Notes From a Hired Pen

Week 6: The hard stuff, and a magazine appearance

Four miles, 42:28

Well, I’m here: the hard part of the schedule began this week. Differences now: instead of five days a week of running, I’m running six. Instead of all easy, slow runs, one day a week is dedicated to speedwork and the other to a tempo run (here, that means miles run at marathon pace). Last week’s mileage: 24. This week’s: 39.

I knew this was coming, but it’s still shocking both that the work leapt in required effort and that I can more or less handle it. Twelve 400 meter repeats was daunting on Tuesdsay until I got to the sixth; five miles at marathon pace, done the day after I drove for 14 hours, was almost too much to contemplate getting through but went fine once I got past the second mile. I don’t usually listen to music when I run outside, but the original soundtrack to the Back to the Future trilogies helped.

I really want to do well in this marathon, which has wiped away a lot of excuses that would keep me sidelined if I just wanted to finish, as I did with my last marathon (New York City, 2014). This also means that I’m trying to pay attention to the little things, like making sure I scheduled a sports massage next week to keep my hip in check, and going to Wegmans today to make sure I’m stocked up on healthy options so I won’t just run to Wawa for a sandwich (which right now I really want to do). I only need to keep it up until May, which in the grand scheme of things, isn’t that far away.

Anyway, in book news, this:




I knew this essay was coming out in SELF — obviously, since I wrote it, and did the very final revisions the first week of January. I hadn’t been able to find the March issue (which comes out in February) while on Jekyll Island since the one place I found that sold magazines leaned more towards the girls and guns end of the scale. I took the Cape May-Lewes Ferry to get me into New Jersey yesterday, which meant I also ran in Cape May yesterday. After a sandwich and stopping to see a few friends, I went to Tommy’s Folly at Congress Hall to get some coffee for my final drive home. One of the women working there was putting out March issues of magazines, and they had what I was looking for.

“I’m in it,” I said to explain why I was asking to see it. “Not my picture,” I quickly added. I was still in my running clothes: compression socks, black shorts, bright blue hoodie tossed on top, and a baseball hat to cover my frizzed out hair. I didn’t exactly look magazine photograph worthy, but they didn’t care, and when I finally saw my byline right there, I squeeeeeed, and they did too. The essay mentions Running: A Love Story at the end, so it’s a big publicity win for the book aside from the fact that I wrote such a story for a big publication (work note: they asked me without knowing I had a book coming out so score!) I remembered then that Congress Hall is in the book, so broke out my copy and read that section to them. I don’t think it’s a lunge to say I may be doing a book event there in the spring.

Fun fact: the runner on the far left is Erin Donohue. We both went to Haddonfield Memorial High School. She is an Olympic. I am….not.

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