Congratulations to Greg D and Katie G for correctly identifying the title quote from "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Your prizes are in the mail once Fleet Feet reopens from their recent bout with water damage.
This poem is one of my all-time favorites, and I'm resisting the temptation to launch into a protracted discussion on the merits of this epic piece, metaphorical and otherwise . I'll abstain though, knowing that most of you were way over this type of business back in the 10th grade when you (were supposed to) read said poem.
You'll have to humor me a little here, however, as I reference "Rime" and discuss my current albatross: the heat. It could be so many things, and for each of you it's something different and reflective of where you are in your life--for Chris it's the fact that he's a Tarheel graduate and a rabid Duke fan, and for so many of you it's more serious--an illness, a regret, grief, anger-whatever it is that hangs around your neck and just won't let go. I have any number of albatrosses on any given day, but as this is a blog where the writing spirals out from running, I'm sticking with heat. It's August and I'm done with it.
Last weekend I ran 14 miles, my longest distance to date. I was at Isle of Palms with some good friends from college, one of which has run the New York marathon and has lived in Manhattan off and on for the past 12 years. She was our tour guide when Jay ran it in 2008 and I can't wait to see her again in a few short months for marathon day, a special day for her for many reasons. One friend is pregnant and due shortly with girl #2 and has temporarily put up her running shoes, one friend just started running again but is mainly chasing her two daughters, ages 3 and 1, around, and the other friend is the kind of friend who'll get up at 7:30 while on vacation to come meet you for the last 5 miles of your long run.
She was reluctant, I know; she dreamed twice that I left her a note saying I'd decided to bag it, and so real were these dreams that she actually got up and came back to my bedroom to check and see if I was still in bed, hoping for all hopes that I was. I wasn't.
Despite the 90 degree heat, lack of breeze and 100% humidity, she came anyway. And here's the kicker-we met at the base of the Cooper River Bridge and started running uphill straightaway. Many of you have at least driven this bridge, so you know that the first mile is brutal. You're rewarded with lovely views(that give me vertigo, sadly) and a nice 1.5 mile descent on the other side...unless you decide to turn around and run back up and over it, which we did.
I've mentioned before that running partners are a vital, integral part of running. I know some people like to run alone, and I certainly don't mind it. But at mile 9 I was "Alone, alone, all, all alone," and looking forward to some company, so having a partner that showed up and stayed positive, that told funny stories about her dating life when all I wanted to do was lie down in the road and loll about, well, there was nothing quite so necessary and refreshing at that stage in the game. With my friend there "The Albatross fell off, and sank/ Like lead into the sea." To say I totally forgot about the heat would be stretching it, but her presence took my mind off the pain and the scorching temperature and saturating humidity; it made all the difference. So thank you, friend, for going the distance and being there in so many ways.
On another note, my apologies for the lag in posts. We've been getting this guy ready for kindergarten this week with his first official day this past Friday, so I've been a little preoccupied. More on that later!