As I recall this, in the early 1990s, the Michigan football team played Iowa, at Iowa, and a sophomore running back named Jesse Johnson had a career day. In fact, his performance was a total surprise for that player, in that he was not a starter or a star, was a freshman or sophomore, and set a record, with something like 160 yards. He never had another memorable game after that one (I think he went pro and relatively undistinguished career). In the locker room, reporters learned his nickname was the "House Cat". Reporters asked him how he got the name, and he rather bravely mentioned...I am as big as House but I move like a cat, with cat like reflexes!. The seniors then said, no, come on, Jesse, tell the truth...and he sheepishly admitted that he didn't work out over the summer and came to school in the fall overweight and out of shape. The seniors told him that he had turned into a House Cat -- eating and laying around on the couch all summer.
Well, I started off 2013 with a race, the Joe Kleinerman 10K in Central Park. I am not in very good shape, running wise, or physically. I have had several injury issues and added some weight since last summer when I ran a 48:40 10k in Central Park (albeit in the opposite direction). I really had few expectations for this run, and wanted to do it, just to get back out there and do a race, any race. I thought maybe a 54:00 time with 9 minute miles? And then I remembered a 10k is 6.2 miles, so I thought, ok, maybe under 55:00? And Central Park is hilly. But really I just wanted to have a decent race.
To cut to the chase, I ended up 53:08, average pace of 8:40/mile. Not bad, all things considered. Yes, I stopped and walked a couple times (at top of Harlem Hill; at the hill in 90s on West Side). But came home pretty strong and felt, eh, ok. Not good, not strong, not like I was killing it, just ok. But I will take it given my relative lack of running and physical condition. I looked back and in 2009 at this race, I ran a 43:36 10k in this same race. But that was ages ago, and right after my marathon so I was in peak condition and weight. I always say, don't say "I used to..." say "I can..." I was happy to run my 53:08 on Saturday.
My next true goal race is the Marine Corps 17.75k (11.2 miles) on March 23. I kinda sortof will be training for it, hoping to set myself up for a decent longish run. That's the next goal, and it felt good to just be out there doing it this week. My first race in nearly a year, and not a terrible one either, so all things considered, a good day.
But, I couldn't help think about the House Cat. I had sorta of let myself become the House Cat. I felt as big as a House lumbering around out there, but wanted to think I was quick as a Cat. The truth is what the seniors told Jesse Johnson, I had just let myself go a little.
On a separate note, I have been absent awhile simply because the Newtown tragedy affected me deeply. It is simply incomprehensible, and heartbreaking. And, as the daughter of a 5 year old, I can't even imagine the pain. I was actually watching in my daughter's Christmas pageant (she was an angel) at the same time as the shooting. I just cannot fathom it all. My thoughts, prayers, and best wishes to everyone affected. I just couldn't write about running for awhile.