There’s this movie I like. It’s based on a book by Nicholas Pileggi called Wiseguy. The plot follows this gangster named Henry Hill and his crew in NY in the ‘60s and ‘70s and how after years of living the high life he eventually gets caught. He gets flipped by the FBI, testifies against his crew, and goes into the Witness Protection Program. It came out in the early ‘90s and had some of the day’s big stars in it. There’s some cheesy nonsensical scenes in it about merengue dancing, but also one of my favorite weird nerdy out of place engineering references ever about the inventor of the rotary engine.
Are you trying to remember when DeNiro or Liotta or maybe Pesci merengue dance? Well, wrong movie. I’m talking about My Blue Heaven. I’d be lying if I called it a good movie or said it lived up to it’s cast or crew (Steve Martin! Nora Ephron!), and the ridiculous Italian-American stereotypes were bad then and have aged worse. But I have a soft spot for less than good oddball movies, and this most certainly fits that description. Plus, since I’ve moved down south, scenes like this are a LOT funnier (OK, here’s the Wankel bit too and some of that bad stereotyping).
For years I’ve had these images in my head of running under the towers of the Verrazano Bridge, or flying through the cacophony that is 1st Ave, or charging through Central Park, and always thought this would one day be my NYC Marathon experience. I pictured myself having my own “fuck yeah” moment of triumph finishing the one race I always wanted to run, propelled to a PR on adrenaline and the energy pulsing up through the streets of my favorite place on Earth. From the moment I found out I was in this year’s race, these were the images on repeat during my runs. And 6 months ago if you told me I’d be healthy and standing in Fort Wadsworth after a tough training cycle, I’d be expecting those dreams to become reality. But that’s not how it’s going to be.
I’ve avoided serious injury, cutting back the mileage and intensity has let my feet heal to something close to normal. So that’s a win, and not a small one. But there’s nothing I can do to make up for the lost fitness, and I’m still in the trough of this depression I’ve been wallowing in. But as I keep reminding myself, I’m still going to NY. I’ll be there in Staten Island, willingly, on Nov 4. And there’s a long list of people I’m looking forward to seeing. Even the weather looks promising. Will this be the greatest moment of my illustrious running career? Nope. But it doesn’t need to be. Which doesn’t sound very profound, but for an uber-competitive person, it’s a big step. Just because Goodfellas was the better movie doesn’t mean I won’t stop what I’m doing when I see Steve Martin with that ridiculous haircut on the TV screen. So, here’s to hoping I find my little slice of heaven on the streets of New York.