2021 NYC Marathon Training: Week 7

Overall, week 7 of marathon training had a nice upward trajectory: iffy at the start, with me questioning my ability to run not only this marathon but at all, ever again; ending much better, with me only questioning other mysteries of life (what am I doing? why am I here? is time travel possible yet because I’d love a second chance at some stuff?).

As a reminder, I quickly aborted a run the Sunday of week 6 due to pain in my right heel.

I continued foam rolling every day, hip and glute exercises, upper body strength training, standing at my desk, and walking.

By Wednesday evening, my brain was about to explode, so I decided to test out the ol’ foot on an after-dinner walk/run. Just 30 minutes. I didn’t record it on my watch, just walked and ran (jogged) as my body felt like, and it went okay? I felt stiff but got through it.

Friday morning I ran 2 miles, keeping it super slow (average 11:20 pace) and it went fine. Again, stiff but nothing seemed any worse after.

Sunday I decided to go for broke: 6 miles. I ran the Central Park loop, slow and slightly stiff for the first 2 miles, loosening up in 3 and 4, and able to up my speed in 5 that I began to feel like my old self again.

The outer part of my right heel is still a tiny bit swollen (but not as bad as last week), and the top of the foot has felt stiff since June – but running slowly doesn’t seem to be making anything worse.

I think keeping it easy (9:30-10:00 pace) is key right now. No speed work for the time being. I need to build strength and focus on mileage. Honestly, fuck speed. I don’t care about it.

Me not caring about speed, or sweat

I am still planning on running this marathon, and I am still running it with my dad in mind, so here is more about him!

Last week I wrote about my dad’s maternal Italian side of the family. This week, I thought I’d write about his paternal German/Irish side of the family.

My grandfather died in 1988 at age 68, so I didn’t get to know him well. From what I recall, he was very quiet and very tall. My dad always talked about him as this imposing, emotionally distant figure. I also remember learning that his diet was unhealthy and that’s why he got sick and died, a fact that was not lost on me as a kid.

Through stories from my dad, photographs, and family tree research, I’ve learned quite a bit more about the man my sisters and I called Papa.

My 6’3″ grandfather with the ball

My grandfather was born Charles Schott III. (My father was Charles IV. I missed out being Charles V because of my originality-obsessed mom and I guess my gender.) At the start of WWII, my great grandfather Charles II changed the family name from Schott to Scott in an attempt to hide their German heritage. The entire family, including all 14 children, including my 20-year-old grandfather, followed suit.

Around that same time, Charles III’s sister introduced him to her co-worker at the Cascade Services Linen Company: a nice Italian girl named Josephine. Charles and “Jo,” as friends called her, fell in love, got married, and had two children they named Maureen and Charles.

My grandparents makin’ out

My grandfather served in the U.S. Navy and later worked for Sperry Rand, the same navigation manufacturing company that had employed his own father. He didn’t want my grandmother to work outside the home, but she was headstrong enough to insist that she did (and she did), and he was like “Okay.” So while he had traditional (and typical, for the time) ideas of what women should do, he was also smart enough to go along with whatever my grandmother wanted.

Similar to what I did last week, I thought I would include some of my dad’s own writing about what it was like growing up with his extended Scott family.

When I lived with my father, mother, and sister on Jefferson Avenue in Brooklyn, my sister and I visited on Sundays and holidays our grandparents down the street. Especially at Easter, Scott-cousins filled our grandparents’ lengthy “rail road” apartment.

One tradition was having the uncles and aunts pass around the grand dining room table a bowl of colored and decorated Easter eggs. However, a single, unknown, decorated egg, somewhere within the bowl, was a fresh egg. An experienced cousin examined the lot of eggs, took one, and at a signal given by an uncle, all of the cousins simultaneously cracked the selected egg on his or her own head. A towel was set on the table at the ready. It was hilarious fun. Some years a victimized cousin yelled with delight; other years there were tragic tears—both results hilarious to the kids.

The family tradition of coloring Easter eggs continued in my own family for a while. Mercifully, the hidden fresh egg tradition never continued.

My dad did duck face before anyone else

Christmas celebrations at my Scott grandparents were not focused on giving presents. Instead, cousins watched as my grandmother (my grandfather died when I was one year old) lighted the Yuletide candles on the live Christmas tree. They were lit for only a few minutes until they were extinguished.

However, at my own house my parents, sister, and I opened Christmas presents on Christmas morning. My parents bought lights for their live tree and decorated it with fragile glass ornaments and icicles made from lead—now recognized as a carcinogen. We carefully stored these icicles for the next Christmas.

New Year’s Eve was celebrated at our Scott grandparents’, too, and cousins would hang out of their three-story apartment at midnight to bang with kitchen spoons, pots, and pans. Some cousins had a traditional noisemaker that you wound in a circular motion or a paper horn that rolled outward from your mouth when you blew into it. If you were lucky, your horn rolled out to its limit to reveal a neon-colored red, yellow, or green feather as it sounded the note of a distressed goose. It was a wonderful time for us to be lawless.


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