byJake?

Tuck

InTheLoveAffairsofNathanielP。

byAdelleWaldman,themaincharacter,aspecificallychauvinisticBrooklynitewithabookdeal,goesforarunaroundtheProspectParklooptwoblocksfrommyapartment。

Ittakeshim27:22torun3。

41miles。

Asseemstobethestandardreactiontothisbook,itputmeinanunexpectedcriticalmode:IwantedtobeatNateinafootrace。

Ataleofthe?

tape:

Height:Nate:under6’(I’mguessing);Jake:6’2”(roundingup)

Weight:Nate?

buthehasapaunch;Jake:165,paunchless

Reach:Nate?

Jake:about5。

5iPhones(notapemeasure/ruleravailable)

Ontologicalstatus:Nate:fictional;Jake:real(roundingup)

Neighborhood:Nate:ProspectHeights;Jake:ParkSlope(southern)

AlmaMater:Nate:Harvard(hementionsitalot);Jake:Cornell(probablyNate’ssafety?

school)

Relevantmedicalhistory:Nate:rupturedAchilles;Jake:allergictomostthingsin?

air

Shoes:Nate?

Jake:NewBalance880V3inMcDonald’scolors

Music:Nate:none(doesn’tlikemusic);Jake:Spotifyplayliston?

iPhone

ThenightbeforeNate’srun(akaourrace),hisgirlfriend,Hannah,whoisstartingtoborehim,cooksthetwoofthemanicedinnerofpastaandclams。

Natenoticesthatsomeoftheclamsdon’topen。

IthinkthisislikehowNate’sheartcan’topen。

Thatnight,theonlythingthatappealstohimaboutHannah,awomanhesupposedlyfeelsgreattendernesstoward,ishowherbuttlookswhenshereachesuptoputabottleofwineontopofthefridge。

EvenifIdon’twinthisrace,I’mgoingtocookmyselfadinnerfortwoofpastaandclamsanddrinkabottleofwine。

Theclamswill?

open。

WhenNatewakesupthenextmorningandputsonhisrunninggear,he’s“consciousoftryingtoevade,literallytooutrun,afeelingofrestlessness。

”SoIguessit’sgoingtobeathree-wayrace。

Orafour-wayrace:I’malsotryingtooutrunrestlessnessinthesensethatrunninghelpsmyrestlesslegsyndrome。

Topreparefortherace,Idoabsolutelynothing。

Idon’tevenstretch。

I’veheardithurtsperformance。

Also,Iforget?

to。

Iwalktothepark。

It’sasunnySaturday,soeverypersoninBrooklynishere。

It’salittlecrowdedforme,butNatelovesthebustle:“unliketheparksNatehadknowngrowingupinthesuburbs,frequentedalmostexclusivelybydelinquentteens,gaycruisers,andsundryprocurersofcrack,thisonedidn’tfeelricketyorabandoned。

”He’sright?

—?

ifthereareprocurersofcrackhere,theyarenotsundry。

MostlyIseekids’birthdaypartiesandpeopleonblanketseating?

cheese。

Withoutanypomp,IstarttherunningappIdownloadedforthisoccasion,fireupsomemusic,andstarttherace。

Ididn’tthinktodesignaspecificplaylist,soImayhavetodosomeskipping。

Istartoutwith“MouthBreather”bytheJesusLizard,whichnotonlypropelsmewithitssearingguitars,butalsorepresentstheslack-jawedrespirationstylethatmyenvironmentalallergiesdemand。

Igetthesense,readingbetweenthelines,thatNatehasunobstructednasalpassages。

Advantage:Nate。

“Therunningpathcurvedthroughawoodedarea,”Waldmanwrites。

“Thefoliagecrowdedoutallsignsofurbanlife。

Natejustlistenedtothesoundofhisfootfallsontheasphalt。

”Iquestionthispassage’srealism。

Evenovermymusic,Ihearsomeoneplayingthebagpipesforsomereasonandamotherthreateningtopopherchildinthemouthifhedoesn’tstopridinghisscootertoofar?

ahead。

I’mstartingtohitmystride,whileNate’smindwanders。

Hedoesn’thavehisheadintherace。

Hethinksabouthowhisbookdealwillallowhimtogivetononprofitsliketheonethatmaintainsthepark。

Tohimthisisabadthing。

He’slosthisstreetcredandgiveninto“latteliberalism。

”Poorguy。

Herealizesthathiscontemplationhasslowedhimdown,sohelooksforagoodrabbittochase:“Aboutahundredfeetinfrontofhim,ablondewomanwithalongponytailwasmovingatagoodclip。

Shehadshapelylegsandalongnarrowwaist。

SheremindedhimofKristen[oneofhisexes]。

Hebeganusingherasapacesetter。



Ineedarabbitaswell,butIseenobodyaheadofmethatIcanbothequatewithanexandobjectify。

Aguywholookslikeaclean-shavenTimHowardrunspastme。

Ifollowhimforabit,buthe’sgoingwaytoofast。

Iseeadifferentguywho’sgotamoremanageablepacegoing,andalsohasaneonrunningoutfit,soIwon’tlosesightofhim。

He’sgoingfasterthanmyusualpace,butnottoofast,soIfollow?

him。

ACam’ronsongstartsplayinginmyearbuds,andI’minvigorated。

IwonderwhatNatemightthinkaboutrap。

Itseemsperfectforhim。

Hecouldpretendtohavehiseartothestreetsthathefeelsguiltyaboutbeingremovedfrom。

Also,towomenhedoesn’trespecthecouldsay,“thegenre’slapsesintounironicmisogynyareproblematic,”butprivatelygiverapperslikeCam’ronapassbecausetheydressitupinabsurdistwordplay。

Natehasnosoul,however,anddoesn’tlikemusic,sotheissueis?

moot。

Natestartsthinkingagain(Iforgothowit’sallyoucandowhilerunning),abouthowwritinghisbookwas“thegreatestpleasureofhislife。

Thatapublisherwasthenwillingtopayhimforit,payhimgenerously,wasnothingtocomplainabout。

He’ddoitagainforfree,inaminute。

”Iwonderhowmanypeopleonthispatharelookingforbook?

deals。

I’mprettysureI’mwinningtherace,butIdon’tknowforsure。

Downsideofunsanctionedraceagainstfictionalcharacter:noofficialmilesplits。

Icouldlookatmyphone,butI’mworriedit’llslipthroughmysweatyhandsifItrytounlock?

it。

Shit,myneonrabbitstopsatawaterfountain!

HehastowaitforersatzTimHowardtofinishdrinking。

Idomybesttokeepupmypace,butI’msucking?

air。

LuckilyNateisinthesameboat:“Asheemergedfromthewoodedpartofthepark,theheatbegantowearonhim。

Hestartedcountingouthisbreaths。

”He’s“fightinghisbody’syearningtowardcomfort。

”Himandmeboth。

Mypaceslows。

Then“AnteUp”byM。

O。

P。

startsblastinginmyears。

Fuckarabbit。

Ispeed?

up。

UnfortunatelyNatedoesn’tneedapacesettereither。

Heseemstobedrivenbytheverystuffhe’smadeof,i。

e。

Waldmen’slyricalprose:“Asthepathwoundaroundthepond,thetallyellowgrassesthatlineitsshorewavedslightlyinspiteoftheair’sstillness。

Nateovertooktheblonde。

”Myimpressionofthepondisalittledifferent:Iseeatarpcoveringsomekindofbog,andalsosomefakeswans。

No,thosearereal?

swans。

Astheeastsideofthelooplevelsout,“AnteUp”endsand,SHIT,“Werewolf”byFionaApplecomeson。

Ilovethissong,butitmakesmewanttakeatakeanaponadecrepitchaiselongue。

Fionacomparesaguytobothawerewolfandshark,butadmitsthatshebroughtoutthewolfandbaitedtheshark。

Hannahdoesn’tbringoutthewerewolf/sharkinNatewiththesomekindagency。

ForNate,thefullmoonishisownmaleboredom,thebloodinthewaterawomaninarestaurantwhosebuttlooksbetterthanHannah’s(buttsarealeitmotifinthenovel)。

Hannah’sonlyproblemisthatshecan’tchangeintoanentirelydifferentwoman。

AlsothatshemetNateinthefirst?

place。

IneedtofocusonmybreathinglikeNate。

Iunlockmyphoneandthinkaboutsearchingfor“Breathe”byFabolous,butthatwouldtaketoolongandFionaissingingaboutvolcanoesandelectricityandifIdon’tstopitI’llendupjoiningoneofthepicnicsandconfessingregretstostrangers。

Iskipacouplesongsandgetto“Militia”byGangStarr,whichfeaturesFreddieFoxxx,anotherall-timegreatshoutyrapper。

Andhere’sneonguy,overtakingme!

Iwillfollowyou,neonguy,followyouwhereveryoumaygo,unlessyoustopformore?

water。

Beforemyphonelocks,Ifinallylookatmyrunningapp。

It’stakenme12:32togetabouthalfwayaroundtheloop。

I’mhappywiththatpace,butI’mremindedofalogisticalissuethatIhavetodealwith。

Theloopis3。

35miles,butNatemakesthingsdifficultbystartingtorunbeforehegetstothepark,soheendsupcovering3。

41miles。

SoI’llhavetoruntheextrafractionofamileattheend。

Nateisapaininthe?

ass。

Igetstuckbehindsomewomenwhoarethree-wideonanarrowdetourpathgoingaroundsomeconstruction。

They’repushingstrollersandwalkingveryslowly。

Ididn’tknowpeoplecouldwalksoslowly。

Whywalkatall?

Whynotjustparkyourselfinthemiddleofthepathandwatchasangrypeople,oneofwhomisinthemiddleofahigh-stakesfootrace,gatheroneithersideofyou?

AfterIlosetensecondsorso,thepathmercifullywidensandIrun?

past。

IgetbackontotheloopandI’matthefootofthepark’sversionofHeartbreakHill。

It’salongsteepinclinewherewillsaretested,wheremen/womenareseparatedfromboys/girls,andwhereaguyridingarecumbentbicycleischeckinghisemail。

IfeeldecentasIstarttoascend,butIcan’tkeepupthepace。

Istarttofeelawful。

I’vebeenpushingmyselfharderthanusual,whichisnotatall,andit’scaughtuptome。

Itrytospeedupagain,butIfeellikeI’m?

dying。

IcanfeelNatebreathingdownmyneckashebeginstoclimbthehill:“Allhecoulddowasregisterinshortsensoryburstsofintakethescenearoundhim:leafytreesonhisright,meadowonhisleft,anAsianchickinaDukeT-shirtrunningintheoppositedirection?

…?

”Here’sanotheraccuracyissue:thenoveltakesplaceatleastfiveyearsago,andProspectParkwasn’toverrunwithDukegraduatesuntillast?

year。

I’mabouttokeeloverandvomit。

IftheDevilappearedbesidemeandofferedmethecardioenduranceofPrefontaineinexchangeforahundrednegativebookdeals(Iwouldhavetogetahundredbookdealsjusttogetbacktomycurrenttallyofzerobookdeals),Iwouldtakeitinaheartbeat。

Halfwayupthehill,myshoelacecomesuntied。

Isimplymuststoptotieit,soIdo,andIcatchmybreath。

WhenIstartupagain,Ifeelless?

deathly。

Still,whenImakeittothetopofthishillandroundthenortherntipofthepark,I’mcompletelywiped。

Ineedsomethingtopropelmetothefinishline。

Ithinkabouttherecumbentbike,butthatwouldcompromisetheintegrityoftherace。

Somemetalstartsplaying。

Thisshouldhelp,butIcan’tshakeNate。

Apparentlyallheneedstodrivehimtothefinishlineissheervolition:

Atthetopofthehill,hewasbreathinghard。

Heforcedhimselftorunfaster。

Thelasteighthofamile,slightlydownhill,wasmoretunnel-like,linedwithtreesonbothsides。

Eachtimehisfoothitthepavement,hesilentlyrepeatedthewordwill,asinIwill,asinwillpower,asinthethingthathadmadehimgetoffhisassandwrite,nightafternight,whenhe’dbeeninhistwenties,workingthoseinterminabletempjobs,longbeforewritingthebookhadbeenfun,whenallhe’dwantedtodowasgetwasted,orattheveryleastdosomethingpassive,like?

read。

I’mwithhimhere。

Runningandwritingaresimilarinthatit’sveryeasytostopdoingthem。

Butforsomereason,wecarryon,justlikeWaldmandidaftershecouldn’tsellherfirstnovel。

Sothelessonis,ifyoujustapplysomewillpower,youcangetabookdeal,orelseperhapswinaraceyoudon’tknowyou’reinbecauseyou’reaninvented?

person。

Idesperatelytrytofindakickattheend,butI’vegotnothingleft。

IstumblewithrubberylegsbacktowhereIstarted。

Ibarelyknowwhat’sgoingonbutsomehowmanagetolookatmyphone。

I’mat27:00!

IalmostdroptomykneesandthrowmyhandsuplikeEliasinPlatoon(differentcontextbutsametoneofgrandeur),butIrememberthatIhavetogotheextra?

06ofamile。

Idragmyassonward,lookingatthestupidapp。

Ifinallygetto3。

41miles。

Mytimeis27:21!

Ibeathimbyonesecond!

Hmm,IwonderhowprecisetheGPSis。

Eh,whatever,Iwon。

Fuckyou?