One Race Down, One To Go.
I’m perfectly happy that my first run at any kind of public office turned out to be uncontested. It meant that I didn’t have to spend the last month putting off my own work to drive round a 300 square mile school campaigning like a madman, raising funds, organizing a full-on advertising/promo blitz like we did last year (when the very survival of our elementary schools was at stake), and arguing in debates and via the press with the “opposition.” I was able, instead, to spend my time “canvassing,” i.e. introducing myself to members of the community, explain to them why I was running for a seat on the Onteora Central School District board, and then listen to what they had to say about their district. I heard an incredible variety of opinions, as you might expect from a large school district that incorporates four different towns – each of which, to some extent, has its own character – but for the most part I got the sense that people really care about their community, appreciate that they live in a unique corner of the world, and want to do good by our schools, as long as they can still afford to live here after they’ve paid their school taxes. That’s cool: I feel that way myself.
Anyway, the vote went off Tuesday without a hitch. Turnout was low, as we expected in an uncontested election, but it was still around 15%, three times higher than the State average for School District elections. (Even with turnout down by half, our district is still the only one in Ulster County to get more people voting than there are students in the schools.) All three of us candidates mustered over 1000 votes (my running partner, Laurie Osmond and myself were only 20 votes apart) and our school budget passed, as did two additional propositions. So we all came away happy, I think. I will be sworn in to my three-year term June 30/July 1. Given that the other two elected candidates are already on the board, I’ll be the only new face come July, and so I’m hoping the transition will be smooth. I know in advance that the job itself won’t always be so easy but that, again, only reinforces why I was happy to run in such uncontentious circumstances.
Another good reason to be glad about such a quiet run for office is that I have a second race this week: the Run Vermont Marathon in Burlington, this Sunday May 24. This will be the first time I’ve gone anywhere, on my own, for an overnight trip, purely to put myself through my paces. And I’m missing a ton of great Memorial Weekend activities and parties in the Woodstock/Phoenicia area. Still, I am absolutely determined this year to qualify for Boston, the elite runners marathon, and Burlington presents the best and closest opportunity all spring. Several other members of the Onteora Runners Club are also taking the 225 mile journey north to this lovely lake-side city, and who knows, I may, literally, run into them over the course of our 26.2 mile race. Burlington is a great place, and I’d love to see some of it on Saturday night, but the most I’m considering (other than a healthy meal) is walking the few hundred yards from my Best Western hotel room to the Higher Ground club, to see the Dirty Dozen Brass Band (shame it’s not the English Beat, who will be at the venue on Tuesday). Otherwise I’ll just be tucking into my motel bed nice and early, with one of the 17 books I’m currently reading on a continual relay pattern, hoping to get a few hours solid sleep before the 8am start.
As it turns out, I’m “missing” the crucial Hull City-Manchester United game (crucial for Hull only, of course), which is being shown live on Fox Soccer Channel Sunday morning. I’m assuming there will be a lack of football fans in Burlington and that I’ll be able to get back on Monday and watch the game without knowing the score. I’ll need to avoid the Internet for a while to pull this one off, so don’t be surprised if you don’t see me back in the iJamming! Pub until Tuesday. I do, however, fully intend to be in some sort of pub on Sunday night; apparently the Best Western’s bar serves several microbrews, so even if I’m crippled by the race, I’m sure I will still be able to crawl to the bar.
For the two or three of you who are interested, I need a 3hr:30min time to qualify for Boston. I actually ran a 3:28 the last time I did one of these marathon thingies, in Albany in October 2005, but I was younger then, and needed 3:20 to qualify. So you see, there are benefits to turning 45 – quite apart from finally giving yourself permission to get a spindle tattooed on your arm. As ever, as always, as any marathon runner will surely sympathize, I’m concerned that I over-trained these recent weeks: I ran a 4hr marathon round the neighborhood just over two weeks ago, and competed in two local races over the following seven days. I have a last minute massage booked for Friday afternoon to ease up the tight muscles on my right leg. I don’t blame the running for these pains as much as getting on the bike last week, hoping to give my legs a break; the only real break it entailed was of the cardinal rule for tapering – “don’t try anything new.” It’s amazing how easy it is to forget that one.
So, a couple more early nights after a whole week of them. (I cried off early from the post-election celebrations after a single seltzer, party pooper that I’ve become.) A bright early start on Sunday… and then 26.2 miles at a second or two under an 8 minute pace. As that little engine said on his way up the hill, I think I can….