The hissing of summer swans

Okay, it was a goose. But I couldn’t resist a Joni Mitchell-related pun.

Today was my first longish run since the April 6th race. Among the sights today were:

  • Dog Runner Man: A professional dog walker who runs with his charges. He’s usually got four dogs in tow. Last time, it was mid-sized mutts and little yappy jobs. Today it was the big guns, including three of my favorite breed: German Shepherds.
  • Badass Goose Dad: I know it’s spring because the geese couples are beginning to show up with their little fluffball chick children. Which means Dad Goose goes batshit if you get with 10 yards of the family. I was chased by a hissing goose a year or two back, and it’s an image seared into my brain. Today I gave them wide berth and even had to employ the “make yourself look really big” trick (arms akimbo) to psyche out the goose. One time we were in a car and a goose charged the car!
  • Mysterious Parking Lot Crowd: Every child in Crestwood was gathered in the Crestwood station parking lot this morning for some mysterious event. They all had sport uniforms on. From a distance, I thought I’d stumbled on another meeting of what Jonathan and I have referred to as The Idiots’ Club — a giant crowd of adults was gathered last weekend in the same general area, but totally blocking the entire path, milling around, not at all aware that anyone else might be using it. Today I thought the same thing: one of my favorite Claire Fisher lines from “Six Feet Under”: “News flash! Other people exist!”
  • Fast Runner Guy I Haven’t Seen Before. I saw a very fast, very fit guy running this morning. Harumph. And I thought I knew all the decent runners in the area by sight.

I’ve not taken the standard advice to do no hard running for at least 26 days after a marathon. I did a lot of recovery and “easy” (faster than recovery) running last week. This week I did a 4 mile tempo run at 7:05-7:15 per mile pace on Friday morning on the very high quality (if not totally distance accurate) Bronxville High School track (one of the many perks of living right up the road from incredibly rich people). This morning was a 14.7 miler, which I surprised myself by doing at 8:15 per mile pace, at a lowish heart rate no less. I’m not sure where all that speed is coming from, but I’ll take it.

Next weekend is my half marathon in New Jersey. If it goes well, I think I’ll make a habit of doing one a month after the marathon, since it keeps me working during recovery and provides some remedy for the post-marathon melancholy.

On the family front, the other shoe has dropped with regard to my grandmother. She’s back in hospice once again, by her own choice. I wish she’d fight on, but maybe when I reach 93, and time and illness have stolen some of my most treasured faculties, I’ll also decide to throw in the towel on life. It’s a hard, hard thing to say goodbye. But love was all around when I was out there two weeks ago, as was the black humor that seems to run in both sides of the family (which would explain why my sister and I have it in spades).

I’m still on the hook for writing her obituary. But I can’t quite bring myself to tackle that one yet.

Some random media notes:

I’ve rented a string of dreadful movies lately. Werner Herzog’s “Rescue Dawn” was a welcome break from that last night. It’s a classic hero’s journey storyline. Well-written and I’ll watch about anything Christian Bale’s in. Unfortunately, the movie should have ended about 20 minutes earlier than it did, but other than that it was a good flick.

I’m also really enjoying Lionel Shriver’s latest novel, “The Post-Birthday World“. It’s a “Sliding Doors”-type of structure, with alternate chapters portraying how the main character’s life plays out under two scenarios: one in which she kisses a man, the other in which she doesn’t. Her work can be uneven — I thought “Game Control” fell apart as a story about halfway through, losing all momentum, for example or, in the case of “We Need to Talk About Kevin,” a good start ended up careening into histrionic melodrama. But she is a very skilled writer and she has a wonderful eye for absurd situations and the comedic potential presented by the tensions between siblings and their parents.

3 Responses

  1. Your niece has a crush the size of Montana on Christian Bale. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

    I love to read your blog. And now Laura, from a running blog I found through you, has left a running related comment on MY blog, and I feel just so full circly.

  2. I loved We Need to Talk About Kevin. Recommend it to people to this day, and I read it easily five eyars ago. I thought Post-Birthday World was great, but it felt like, especially towards the end, that she was ticking off a checklist to make sure everything matched up all nicey-nice. It made it feel a little cold to me, more like an experiment than an actual warm-blooded novel.

  3. Now that I’m in the last 70 or so page of Post-Birthday World, I’m inclined to agree. It’s beginning to feel almost clinical. Although I have to say the chapter in which Irina and Ramsey go to Brighton Beach for Christmas is worth the price of the book alone.

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