Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Running With The Bulls

What an exciting day this was. And exciting does not always equal fun.

I got up this morning with a horrible stomach ache. I had been nauseous since Monday afternoon. I'm not sure what it was, but it was either one or two things:

Thing #1 - I had a delicious pasta and meat sauce that Ileana cooked for me, but I was
so busy at work, that I wound up eating it at my desk, after it had gotten cold. About
an hour later, that's when my stomach ache began.

Thing #2 - I dropped off my kids at the "Pie Man" in Valley Cottage on Sunday. My ex-wife
and her husband convinced me (after having a beer with them) into ordering the "Pie Man's" speciality pizza which had bacon, onions, and peppers on it. I ate most of the pie during my
hour plus commute back.

The day continued with my laptop completely going to hell. My email, internet explorer, etc etc, all kept crashing. Even though my manager had given me the thumbs up to take a half-day in order to get to Manhattan and race, I was still aggravated that my machine was sucking wind, albeit it allowed me to drop the laptop off for Desktop support to work on it yesterday afternoon.

Coming home, a police car past me and busted the guy right in front of me for speeding. Whew! I was actually speeding myself! I normally am good at observing where they usually are, but I was feeling so sick, that I didn't notice him until he was right on my ass.

I got home around noon-time, and headed for the pharmacy. Minutes later, I was popping a Zantac 75, 5 Ultra Tums, and crashing onto my bed.

"B-r-r-i-n-n-n-g-g-g!" My alarm clock went off. It was now 2pm. A few minutes later, Ileana called me to see if I was on my way. The plan was for her to leave her car at her company's garage and meet me at the 7-train, 40th street subway station at Long Island City at 3pm.

The weather was incredibly beautiful. Sunny, in the mid seventies, with low humidity (30%) and a nice cool breeze. I got off at the 40th street station, and minutes later, up comes Ileana (the 7 train is acutally an elevated station, above Queens Blvd.). I passed her my MetroCard, and seconds later we both got back on the next Manhattan bound 7.

We changed at Times Sqaure for the 1 train southbound to Chambers (would have been Cortlandt but that station was destroyed during 9/11).

We walked to the American Express Global Headquarters at 3 World Financial which is right off of the Winter Garden, a large 200 foot high atrium with real palm trees growing inside. Despite having lived in NY all my life, and despite all its issues, I still marvel at how beautiful and diverse this city is.

We sat at the park bench overlooking the oversized yachts in North Cove. As time passed, hoardes of runners and spectators alike began to congregate in the area.

Runners from Merrill Lynch had their own t-shirt, and they were everywhere (Later on, Mr. G, the weatherman for Channel 11 news, had announced that there were 20,000 runners of which 6,000 of them were from Merrill Lynch-incredible!)

To kill time, and to try to make myself feel better (I was still as sick as a dog), I decided to call
my grandmother. She loves to talk forever, so I figured it would help me to focus on other things, albeit, it probably would not be enough.

After that, I still had more time to kill, so I decided to be cute, and ride the bull. Literally. Check it out...

Even Ileana joined in on the fun (her's were taken after my race).

In the meantime, I was still sick as a dog. I even tried yoga.

Nothing helped. I felt like I was going to throw up and now I was actually breaking out in a cold sweat (yuck). I went to get Ileana a Kit Kat (her blood sugar was getting low), when I saw her....


The same person that I had been racing against in the Brooklyn Half, and then again during the Colon Cancer challenge. She had narrowly beaten me both times, and she was here!

I must beat her!

Suddenly, my adrenaline was kicking in. A purpose to do this race, sick and all, after all!

Ileana started laughing when I told her about this person. I even pointed out to her.
Shelby Siegel. (and if Shelby Siegel ever googled her name and saw this...then Shelby, I have no ill will against you...i just needed a pathetically lame reason to motivate me, and you are it!)

At around 5:50pm, I started making my way to the starting line. I was able to walk up to where the 7 minute milers lined up. Shelby and her gals from the NY Harriers club, walked past me and stopped by the 6 minute per mile markers. "Hey! They don't run their races that fast. They're cheating!" I thought to myself.

So I did what any normal, red blooded American would do, and cheated myself, by walking up to between the 5 & 6 minute per mile starting area. Moments later, she noticed this, and actually walked further up. This time all the way near the starting line where the world class runners would start. "Son-of-a-b*%^$!!!", I thought to myself. How much more egregious could she be? We were already competing, and the race hadn't even started yet!!!

Mr. G, New York's local weatherman, along with Mary Wittenburg, president of the Road Runners Club of New York, and the CIO of Merrill Lynch, were among some of the speakers by the starting line, prior to the start of the race. This race had a great cause. All of the monies collected, went directly to the American Heart Association for future research on Heart Disease and the prevention of it.

The race was supposed to start at 6:30pm, but New York's "Finest" had a challenge in closing West Street off. West Street is a major traffic artery for Manhattan. And is essentially West Side Highway, south of 14th street.

When the race began, I nearly tripped on a sneaker that was on the ground in front of me. Some guy took off so fast, that it came off, and he had to turn around to pick it up. He nearly got trampled! My strategy today would be simple. I would play it safe. I was not going to go all out, for fear of dying, LOL, even though Shelby had to be beat. Adrenaline can do a great many good things however, and by the end of the first mile, I was already shaking off the effects of being ill. In doing so, I made it one helluva run. I did my first mile, in 7:20. So much for the notion of doing each mile in 10 minutes, as I whined about it on my father's voicemail earlier in the park.

As I race south on Water Street, and amidst the Con Ed construction forcing the road to narrow considerably, some guy about 6 foot 6, passed me by running in a three piece suit, and holding a briefcase!

Despite thinking that I had picked up the pace, I finished my second mile in 7:34. As we passed Whitehall Street, a great breeze from the New York harbor came onto us, now that we had wiggled our way past all of the tall buildings, and narrow streets. And as we came upon South Ferry, all of us were basked in incredible sunlight, which also reflected off the temporary steel plates left behind for street repair.

We continued onto State street and then made our way through Battery Place, passing Battery Park, and Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park. At this point, I was firing on all cylinders and really motoring. We turned left onto 3rd street and made our way into and north on South Cove, where I could see the finish line up ahead about about a third of a mile away. A few last bursts of speed, some curtailed by the density of the runners around me, still allowed me to do my last 1.1 miles in 7:35, which would mean that I did my 3rd mile in 6:53 and my last tenth in about 41 seconds.

Ileana was on my left right before the chutes. This time I saw her but she didn't see me. I turned around, stopped, grabbed her attention, and she clicked off this photo off me, fresh (fresh? now that's a laugh. take a look at it! I looked like I'm ready to keel!) from finishing the race. My only concern is that I had not yet crossed over the second set of mats, so I am wondering if my time will be accurately reflected on the results.
The post-race, shaped up to be a lot of food, drink, and trinket handouts from various vendors onsite to promote their 'wares. We stayed a little while, enjoyed the veggie subway sandwiches that I only ate half of (cause I was still nauseous) and admired the views of the Hudson

We walked back to Chambers Street, where we hopped on the 'E' train and took it all the way back to the Union Tpke Station. Upon coming out of the station, a taxicab driver asked me if I needed a cab. Ileana jumped in and said, "He doesn't need a cab. He needs an ambulance."

Got home, showered, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was accepted for the New York City Half Marathon race on August 5. This is a BIG race, which goes through Central Park and the streets of New York, traversing Times Square, Penn Station, Greenwich Village, SoHo, Tribeca, and the Financial Area, finishing up at Battery Park. Should be a dooooozy.
Footnote: Shelby won again. Dammit! ((Shelby, if you stumble across this website. Congrats to your run. Hopefully I'll get there myself soon!!!))

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Let's disect your blog for busting chops sake. 1.-The delicious pasta Ileana prepared for your culinary and epicurean taste, was delicious. Anything that tastes that good is bad for our mechanical body. time eat artichokes, asparagus, broccoli and cardboard (a.k.a. tofu.
2.-I liked the number you wore. It adds up to 17. Seventeen is a good number. Take my word for it.
3.- So many Merrill Lynch runners only translates into one thing: They have the edge, your money, mine, and the money of millions.
That is why they are all running...with our money. Unfortunately, they come back for more of our money!
4.- Very significant that you were running with the bulls! That's an omen.THE CHICAGO BULLS!!!