Sunday, March 9, 2008

Hand Socks & Dog Fights


Today was much colder than what was advertised. Even without the wind, the cold temps made it feel colder than last week. The wind was far stronger today than at Coogan's, and the only solace was the body warmth from the initial line up.

I decided not to drive in and take the subway instead.

I wound up getting to the park over an hour early, so I gave myself some time to warm up, and do some easy jogs. Today was a complete workout. Besides the race, I must have either jogged and or walked a total of 5 additional miles. The benefits of not bringing your car.

Pictures of Central Park in the Late Winter:

I looked around for members of my team. I think I saw Jose (based on photos I saw from the FPRR website) but we were all in a hurry. I had just come back to the baggage area for the 3rd time to get my GU packs. I don't know how the volunteer didn't mark me as suspicious for doing this!


The nice thing about doing the 15K is the start time. The gun went off at 10:15am. Most often, races usually begin at 8am, but as there was a 4-mile race before this (with another 2600+ runners), I was able to sleep late today. Sleeping late = 7am.

As always it seems, I thought was well prepared. But yet, as always, I forgot two things (one of them I didn't even realize until I got to the front door of my home...can you guess what it was?) The thing I forgot was to bring my gloves. My hands were frozen numb. "Manos de Piedra", Spanish translation for "Hands of Stone", famously branded by a long-time welterweight legend Roberto Duran, my hands felt like they were about to be frostbitten. Warmer temps my ass (oh, and speaking of ass...remind me to tell you's pretty funny).

I looked in my transpack. No gloves. But I did find something else. Embarrasing as it was, I had no choice but to choose comfort over vanity. Swallowing my pride, I eagerly slid my tube socks, one over each of my hands. Ahhh...

I had my bagel and chocolate milk at around 7:30, but needed to get something more to drink, so I bought a Gatorade for $3.00 (okay Dad, tell me you love NY again...). Hey, the water was the same price, so why not get some 'electrolytes' for free? As it was, I think it was a good choice in the end. There was not one Gatorade stop anywhere along the course.

The course. So it was nearly two main loops (not full loops-it didn't include Harlem Hill) counter clockwise around Central Park. The sun was our friend, but the wind hit us hard from the west. The first time we went up Cat Hill, I was energized, so it didn't phase me much, but the second time around was definitely a thinking-man's moment. I was nearly feeling nauseous, but held on, and went on to get my second wind.

Along the course, there was a runner (#176) who really helped me. We wound up changing leads several times. It was some dog fight. She even bumped into me at one point as we went downhill along the westside after mile 7. But I had my sights on a New York Flier (#11706), who had passed me sometime back. It was a photo finish. I stormed past him in the final yards. Another dog fight. Woof. LOL. Turns out he still had a much better time than me, probably because he was lined up far behind me. To me, one of the most enjoyable reasons to race is for the sake of competition. I don't know if I ever will be a champion (although I will keep working harder and harder), but I do know that there are self-imposed battles out there on the field, which for me, makes it a lot of fun. I have just as much fun losing, as I do winning. For example, when I finished my race, I immediately headed over to the results booth. Having just joined my club, I wanted to see how I did within my group. Not having seen anyone in front of me, made me feel like, "Wow. Was I the first Forest Park Road Runner finisher?" There's good and bad to this. The good is obvious. It means you are the best at something. The bad? Nowhere to improve! I actually like being the underdog.

And so, when I got home, and saw that Jose Tacuri smoked my butt, as I knew he would/should, I was actually happy. Happy, because it gives me determination to do better next time. And most importantly, I think it's a good attitude to foster, as it's all in the name of fun. Meantime, and if you are reading this, Jose, you are an awesome runner. Too bad you live in the Bronx, because I'd love to know what your regimen is! Congratulations for a great outing today!

When I finished my run, I was winded. I quickly renewed though, and made my wind through the masses to find a very interesting exhibit. A giant colon. It was built by someone to illustrate cancer inside of the colon. You basically walk inside the colon and see the different stages of polyps along the route. I happen to think this is a very effective educational piece, because it is somewhat humorous that someone built a replica of a colon large enough for a person to walk through. Once inside, I yelled out, "now I know where my bagels going". A bunch of other colon-ists laughed inside with me. A laughing colon. Hah! Anyway, I think we raised a lot of money for this good cause today. Between all three races, I believe there were over 8000 contributors!

Here's a picture of me right before I go into the colon.

I'm pictured right in front of an asshole....I've always wanted to see that in print....

Fortunately, my final results were not as shitty. I shattered my previous 15K run by nearly 5 full minutes, some 3 years ago. Still, I feel I could have done a lot better. My training, and this is a pun intended, has been feeling constipated as of late. I'm making marginal improvements, but I want to make more improvements. My left leg never hurts outright, but it always feels like the black sheep of my family of limbs, and I'm seriously considering seeing a doc, and getting an MRI. Sometimes, I feel like I hold back because of my leg. Although, I didn't today during the last 100 yards. Also, am I too heavy? I'm 161. I can't starve myself, because doing that would destory muscle tissue. Somehow, I need to get MORE nutrients in LESS calories and, here's the biggest obstacle of all: FEEL LESS HUNGRY!

So, this completes my 6th qualifying race for the 2009 NYC Marathon. My results (intervals, overall placement, etc) can be found at this link here:
NY Colon Cancer Challenge Results

Next Saturday is the NYRR8000, and then the Scotland Run 10K on the 30th. After that, all I have to do is to volunteer in one NYRR sanctioned road race, and I'm good to go (my 2008 NYC Marathon is the 9th qualifier). Speaking of qualifying, my group is looking for assistance for the May 16th Forest park run. I might forego running this race, and opt instead to help out. I have my kids this weekend, but perhaps I could help out at the start/finish, this way I could bring my kids along, and keep them out of trouble.

On a non-running note, I played catch with Matthew yesterday morning, after my inaugural group run with the team. Matthew has a good eye for hitting, but he needs practice in all areas, specifically his fielding. He needs to improve his spatial skills to interpret fly balls, and he needs to work with his glove better. If I have time today, I may take him outside for a quick catch.

1 comment:

DGA said...

Running with pain in your leg...$50 (co-payment for MRI)

Getting up at 5AM to enter a race...$100 (prorated cost of sleepless hours in one week)

Having a toasted bagel with Hot Chocolate Milk... $150 (cost per year)

Buying a 12oz bottle of Gatorade in NY...$3

Getting a picture in front of an asshole...PRICELESS (if you do it in the White House before January 2009)