Ithaca Turkey Trot–Anna and Kathy

25 Nov

Anna as high school athlete.

Anna and Gwynne after Cornell Plantation Trot

This morning I got up early (8:00 am) argh! and pulled on my jeans, sweater, and my father’s sweatshirt jacket, my usual running costume.  Then I drove down the hill to the high school and my niece,  Anna.

Anna walked into the high school cafeteria  looking beautiful and svelte with appropriate running clothes, next to nothing compared to what I was wearing, but then she is serious about this and would be going much faster and I am a mere dilettante.  While we stood waiting with the other runners, she gently advised that I not bring my bottled water and that I double-tie my sneakers.  She also gave me half a stick of gum, so that I wouldn’t get thirsty.  When I saw that her hair was in a ponytail, I quickly put mine in one.  She is the only one who responded positively when I mentioned living with one of my nieces in my old age, so I guess I better watch my Ps and Qs and take her as a role model.

The back story on Anna is that she ran successfully in high school with an inhaler.  We have a pesky little problem with exercise-induced asthma in our family, which I believe comes to us through the Pelton line.  My Grandfather Mapes had the full-blown kind, but then he was a Marlboro smoker.  My brother Barth and I have the same genetic tendency (not the smoking).

When she applied to Harvard, track was on her application, but she was not recruited.  However, when she tried out, her running time was equal to that of another young woman, but  it was the other contender who made it on the team.  My mother figured the other woman had been recruited, but I thought it was unfair.  Still, Anna has not let this setback stop her running, and has continued to run around Cambridge.

A month ago she participated in a half-marathon in Lowell, Mass. and had a time of 1 hour, 38 minutes.  She had the best time in her age class.

My back story is that over ten years ago, I lost thirty pounds running down to Minnehaha Crick in South Mpls. and walking back.  Before that, when Byron was still alive, I sometimes inadvertently ran and fell on the ice because I could not control him, but that is another story.  I have never given up the notion that running burns extra calories better than other kinds of exercise.

The course, which I did not know, included some hills, and I didn’t have the map, so I was at a disadvantage from the beginning.  In addition, after half a mile I had to stop and walk awhile because my asthma kicked in and I started to wheeze.  Of course, I had no idea what Anna was doing, since she was probably at the front of the pack.  With the other stragglers, I climbed up a wet leaf-covered hill (shades of a local Ithaca resident, Mary Hartshorne, who died many years ago after slipping on wet leaves on the edge of a cliff and falling into a gorge.)  Thank heavens one of the stragglers came back for me when I was halfway up the hall at an awkward spot.  He pulled me up about four feet and then I continued alone to the top where I found a guard rail.  First, I tried stepping over it.  That didn’t work, so I looked around, saw no one and got on the ground and crawled under it.

Then I started to run and this time it was much easier.  This is what happens to me at Cornell Plantations and no one has yet been able to explain it to me.  My lungs don’t bother me as much the second time I run.  At about this point, I usually have a problem with my shoelaces, but , thanks to Anna, that did not happen. I caught up with the stragglers, but they had no idea where they were going and we headed  back down the hill.  I ended up next to a chubby little boy with floppy hair who explained that as it turned out he was not in very good shape.  I didn’t tell him that I already knew that, because he was walking next to me.

When I arrived back at the high school, I reconnoitered with Anna and found her time was 41 minutes, not a personal best but respectable.  This is a good time for 5.5 miles.   I didn’t find out my time, because I came back the wrong way. My relatives told me that I did fine and there were hugs all around, including from Gwynne, the other niece who is a runner. Someone who wanted to talk about a near suicide with my sister-in-law, Rhonda, waved me off as I continued to complain abut getting lost.  Before leaving, I found a map on the door and saw that I ran-walked 2 and 3/4 miles.  Not bad and the run organizers received a can of soup from me.  And Anna thanked me for coming with her.

2 Responses to “Ithaca Turkey Trot–Anna and Kathy”

  1. Vickey A. Beaver December 4, 2011 at 2:10 am #

    I especially like the comment about you and Barth sharing the same genetic tendency and the clarification about it not being the smoking. I found the comment about Anna not fleeing from the idea of you one day needing to live with your niece amusing.


  2. I’m glad you liked it. In the group there was a split between Doug and Jeff, on the one hand, and Claire, on the other. Ben didn’t say much. The guys thought it wandered off course, including in the first place you mentioned. Ben didn’t say much. To each his or her own. I often make changes after the group meets, but didn’t this time.

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