1. I had been dreading this week for months because it was the hardest week of my marathon-training program. Then, because of the passage of time and my ongoing position in the same, it arrived. On Sunday, filled with as much dread (or possibly more) than I had anticipated, I jogged to a track about a mile from my house, which (the track, not my house) is on top of a sewage-treatment plant in Harlem. Here, in theory, I was going to run eight 800-meter (two-lap) intervals at a sub-3:00 minute pace (aka Yasso repeats), with a lap of recovery in between. This track, which is actually very nice, isn't pictured because I wasn't running with my camera; maybe another time! Instead, to distract you from the tedium of running, I've inserted pictures of Fort Tryon Park, which is miraculously in bloom and completely free of dread. 2. I ran the first interval and felt okay, except for the fact that I had seven more to do. I was annoyed at the people walking laps around the track who insisted on hugging the inner lane, a violation of track etiquette, which dictates that you walk or jog slowly in the middle or outer lanes to leave room for faster runners. I didn't say anything, though, because I didn't want to seem like a "white shithead" in a non-white neighborhood. Sometimes it's better to weave than to make a fuss. 3. I stayed quiet until the second lap of my seventh interval (how did I even get there), when a soccer player moved off the field and was juggling a ball in the inner lane as I turned the corner and was flying directly at him on the straightaway. Unable to bear it, I yelled "TRACK," which I had forgotten was what runners yell at people who are clogging the lanes. Sometimes your mind forgets and your mouth remembers, is what I learned. The word had the desired effect: the soccer player moved out of the way and, after finishing this lap, I made it through my eighth interval. Like most hard workouts, it felt pretty horrible and pretty good at the same time. 4. I had new things to worry about, namely the end of the week, when I was scheduled to run 10 miles at "pace" (or the speed at which you want to race your marathon, or somewhat faster), followed the next day by 20 miles, with the final five again at something close to pace. The idea is to train your legs to keep going even though you want to die. 5. I always do my pace runs on the treadmill (with an incline of 1.0), because I think it's a good way to increase your speed in a very measured fashion, as opposed to outdoors, where there are too many distractions, at least in the city, which mean that you have to speed up and slow down, which defeats the purpose of this kind of workout. 6. Long treadmill runs are painful for obvious reasons, but I always try to convince myself that it will be a good way to catch up on my podcasts. This week, for example, I finished "S-Town" (or "Shit Town"), which like millions of others I mostly enjoyed and definitely recommend. The short version is that it's a profile of a fifty-something year-old man who lives in a small town in Alabama, where he makes his living repairing very ornate clocks. He lives with his aging mother in an old house on a big piece of land, where he obsessively gardens and takes care of stray dogs and develops one-sided crushes on a series of local men who tend to be younger and poorer (and straighter) than him. The guy is a real "character" and in his southern drawl will go on and on about the evils of climate change and big corporations as well as the small-mindedness of some of his "shit town" neighbors. It's funny and sad; like I said, I 100-percent recommend listening to it. 7. Although the main guy doesn't exactly identify as "gay" or "queer," he's fairly open about being nonheterosexual, which makes him more interesting and, in some ways, tragic. The reporter who tells the story and conducts the interviews admirably tries to explore this dynamic by seeking out and interviewing some other men with whom the main guy had at least quasi-romantic relationships. To devote an entire seven-episode podcast to exploring the idiosyncratic life of one such man in a reasonably sensitive and not-too voyeuristic manner (although some have disagreed) is pretty amazing if you consider that gay people in our society/culture are as a rule marginalized and underrepresented in almost very venue (except for the fashion and real estate sections of the NYT). 8. My only (very small) complaint about this reporter is that he seemed very naive about what it means to be gay, like he just couldn't wrap his head around the idea that a man growing up in the seventies and eighties in a very small and very conservative town, despite being friendly and smart and very interesting, might have a hard time "finding love" or be afflicted with a serious amount of self-hatred, which may or may not account for some of his highly acerbic nature when we meet him. 9. There's also an assumption at work here -- and one shared by sooooooooo many straight people I've met -- which is that gay people, if given the chance, will want to act just like straight people. (Speaking in very general and probably stereotypical terms.) My point is that, if you're going to report on gay people (which: awesome), maybe try to be a little bit more aware of and sensitive to the history out of which people/cultures arise so that you can have a better understanding of why they maybe act/speak the way they do, even if it's different than the way you might think is ideal. It doesn't mean that parts of a life aren't tragic, but the reasons might be slightly different than what you assume them to be.10. The increasingly gay garden at least was benefiting from all the rain in ways that were not very tragic. 11. I made it through the treadmill workout. For my twenty-mile run, I was less worried about the distance than my fear that it was going to be cold, rainy, and windy for the entire run. All week I kept checking the weather. I knew I was doomed. 12. Friday morning I woke up at 5:30 and was relieved not to hear any rain; maybe, I thought, rushing around and confusing the cats, I would hit a rain-free window. 13. I was out the door at 5:50 and by 5:52 it started sprinkling. By 6:04 it was pouring, which is how it stayed for the next two-plus hours. Sometimes, no matter how much you dread something, it happens anyway. 14. On the plus side, my legs felt pretty good and I was able to pick up the pace for the last five miles, despite running through what felt like a "micro-hurricane" along the banks of the Hudson. It's an "interesting" sensation when your legs become numb with fatigue but they keep turning over. (The hope is that you can maintain this feeling without "hitting the wall," of course, or "bonking.") And then I was home, where I enjoyed the smell (and sight) of our hyacinths, which unlike certain other people, I didn't feel compelled to nibble. (Although I understand the impulse.)15. I thought about Hyacinthus, the mythological Greek killed by a discus redirected at him by Zephyrus (god of the western wind), who was angry that the young man had chosen his rival Apollo (god of many things, and father of Orpheus). The blood from the dying Hyacinthus ran into the ground and turned the flowers red. 16. Our hyacinths are white, though, which just goes to show that tragedy can sometimes be recorded and eclipsed.