in search of molly seidel

Longtime readers know that Molly Seidel and I have much in common.

■ We have both lost at the New York City Marathon. Yes, I lost by approximately 20,000 more places than she did. But second place is still the first loser.

■ She holds the new record for fastest American woman on the course. I hold the NYC course record for fastest Team Felix member, arguably a loftier standard. Yes, it would be a lengthy argument with much alcohol and monkeys smoking ceegars of questionable origin.

■ She was born on July 12; I was born on July 14. Not quite in the same year, given that I was born during the Roosevelt administration. No, I will not say which Roosevelt.

■ She was once the Gatorade National Female Cross Country Runner of the Year. I have been known to drink too much Gatorade and prance about in a leopard-print dress, although I was not named Cross-Dressing Runner of the Year. Yes, I am bitter.

■ We both are dealing with cracked ribs. Some admittedly are dealing better than others, although she did prompt me to look up the infamous Velominati Rule #5. 

■ She won the Olympic Trials Marathon in Atlanta in 2020. I attended the Olympic marathon in Atlanta in 1996, where I was able to witness approximately 400 meters of the race. This is getting spooky, right? (She did not participate in the 1996 Olympics given that she was  only 2 years old at the time. We also have in common the ability to come up with lame excuses to get out of big races.)

■ She tells people how to pronounce her name by saying it rhymes with “idle,” which happens to be one of my favorite activities. I also enjoyed Billy Idol’s “White Wedding” before it was changed to the more politically correct “Wedding of Indiscriminate Ethnicity.”

■ She is sponsored by Puma. Mo has a pair of beloved Pumas she bought (and I’m not making this up) IN NEW YORK CITY!!!!

■ And WE BOTH LIVE IN ARIZONA!!!!! SHE TRAINS IN FLAGSTAFF!!!! I GOT MARRIED IN FLAGSTAFF!!! Cue the doooooo-weeeeeeeeee-yoooooooo music. Preferably the Billy Idol version.

After last week’s marathon, surely she should be back by now, given that New York has a dearth of tourist attractions and virtually no saguaros. So Mo and I set out today to look up my twinsie and say hello. Small town and an entire day to find her, if 1 p.m. counts as the start of the day. We’re not really morning people. How hard could it be?

Above: We started at Macy’s, the world’s greatest coffeehouse, because a lot of Serious Runners gather there regularly, and mostly because Mo isn’t so good without her morning coffee, which was wearing off. An uncaffeinated Mo is not a Mo you want to be around. As always, the coffee was great. The lemon cranberry muffin Mo chose for me because she is trying to kill me and I have been avoiding the cadmium meat loaf lately, not so much.  But not as much of a disappointment as finding Molly wasn’t there.

Above: So we headed to Buffalo Park, home of a 2-mile dirt loop the Big Kids frequent. We saw one crazy-fast guy, a bunch of mortals, some dogs, and someone who from a distance we thought might be her because of diminutive height. But it turned out to be a 3-year-old boy. Being shy, I did not ask his mom if he happens to hold the 3-year-old age group record for the NYC Marathon. But Molly (yes, we’re on a first-name basis) is  just a few days out from a major marathon effort, so maybe she’s not back in intensive training quite yet.

Above: So possibly she’s hiking during her recovery? We checked the Arizona Trail, given that she lives in Arizona and this is its trail. Duh. But no Molly. There was, however, a metal gate, and Molly won a bronze medal. Coincidence?

Above: Mo went into paparazzi mode, staking out the trail just below Snowbowl in case Molly had switched back to high-altitude training. Arizona legalized pot this year, you know.  Sha’Carri Richardson Syndrome.  No Molly sightings, but I may or may not have seen Bigfoot. I wasn’t wearing my glasses, and Mo has Unusually Large Hokas.

Below: Mo was thinking maybe we should just leaf her alone. HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Sorry. High altitude makes me giddy. (Also, it turns out we were three weeks too late to see the aspens change colors. This was the only leaf we could find.)

Below: And then I realized what I hadn’t realized before I realized it. The perfect enticement for a reclusive runner? BEER!!!!! She loves beer. The interviewer had asked her after NYC what she was doing next and she said, “I hope there’s a beer at the hotel room.” So we went to Beaver Street Brewery, ordered an IPA and a stout, and waited. And waited. We were careful not to drink the beer we were using as bait, until Mo drank them. Mo is not quite as excited about meeting runners as I am. If the ghost of Georgia O’Keeffe ever drops by looking for beer, she will get none from me.

We waited. And waited. And then we gave up.

And then.

As we were preparing to leave in defeat, MOLLY FREAKING SEIDEL WALKED RIGHT PAST US on the sidewalk facing our window. Unbelievable. We were staring through a window at the Olympic bronze medalist, walking casually in front of the dog laundromat with three other people. We could have reached out and touched her, except for the aforementioned glass, the 30-foot distance, and COVID-19 restrictions that may or may not be in effect in a blue city in a slightly purple state. I don’t get out much.

She was disguised as an elderly Amish woman, as were her companions, who may or may not have been her coach and BOTH of the Olsen twins. She was hunched over slightly with a limp, likely the unsavory side effects of running a distance well-known to make your uterus fall out. But it HAD to be her. Female, same height, give or take a foot (hard to see her foot with the long dress), and the distinctive Goodr sunglasses. OK, they were just regular glasses. She was in disguise, remember. Sorry, Goodr for this lapse in sponsorship responsibilities.

Should we have gone up to her and asked for a song? Maybe put a harmony? Possibly procure an autographed green bean for TO? No, just seeing her was enough. We didn’t approach her; she didn’t approach us. Mo was roaring drunk by this point and would have caused a scene anyhow. Better to walk away.

Lessons learned?

■ Olympic runners are just like the rest of us,  only  faster. Some are elitist poopheads (sorry, Rupp), some are shy, some are goofy. Some you imagine would be a fine person to spend a Thursday afternoon with in northern Arizona. All are human beings.

■ Beaver Street makes a mighty fine stout, but you have to drink it really quickly when sitting next to Mo.

■ Any time you go to Buffalo Park, you’ll end up singing “The Cowboy Song” by Thin Lizzy for the rest of the day. Never was sure which one was Lizzy.

■ Mo has declared if the little house with a studio behind it next to Macy’s ever becomes available, she will buy it immediately. She mentioned nothing about bringing me along. I will have to buy her a lot more beer before she makes that decision. Molly Seidel likely will use her NYC winnings to buy the house out from under us. On second thought, I just looked it up and it’s only $25,000 for fourth place, which would barely cover a month’s rent for a one-bedroom apartment here. Maybe we can sell her Mo’s Pumas.

■ I hope Molly flies into Phoenix from NYC and stops by our place on the way back to Flag, I will not answer the door.

Oops, gotta go. I think Sara and Ryan Hall may have just walked by, disguised as golden retrievers. Did I ever mention that Ryan Hall and I both ran in Asics Hyperspeeds and I very much enjoy Sara Lee snack cakes? They’re just like us, I tell you. Only runnier.

Roll me over and set me free.
The cowboy’s life is the life for me.

About gary

no sock monkeys were harmed in the making of this blog.
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3 Responses to in search of molly seidel

  1. Jen Knapp says:

    This was freaking hilarious. And her disguise? Wowww.

  2. idlecyclist says:

    I was also born on the 14th of July! I guess that makes us all brothers and sisters 🤔

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