Madonna and Me

I’m running.  Fast.  I round the steep, short hill that flows down to Pebble Beach and I think, Wow.  Sunday is my first real road race. I have a flashback to the eighties and instead of hearing The Black Eyed Peas pumping into my ears from my iPod, I hear Madonna’s husky, youthful voice.  “I made it through the wilderness.  Somehow I made it through….like a virgin…” and realize that’s just how I feel.

I’ve been passed by plenty of runners, and have passed just as many on my running route over the past few years.  But I’ve never run with the intent to pass, or experienced the possibility (or the reality) of the slight humiliation that comes with being outrun.  I run because I love the way it feels, and because I love the effects running has on my body and on my psychological well-being.  So far, when another runner passes me, I wave hello and just keep going.  I know there are faster runners out there than I;  it never mattered before.  Now, somehow, I think it might.

The Rockport Father’s Day Race is this Sunday.  There’s both a 5K and a 10 K loop, and I have chosen to run the 10K.  The route is my regular everyday route, which is so familiar by now I think I could run it with my eyes closed.  Sue, my running partner, suggested we register and run the race together and I guess it’s time to get over whatever barriers I have around running a race and just do it.

I spent this running week preparing.  Monday I woke up at 5:30 and ran the race route plus a little more.  Tuesday I did plyometric drills and core work.  Wednesday I ran the race route again, focusing on speed.  Thursday I ran a beautiful, easy, long run, 12 miles, and my average speed was an 8 minute mile.  Today I ran a recovery run, part of it with my friend Michelle, and we just took it easy, chatting about eating vegan and how challenging it can be in restaurants and with friends.  Tomorrow is a rest day, just cycling with a friend early in the morning.  Then, Sunday, the race.

As I ran on the route on Monday, “Like A Virgin” kept playing in my head.  I rewrote the lyrics to suit running instead of sex, humoring myself with revised lyrics like “in a race for the very first time” and “I made it up the hill.  I have a strong will” and “Gonna give it my best, My fear is fading fast. Sweating like a boy, Not gonna come in last”, and “Oh oh baby, I can hear my heart beat for the millionth time.”

The thought of running in a crowd instills both excitement and anxiety.  Will I be able to get my rhythm with all those other runners panting in my ear?  Will I do myself in by starting too fast and losing steam later on in the race?  Will I get my first ever cramp and have to walk?  Or will I fly like I’m alone on the road and not worry about what’s going on around me?

I’m not sure if I care about placing so much as just beating my own regular time, but there’s some little part of me that is wound like a tight spring set to release full force.  Like A Virgin:  In a Race for the Very First Time.

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5 Comments on “Madonna and Me”

  1. Elizabeth Says:

    I’m betting that you will fly along on your new “Hey, I’m running in a race!” pace. Best of luck on Sunday–have a terrific time!

  2. Pat Says:

    GO ELIZABETH !!!!!

  3. Sarah Says:

    So we have to know: what was it like (your first time)?


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