Men do it so well, the way they spout off the statistics, records, jersey numbers and championship years of their favorite athletes in their favorite sports. For a brief window of time, I could rattle off the most recent good news or failures of the New York Mets. My first years as an office girl were defined by high heels, the Long Island Rail Road, lots of cocktails in dive bars, and baseball. It was one of the things that caught Husband–he escorted me home one day on the train and when he saw that the Baseball Weekly in the mailbox was mine (not my dad’s–I still lived at home, paying down the credit cards after a few months of debauchery in Italy), he was hooked. I knew all the players, their positions, and kept score when I’d go to see them at Shea. We sat in the upper decks right behind home plate, every nuance of the game within sight for $15 plus beer. I kept score, knew by heart the sequence for a double play (6-4-3). I’ll never forget when they beat the Reds in a one-game playoff for the wild card in 1999. TV-less, I listened to the game on the radio, and jumped up and down, hooted and hollered and hugged Boyfriend (who would become Husband) in my studio apartment on the other side of Queens Blvd (by that point I’d paid off the credit cards). Now though, I never read the sports page, and while I am glad when my team is victorious, it’s a tangential joy unseasoned by an investment of time or attention.
But what does a runner remember about their sport? We remember our PR’s, our most recent races and workouts, our injuries and our goals. Some of us remember races as spectators–I have visceral memories of the Men’s and Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials–and the World and American Records of certain distances, but most of us cling to our years of pounding the pavement through a journal–handwritten or online–tabulating our daily workouts. I started logging my miles when I was training for my first marathon, in 2007, which means that the bulk of my running years (2001-2007) has gone unrecorded. Some memories persist from that time (mainly of the oh-my-god-this-is-so-fucking-hard type), but most of my workouts are a blur, smudged into one another because of similar weather, choice of outfits, effort and location. If I truly want to snatch a run out of the air and put it in a bottle, I’ve got to put it here, on this blog. Races, those I tend to remember anyway. But my hundredth time around the Sunnyside Loop? What will ever set that apart? Perhaps it’s a westerly breeze, the moldy smell of Spring in the air, or an unshakeable sense of melancholy. My log notes don’t capture that, so I use this meandering, nostalgic, opinionated and breathy beast of a blog to pin the rest of it down. Running is my modern dance, my postexpressionist painting, my memoir. My legs pound out my life’s story, my blog provides the transcription.
Where were you a year ago today? What did that run say to the world about your life? What did it say to you about your life?
Some other favorite passages from my memoir in motion: