Sunday, March 7, 2004

Coogans, Salsa, Blues, Shamrocks, Parking and Subways

For my second race, I decided to do the Coogan's Salsa, Blues, and Shamrocks 5K run up in Washington Heights.

I had not been in Washington Heights, since perhaps 1987, when I was at Tony's brother's apartment (Tony was my first wide, errr wife's father). To this day, I am positively sure that I played with Manny Ramirez who was playing with us in a game of pick-up hardball. He was playing center-field. He made unbelievable throws to home-plate, and muscled home runs over the park during each and every at-bat.

The race itself starts between W. 168th & W. 169th Streets on Ft. Washington Ave. From there we had to run north on Ft. Washington Ave. to the halfway turnaround point in Ft. Tryon Park. (not too far south from Fort George). Then we would run back south along the same route to the finish.

The weather was pretty great actually. It was 48 degrees at race time and pretty dry too (Only 39% humidity). The line up went around the corner from the New Balance Track & Field Center. It was very crowded. There were a lot of police and fire department personnel that ran in this race (I'm surprised that Dunkin Donuts was not an official sponsor).

Not wanting to have a repeat in punctuality, I left very early to get parking. At the time, I still was living in New Rochelle and was still driving the champagne-colored Toyota Corolla. Thank heavens too because I never would have been able to park the Honda Odyssey in Washington Heights. No room to.

Well, the race started at 9am, but by 7:00 am, I was already looking for a parking spot. Like I said, parking is very tight in Washington Heights. This is due to the many brownstown buildings, and little indoor parking available. Almost 100% of all the parking was on the street, of which more than half was metered too. Unbelievable.

I drove and drove and drove. When I finally found a spot it was after 8am and it was north of the 168th street station. North by 20 blocks. Again, I found myself rushing to get to the start. Fortunately for me, I found an entrance to the "A" train on 184th street.

Wow. What a weird subway station.....

With an underground overpass, and large wide station, it seemed more like a train station than that of the subway.

I got to my race on time. Finally. And by the time I came out of the Track & Field center, I was towards the back of the line.

The race was fun. I liked the course. There were a lot of people cheering on the sidelines, and that was really cool. Kinda reminded me a little bit of the golden days when I used to run in the NYC Marathon.

I ran fast!

In fact, I broke an 8 minute per mile marker. In the end I settled for an 7:42 place. Unbelievable!

2 races down......7 to go!

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