Friday, October 05, 2007

The aspirational sub-2:00 club

Nico Muhly at the Guardian on why fusion's a bad word:
If you are born in Pakistan and move to England and are involved in the daily business of feeding your family, is that food inherently "fusion cuisine?" In the interchange between contemporary classical musicians and rock musicians, there is a lot of name-calling of this sort when, in reality, there is no crossing over: if I call my friend in France and we communicate in English and French combined, it's because we want to talk to each other, not because we want to make a point about the way we just communicated.
Some interesting points there about notated and non-notated music, I am finding myself with an ongoing minor obsession with questions of notation...

Nico's got a concert tonight in the Wordless Music series. I had fully intended to go, only I think the requirements of mental health and tomorrow morning's race mean that I should stay at home and have a quiet evening swim instead. It's the evocatively named Grete's Great Gallop half-marathon in Central Park tomorrow morning, and I am quite looking forward to it (this is the important thing!) only with reservations about my time goals.

(The race is named for Norwegian marathoner Grete Waitz--usually I am a skeptic on lotteries and raffles, the prizes are inherently so undesirable, but this time I really did bother to fill out the entry form for a prize that would be entrance and hotel and airfare for the Oslo marathon, doesn't that sound magical?!?)

On the one hand, I desperately want to go sub-2:00! I've done quite a few additional long runs since the Nike half-marathon in early August (my time there was seven seconds over two hours)--there were a couple weekends where I only did a short one for one reason or another, but I see from my log that I did 6 miles, 8 miles, 10 miles, 12 miles on successive Saturdays in August and early September, and then 10 on 9/15 and 12 on 9/22. My mid-week runs were slightly inconsistent due to life factors beyond my control, but I stepped up the swimming and my swimming conditioning has certainly improved, and I've been steady on the gym workouts etc. I don't think I've lost running fitness or speed, in other words, and my endurance for long runs should be slightly better.

On the other hand, my hope of improving my time was mainly contingent on temperature--the course for this one is significantly hillier (twice as hilly, really--the last one was one park loop plus 7 very flat miles through the city, whereas this is twice round in the hilly park plus a bit extra, so much harder work), and I was hoping that a nice mid-50s temperature would make it possible for me to do much better. But the weather here's been horribly in the 80s this week, and tomorrow's forecast and 9am start time means that quite a bit of my race will be in the upper 70s.

So: if I feel good in the morning, I'm going to try again for 1:58 (9:00 pace). I'm more likely to hit exactly the same time I had before, or even a little slower: say 9:10 mile pace. (I'm pretty sure that barring unforeseen calamity or pacing disaster, I won't go slower than 9:20, so let's say 2:02 as outside time. 1:58 optimistic, 2:00 realistic, 2:02 non-ideal. And of course really anything can happen on the day, I must not get too het up about it!)

If I go sub-2:00, great. If not, I've got one more chance at sub-2:00 in 2007. I'm doing a half-marathon in Philadelphia the week before Thanksgiving--I've been thinking of it as a fun run with family members, at whatever speed we're comfortable with as a group, and I'd prefer to run it that way if possible. But if I don't make my time goal now, I will alter plans slightly and race that one rather than simply running it. It's an extremely flat course, and it's hard to imagine hot temperatures in late November in Philadelphia. (I don't mind rain and cold nearly so much.) So that gives me an excellent shot at meeting my goal.


  1. Best of luck with your run--enjoy yourself.

    The Chicago Marathon is this weekend, and it's going to be nearly 90 degrees Sunday. I'm glad I'm not running it--my race is a couple weeks away, in Indianapolis. Instead, I'll be out on my last 20-mile run, but I'll get to start really early and should be home long before the real heat shows up. It's going to be a tough, tough race day for a lot of people.

  2. Sub 2:00 will come. No question. If the conditions don't warrant tomorrow, it won't be disasterous. What would be close to disasterous would be not having an absolute blast.

    So "Go Jenny!", and have a great time out there!

  3. Whenever I hear the word "fusion" out of context, the first thing I always think of is the post-"Bitches Brew" kind of "jazz-rock"--basically, instrumental music, played by "jazz" musicians, for listeners who hate jazz-- the record companies tried marketing in the '70s. Consequently, I have no choice to agree that it is indeed a very bad word.

  4. Best wishes for a great event!