Many, many thanks to everyone for the kind notes and condolences for my sister and her family. They are muddling through the best they can, and the love of others sure makes a big difference.
It was actually very nice to have work as a distraction. So I am drawing the curtain across the lingering grief, and running forward.
Well, shuffling forward.
I flew to Boston late last week to be one of the dinner speakers at the New England Children’s Bookseller Advisory Council (as part of the New England Independent Bookseller’s Association conference). I had a lot of fun giving the speech, but the best part for me was listening to my co-presenters, Jeanne Birdsall and Norton Juster. I was thrilled to meet PW ShelfTalker blogger and Wellesley Booksmith buyer Alison Morris, and reconnected with Elizabeth Bluemle of The Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, VT. (Thank you for the wonderful introduction, Elizabeth!)
That is Jeanne, me with the goofy grin, and Rebecca from Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, MA (where I’ll be speaking on November 7th). I am wearing an IndieBound shirt. You would look good in one, too.
After a busy Boston day, I flew to my adopted hometown, Philadelphia. Can I just say again for the record how much I love this city? Got off the plane, walked through the terminal, hopped a SEPTA train and was in Center City in a flash. BH drove down from the tundra and met me there.
We visited the National Constitution Center (which you must visit).
I hung out with my homeboy, George.
While BH mingled with the Signers of the Constitution, looking ponderous and grave.
Afterwards I partook of a Philly sacramental meal.
And, thus refreshed, we pushed on to the African American Museum in Philadelphia. You should REALLY see this one, too! I wasn’t allowed to take any photos, but we were fascinated by the exhibit on Alpha Kappa Alpha, and blown away by several levels of art and history about the Afro-Mexican experience.
After a good night’s sleep, we woke bright and early for the Philadelphia Distance Run, 13.1 miles (aka a half-marathon). The weather was gorgeous and everyone was friendly and enthusiastic. We ran with more than 16,000 other crazy people. Most of them were faster than us, but they were very sweet about it.
The course took us into Center City, past Independence National Hall (yes, I blew kisses and muttered the opening words of the Declaration as we passed by), then out the west side of the Schuylkill River, over a bridge, and down Kelly Drive on the east side of the river to the Art Museum. Most inspiring to me were the bands along the route, particularly those who played the Eagles’ fight song. There were plenty of water stops (plus Cytomax, which is my new favorite fluid because it did not upset my tummy) and one gel station. And port-a-potties! Yes!
As BH and I overtrained for the Lake Placid half-marathon in June, it makes perfect sense that we undertrained for this one. We were saved from humiliation by an incredibly flat and forgiving course. We made the finish line in a respectable time and, most importantly, really enjoyed the run. Our feet may have shuffled, but our spirits soared.
Here is BH and me at the end of the race with our bling (finisher’s medals) around our necks.
After a long hot shower and a nap, we hobbled to an Italian restaurant known for serving large portions.
BH consumed most of a vat of ziti.
I ordered a piece of lasagna as big as my head and almost ate the whole thing.
Now that we overtrained for one race and undertrained for another, we are looking for a third half-marathon for which our training will be just right. Can anyone recommend a race in February 2009?
I’m in Philly for a few days of research, then headed back to the north country to tuck all of this research into the proper chapters of my new book. Wish me luck in the archives!