Sunday, August 05, 2007

In Which "Shaft" Once Again Saves the Day

So I had a pretty good run in this morning's New York City Half-Marathon: one beautiful loop of Central Park -- a 10K -- in an hour flat; a thrilling lope through the canyons of Seventh Avenue and Times Square, people cheering from the sidewalks, the roads car-free and mine; a hard right down 42nd Street, taxis still streaming by on the other side of the barrier; and a long slog down the West Side Highway, four miles of bare concrete and ravelling will. I didn't train as well for this half-marathon as I did for the one last October -- I skipped a lot of the cross-training, and my longest training run was just 10.5 miles -- so by the 10th mile, I was starting to bargain with myself: "At 11 miles you can walk for a minute . . . You don't need water now, just keep going . . ." I made it through the 11th mile without walking (deals with myself are designed to be broken), but as the 12th mile marker approached, my right leg aching and my running playlist nearly complete, I was seriously contemplating giving up my goal of beating 2:09:26, my record from last year, and switching to a nice, limping stroll.

And then -- and then -- Shaft saved the day. Or more precisely, Isaac Hayes's "Theme from 'Shaft'" saved the day: tissahissa tissahissa tissahissa tissahissa tissahissa tissahissa tissahissa tissahissa tissahissa CHA bim bim bewbimawackakakuh bim bim . . . As the beat sizzled on, I started to smile, then grinned outright; for what would Shaft say if he knew I was thinking about quitting? I would lose my hard-won badass status from last year, and be a bad mother(shutting my mouth) -- and not in the good way. I picked up the pace, listened to the theme twice in that last mile and a tenth, and finished at 2:09:04, a solid 22 seconds off my previous record. (My pace also improved by exactly one second -- a 9:51 mile on average -- which means that if I do a half-marathon a year with this same improvement, I'll hit the female winner's pace of 5:23 in 2274.) So I extend my thanks to Mr. Hayes and Mr. Roundtree for their inspiration and excellent style . . . and I'm going to listen to that song one more time.


  1. Congratulations! We should run together one of these races.

  2. Congratulations! 2274 will be here before we know it.

  3. What a fun run. Lots of interesting things to look at. Not like the runs here in the Midwest. I bet they had good freebies and food afterward, too.

  4. Congratulations on preserving your bad-assitude!

    I recently discovered The Best Running Music Ever: Two Shoes, by an Australian band called The Cat Empire. If Sly comes on your iPod and it doesn't make you smile, you are in some kind of hurt.