Any journalist worth her weight in ink knows clichés have no place in quality prose, but there’s a reason these overused phrases have such staying power: they oftentimes ring true.
- Ever come on too strong and scared a would-be suitor away? Remember that absence makes the heart grow fonder.
- Felt let down after your plans fell through? Shouldn’t have counted your chickens before they hatched.
- Found yourself slimed by an unruly goldendoodle after sneaking up on her mid-slumber? Best to let sleeping dogs lie.
The one that most rings true for me is from Clichés 101: Time heals all wounds. I don’t think that’s necessarily the case for shark bites or gangrene — seriously, Civil War surfer, you should get that checked out — but it certainly carries weight when it comes to love and marathons.
Let’s start with love, shall we? Because everybody loves a lover, and love makes the world go round, and it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Why yes, I do still have the webpage of most common clichés open on my browser. What gave it away?
For anyone who’s ever been through heartbreak — and that’s everyone, in one form or another — you know that while the beginning of a crush or romance or relationship is full of promise, the end is downright ruthless. No matter how amicably something may conclude, there’s no way around the fact that break-ups are about as fun as wrestling a pack of bears.
Which, actually, sounds pretty adorable to me. Let’s rephrase. No matter how amicably something may conclude, there’s no way around the fact that break-ups are about as fun as cats.
How do I know, you ask? Because 2012, may it live in infamy, encompassed for me two break-ups in as many seasons. Also, because cats are no fun.
When those relationships came to an end, I did all the things I was supposed to do — I got sleep, saw friends, ate ShakeShack, worked out — but the real elixir, I found, was none other than time herself. Watching a special friend go through the very same thing this week, I know I can throw all the ice-cream and wine her way I want (food fight!) but that there’s no magic cure to heartbreak save for the inevitable passing of days.
Fortunately, days pass quickly in the city that never sleeps, and I know she’ll be on her feet again by the time our trees are bare.
Before she knows it, someone new and exceptional will be filling that void — inspiring her, grounding her, and smooching her sweaty post-marathon face — and the only thing between him and her is a little, silly thing called time. Trust me on that one: 2013 has been much kinder to me.
The tincture of time is also a powerful anecdote in another area near and dear to my heart – running. Physiologically, of course, it takes time after a marathon for your body to rebuild and recover, and these knees still haven’t forgiven me for putting them through 3:58.34 of agony a week ago today.
But more importantly, time is a crucial element psychologically when it comes to post-race recovery. The evening following my marathon, I called my sister to give her the play by play and asked her to remind me that I never, ever wanted to run another marathon again. No way, no how. I was through.
Three days later as the aches subsided, I told a colleague I was looking forward to taking off the 2014 marathon season and enjoying a real honest to god summer but might consider racing again in 2015.
Today, a friend asked if I was doing the New York Road Runner’s 9+1 again to secure guaranteed entry to next year’s New York City marathon, and the question gave me pause. The program, which lets local runners race nine city events and volunteer at one in a calendar year to gain guaranteed entry into the next year’s marathon, is how I secured my spot in this year’s race. I’ve only done seven races — I told her –– and I don’t think I have time to get in two more and a volunteer session before year-end.
But maybe I shouldn’t rule it out just yet.
And just like that, I’m starting to think about the New York City marathon again.
Olympic champion Frank Shorter once said: “You’re not ready to run another marathon until you’ve forgotten the last one.”
Turns out my short-term memory lasts one week exactly.
How is time on your side these days?