday. It's a relay team, some are friends, other I haven't met but they'll have become friends by the end of this.

That or we'll have killed each other from being trapped in a van together for so long. But I don't think that's going to happen.

I have no idea how this is going to go; there are too many variables, from the weather, to injuries, to exchange points in gravel lots, but whatever happens I'm sure it's going to be great.

When I mention I'm doing this I usually get one of two replies. One is a bug eyed OMG, that sounds awesome response, usually accompanied by an I wish I could do that or I'd like to do that sentiment. The other response is a puzzled, maybe even concerned for my sanity "Why? Is this for charity?"

Though proceeds from the race are donated to charity, we're not running for charity. We're doing this for fun.

Oh, it's going to be rough at times. Our team has already taken a few hits. It should have been twelve of us, but it's going to be eleven (get well, Nick!), and a few of us might be limping a little. But how can it not be fun to run with a team named I'm Woodstalking your Girlfriend that has a kick-ass logo, a flag, a song, and even a surgically enhanced mascot?

I'm doing this because I want to know what it will feel like to be at the edge of exhaustion, running along a dark road at 3am in the morning, and feel my heart fill with the sliver of light at the edge of the horizon. And I want to know what it's like to do this with friends, because at the end of that run, there will be a stinky van full of friends, ready to help me hop on, and pass me a towel to dry me off, and a blanket to keep me warm.

Random cheering texts for me and my team from Friday through Saturday are greatly encouraged.

Monday, May 3, 2010

In Recovery

It was a procedure with unexpected complications. With the chief surgeon taking a break to go run a 5k followed by post-race margaritas, what should have taken a couple of hours took almost a full day. There was concern about the sedation needed to keep Woodstock under the knife for so long, but since what took the longest was the crafting of the implant, Woodstock was kept in pre-op and only brought in when everything was ready.

While still in recovery, Woodstock is in good spirits and showing off his new smile. He also mentioned he now wants blepharoplasty to match his bigger, brighter smile and is considering having it done as soon as he has made a full recovery.

Let's hope Woodstock doesn't go all Heidi Montag on us.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Operating Room Update

There have been unexpected complications and Woodstock remains in the operating room. Though surgeons have declined to comment, from eavesdropping on the nurses this reporter has been able to deduce the difficulties arose from the prototype maxillofacial implant. Specific modifications were needed so it would fit properly around Woodstock's unusual under the chin mouth.

Since this is an experimental procedure, surgeons are proceeding with caution. The Pet Shop Boy's greatest hits can be heard coming from the operating room.

Woodstock remains in a stable condition.