Week 14 was kind of exciting because this is the week we received our NYC Marathon confirmation forms containing our bib numbers, and wave and corral assignments.
This year’s race will have five waves instead of the usual four, I believe in an attempt to spread runners out due to the pandemic. Of course, now that many international runners won’t be coming due to the travel ban being lifted on November 8 – one day after the race – there will likely be more room than originally intended.
Anyway, I’ve skipped over the most exciting part: for the first time, I will be starting in the Local Competitive Corral in wave 1.
In my previous two NYCMs, I started in wave 2 and my bib number was five digits long. The fact that this year it’s three just blows my mind. Local Competitive has been a goal of mine; I just wasn’t expecting it to happen this year.
For anyone interested, here’s the quick story of how it happened.
Local club runners can gain entry into this corral by running certain times in full or half marathons, based on their gender and age groups. Mine requires a 3:38 marathon. My fastest, from NJ in 2019, is 3:48. Ten minutes too slow. So I wasn’t going to bother applying. However, word through the NYC running club grapevine was that you could still apply even if you were slightly outside the requirements – they have a quota of 400 runners, and if they don’t meet the quota, you might get in.
I got in.
This is how I feel about that (in a shirt [for once!] since it wasn’t so humid):
That photo was taken after my Sunday long run, a relaxed 14 miles followed by 4 miles at about my goal marathon pace of 8:45. This, and the rest of my running week, went well. I’m feeling good lately.
This will be my last in the “China” series, in which I post excerpts from my dad’s old blog about his 1999-2000 trip to Chengdu, where he spent a year teaching English. I’ll also post a few photos he took on the trip.
There are about 80 million Chinese online now, and the number of new subscribers doubles every six months. It’s impossible here in Chengdu to get online in the evening hours, so I’m usually online at 7:15 a.m., or before lunchtime. [With 1.2 billion Chinese, imagine how the worldwide web will get slowed once these surfers go online – and they will, Communist Party or no. This is one revolution that will not be aborted. The PC is the stealth weapon of the west. Beijing knows it.]
Daily life here is a struggle for some Chinese, and it’s weary to watch it. The crowds, poverty, lack of services, and the language are stressful at times. My apartment can be an oasis – with heat and a/c – even though it’s a three-story walkup. I know an Italian businessman here from Milan who has a seven-story walkup. He eats out a lot, as do I, because it’s rough schlepping up those groceries. Nonetheless, you can see Mercedes around town, so there are pockets of wealth. And elevators.
Last week I went to an aquarium that had the healthiest fish, clams, and shrimp I have ever seen. The place, seating 2,100, has a battalion of red-jacketed waiters because it’s the largest seafood restaurant in Chengdu. There’s a collection of tanks in the center of the dining hall – the length of a car dealership two blocks long. The ground floor waist-high aquariums have double paned inch thick glass. Seams are steel reinforced and caulked with silicone on the outside. Moving up a center stairwell, the diner walks along the other crystal clear, green aquariums, housing a myriad of aquatic life.
The salt-water tanks contain the entrees, which could also easily hold a Brownie troop for a pool party. A circus of shellfish scuttles across the floor of one of the tanks: lobster, crayfish, and horseshoe crab each jockeying for a lane. I know, who would eat horseshoe crabs, but apparently somebody does. There are cages of four-foot long crocodiles and gelatin-coated toads, scores of loden green turtles the size of baseball caps, slithering black eels, and brown and white speckled crawly things I’ve seen nowhere else with antennae that listen at the glass. Covering half of the width of the place is a tank for dolphins, which was empty. I had to keep reminding myself that this was not a zoo: diners, including me, were going to eat these things. But I do draw the line at dolphins and crocks – and toads, and perhaps horseshoe crabs, and… I did have shrimp.
As I round a corner, Roger, with his wife Jiao Jiao who are eating dinner with me, trips over one of the lime green plastic hoses supplying salt water to the shark tank. Water from the disconnected, flailing, rogue hose begins spraying us. We get a soaking as one of the workers, laughing, re-connects the sharks’ umbilical cord. They continue to swim impassively.
Before arriving at the restaurant, I swam in an Olympic size swimming pool, which was designed for Chairman Mao, but, alas, Mao Tse-tung died before he could use it. Pity. The place is on a military reservation, with small groups of camouflaged-uniformed troops snapping their heels as they turn the corners on the walkways. I wondered, later, had I been in an aquarium there? With Mao looking down at me?
It was a typical week in Chengdu.