Life, and a little running

Not much posting of late as I’m playing host to my sister and niece as they tour some NYC area colleges for said niece to attend in about a year and half. It seems like just yesterday that my sister was visiting me while five months pregnant with Annie. Gads, how did I get so old so quickly?

I skipped the Barnard walkthrough yesterday in favor of a 12 miler, some shopping and a few hours of work. But today I went in with them to tour NYU. I went to NYU for my grad degree in the mid-nineties and it was interesting to see how differently they market to teenagers vs. adults. Teens (and parents) get an emphasis on safety, social/club opportunities, studying overseas and the ubiquity of free food. Graduate school prospects (at least in my dept.) were sold on professional networking, potential for good incomes and more professional networking. Snacks were never mentioned.

The rest of the day was spent at a display of gothic fashion at the Fashion Institute of Technology (which was a great show, actually; I have a new appreciation for haute couture). Then a trip to TKTS to get them tickets to a show and then a stop at one of my all-time favorite places in the world (after the Swiss Alps), the Oyster Bar in Grand Central, where we ate very expensive oysters and I had the rare martini.

Tomorrow I’ll tag along on a tour of Sarah Lawrence, which is just down the road from us. Then the academic vetting is behind us and we can go have some more fun. Fortunately, my sister and niece share my morbid genes, so we have not one but two graveyard visits on the agenda (the Hartsdale Canine Cemetery AND Woodlawn!), as well as some more typical touristy stuff, like Ellis Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, et al.

Since this is a running blog, here’s the relevant running portion of this post: I ran around 48 miles last week, including two easy runs of nine miles (8:45ish pace) and a delightful 11 miler on Sunday that started slow and ended at an 8:00 pace). Not exactly hard running, true, but enough to feel like an effort. I expect I’ll have around the same mileage this week. My legs feel good and I’m looking forward to gearing up for the next training cycle as well as doing some winter racing.

In other notes, I’m always reading a running-related book. On Ewen‘s recommendation, I picked up an out of print copy of “Guide to Running” by Grete Waitz and Gloria Averbuch. This book is utterly charming. It’s a combination of memoir, training guide, cultural criticism and “lifestyle” guide (which has the effect of making me wish I lived in Norway, at least circa 1980). There are even recipes for making Norwegian snacks (although you’ll need to find gjestost).

English is not Waitz’s native language, obviously, but that’s part of what makes her writing voice so appealing. She is also remarkably frank when talking about what it was like to be thrown into world-stage competition as a teenager, the pressure to medal “for country,” and her discomfort with fame. As an added treat, you can pick up lots of great little Norwegian sayings (“It’s so secret; it’s no secret” and “Hurry slowly”). Maybe it’s having a distant Norwegian heritage that makes me slightly biased, but this is a great little read.

3 Responses

  1. As a tour guide in college, I thought it was funny how we were unofficially encouraged to tell the kids how great the party atmosphere was, and tell the parents about how packed the library is on a Saturday night :)

  2. You and Jonathan’s charming turns as hosts have been the highlights of the trip, and that’s saying something! Thanks for everything, and for so nicely summing up the NYU experience from the adults’ eyes.

  3. I’m glad you were able to find a copy. Her take on American culture *was* interesting. Also her naivete for that first marathon – having only run 12 miles and asking “Mr Lebow” where to start!

    Free food would have been a great selling point for a college had you been a runner in the 90s.

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