Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Unleashing the High Five

After eight miles this morning, my feet held up just fine (see "My Foot Goes Gangstah") until my sneakers burst into flame due to ridiculously high a.m. temperatures.

Running in the heat hasn't exactly been the highlight of this whole marathon training process, but it does have its advantages:
  • I'm prepared should the temperature near blistering on race day;
  • I sweat so much that my entire t-shirt turned a darker shade of grey instead of leaving a lighter streak in the exact shape of my sports bra; and
  • I finally got the high-five I've been trying to inspire someone to give me since my long runs clicked up into the double digits.
Today was an eight-mile medium length run, and I decided to circle by Deer Island. Normal people drive out there and walk the few miles around the tip of the penisula, but I've found that if I jog there, loop the thing, and jog back, it's about eight miles. As I neared the end of the Deer Island segment of my run, a jolly man stood near a bench arms akimbo, shaking his head.

"You're doing better than me," he yelled, laughing. "I had to stop, and I was just walking."

I smiled at him, waved, and kept running.

The man yelled after me: "You're doing good, kid! Keep it up!!"

I waved again, my legs in their crazy left-right-left-right trance, when it hit mefor months I've bemoaned the fact that the secret running society amounts to a wave of a couple of fingers as joggers pass by one another.

Totally lame.

It's my firm belief that runners should great each other with way more ruckus than that. I'm thinking grand hellos and secret handshakes, but I'd settle for a high five. In fact, I've spent the last several weeks raising my hand in clear high five position, a move that has only succeeeded in bringing me bigger waves. Not a single, satisfying slap.

After a few weeks of this, it occurred to me that to make my in-medias-run-high-five a reality, I was gonna have to get into some faces, wave my hand, and make them feel silly for ignoring me. Which meant I pretty much had to give up my quest because let's face facts: I'm not really a channelling-Robin-Williams kind of girl.

But here was this happy Santa personality not a hundred feet from me. If there ever was a now-or-never moment, this was it. Maybe it was the false bravado of Eminem in my ear budsYou better lose yourself in the music, the moment, you own it, you better never let it go go!but I turned around and jogged back.

"Hey," I yelled. "Could I get a high five?"

The guy laughed and got his hand ready. As I neared, my hand went up, both of our arms sailed through the air, and thenhere it comes!the smack to end all smacks! Believe me when I tell you that there has never been a more satisfying high five than that sweaty thunderclap I shared with a stranger this morning.

The lesson?

Sometimes you just gotta ask for what you want. And because I'm SUCH a quick study, I've already thrown my head back and yelled my request to Mother Nature:
"How about a cold front before my 20-mile run on Friday?"
Catherine Elcik is running her first marathon to raise money for a scholarship fund for Grub Street, Inc, an independent writing center in Boston, MA. Sponsor the run (and quite frankly, her second wind) at www.firstgiving.com/runforgrub.


  1. Here is a HIGH FIVE from a far... 4.5 was enough for me and it was 5:30 am... Kristin only went 3 in NYC....my 20 milers don't start for a while but, Sunday I will run 8 and pray for your 20 to be cooler!!!
    Love to read about my other marathon training sole mates Lisa