Sunday, October 19, 2008

The "Blue Mile" Run.

Before I begin, please note that the song having the pleasure to listen to while reading my awesome blog, is the one that Bush and his cabinet are going to be dancing to on their way out on January 21. If you don't know what the Spanish words mean, don't worry. It's been 8 years since Bush has been in office and no one knows exactly understands a word he has said all along either.....



So for starters, there ain't no blue line (New York-ese everybody). It was chilly this morning, and very very dark too. I got up at 5am and left by quarter of. I almost began to grumble about this until I realized that I will be waking up at 3am to head into NY for the Marathon. This, thanks to the Department of Transportation, who decided to wait for 40,000 runners to cross the bridge to do construction on it. NY DOT sucks. I hope you fellow DOTers are reading this too. YOU SUCK. LOL. There. That feels much better now....



Much to no surprise, I did find parking right next to Cafe Des Artistes, a high priced restaurant that I once wasted money on someone long ago, on 67th street. The dessert was good, but the asparagus served with the entree looked like a rat tail. Rat-atouille, anyone? If you want a full disclosure of my thumbs down review. You can find it here -> http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60763-d479319-r5784500-Cafe_des_Artistes-New_York_City_New_York.html
The one thing I will say, is that it is a very romantic place to go.....if you have someone romantic to go with. I did not, hence the lackluster experience.


But I digress (as I usually do, and am in fact doing it again with my overuse of brackets). The run today was fun. I got out to do my run at approximately 7:15am. It was very chilly and blustery, so I was grateful for having brought my jacket with me. I also took my Camelback as well. Another great investment.

I started running down Central Park West, made a left at Columbus Circle, and ran all the way down towards Dominic and his crew and the Queensboro Bridge (hence the posterboard you see above!). The "Blue Line" run is the last 10 miles of the New York City Marathon. I've threatened to do this for years, but something has always come up. Injury, Ileana, Idiocy. The I's definitely had it, for sure. But this year I was really looking forward to it, and felt I needed to break the tradition of associating the Bronx with the brutality of entering my 20th mile. Heh. Bronx and brutality in the same sentence. Gee whiz, Batman, that's a surprise!

As I ran past the Quantum Feet Road Runners, the fine team that sponsors this event, I made my way up the Queenie bridge, thinking to myself, who was the smart person to put a club meeting together today? It's true, I would be beyond truent, today, missing my first club meeting since I have joined. But hey! We are 3 weeks away from the Marathon! Ain't no stoppin' us now! (insert cheesy 70's disco music here).

The bridge despite all the wind, became my bitch fairly quickly. There were many running over it into NYC, and bikes of course too. It was 7:38am, so I had to make sure that I could get to the end of it, on the Queens side that is, by no later than 7:49 in order to get back by 8am.

I was much too harsh on myself.

This is a fun run after all, so punctuality was not a formality. We actually took off around 8:10am or so. There were many runners from other local teams that were familiar to me. Hellgate, Alley Pond, and Quantum, of course. Sandra and her husband Cheddy from our club was there too, and so was Nike (pronounced differently than the shoe). It looks like I wasn't the only absenteer after all....

The first mile for everyone was at 80th street, for me that was my fifth mile completed. It was amazing how powerful the memory and senses could be. Even with my iPod (shit I almost said Walkman....SHIT I actually said it! I've dated myself!...oh well) on, I feel as if I could hear the roar of the crowd lined up along First Avenue.

A little hill up till 83rd street. Then, and after we passed 96th street, things began feeling bleak. It was as if I were racing the Marathon. Good. I needed to do this run to overturn those burned-in memoirs of pain. Heck, I was barely passed a 10k, so I was in no trouble at all. Even my knees were holding up well.

Traffic was amazingly generous. Since we were a funny looking bunch of runners (Seriously, we did look funny. Imagine 40 runners looking like weirdos dodging cars at intersections. It was hilarious!) One taxi who had the light, actually WAITED for us to cross. I yelled out, "Are we in New York?!"




Willis Bridge dead ahead. Ahhh, more memories of wanting to vomit for crossing the bridge in the Marathon proclaims that you have just completed your 20th mile. And alas, we were, in my garden spot on Earth. The Bronx. And yes, I am being sarcastic right now. Very.


The funny thing about this run was that it was in some ways the runs that I have done on my own. For example, with the bridge traffic flowing, we could not afford to remain on Willis Avenue for fear of becoming a much unwanted slice of road pizza. No. We had to run down 2 flights of decrepid metal stairs to get to continue. Dominic was there at the top of the stairs to lead us. And not far down the road was a water stop they did for us too. Nice touch!

Then we passed the area where I nearly died in last years race. The link --> http://roadtonewyork.blogspot.com/2007/11/i-finished-what-i-started-2007-new-york.html
(plus nice posterboards from last year's countdown, so that most can see that I am a consistent maniac with Adobe Photoshop...or a geek?).

Anyhow, if you don't want to click the link and see all the neat photos, I've also encapsulated below the gist of what happened to me in the Bronx below....



The medical aid station that was located on E.138th street, was on the
sidewalk, behind the water/gatorade stands. In every Med station before, there
were at least 3 or 4 people on the path waiting for potential “patients”. Now
all I wanted were a couple of salt packets to help me control the possibility of
muscle cramping, which was threatening not my feet, but rather my legs.


I did yell once for “SALT!” to no avail. Then I did the unthinkable. Seeing no one in
sight however, meant that I would need to get up on the curb to get the packets
of salt myself.I crossed off the course and onto the sidewalk. I did not notice
how slippery the sidewalk was, and I almost totally wiped out. The clenching of
my muscles to avoid me from falling, threw both my legs into an instant and
unavoidable cramp and spasms. The pain was almost as intolerable as the notion
of knowing that the Bronx had gotten me again. I know there may be people out
there who might read this, but I am sorry to say. “I HATE THE BRONX”


By the way, did I fail to mention how much I truly love the Bronx?

Up ahead was the Madison Avenue bridge. First time in memory that I can actually say I ran over it. LOL. Usually people walk across this bridge (not run) like the wounded dead. Today. when I finally ran *eureka* over it, we steered to the right and headed to 5th Avenue. Usually, I would have been running for around 3 hours now, which means midday sun and the cookout of my fair skin. But not today. Co-o-o-o-o-o-l-d (Heh. That almost looks like "Coolio")


We "U"'d around Marcus Garvey Park, and continued down 5th. Duke Ellington Way, then Central Park. And for those who don't think that the upgrade (because it is too minimal to call it a hill) is easy? Try that when you've already have run 23 miles.

We entered Central Park @ 90th Street. Again, I could almost hear the roar of the crowd again, and people cheering me on by name. Wow! I was actually getting excited and there was no one even around (you may now yell "dork" here please)!

The park was crowded as usual. There were a few charity walks taking place. The pink ribbons suggested breast cancer awareness, but someone mentioned kidneys. Whatever the case, there were lots of organs being represented today. Including my lungs, which were doing fantastic, and, as I look I was already past 12 miles. Last hill in Central Park on East Drive was over the 65th Transverse. I knew after that it was all downhill until re-entry into the park at Columbus Circle.

After the transverse, I employed some real-race strategy, and started throwing down the hammer. I started picking up my speed, so that by the time I was out on 59th and headed towards the Time-Warner building, there was nothing, no one, left in front of me. Time to burn!

I always feel that if you are going to sprint in the NYC Marathon, that the only time to do it is while you are crossing Central Park South at 59th. Reason being is simple. You've already completed 25.5 miles and it's time to let your adrenaline (finally) flow freely. The crowds along 59th street are INSANE. Literally twenty rows deep, yo! (haha ;-P )

Re-entry into the park, is the stuff that legend is made of. Seriously. I don't care who you are. You have just finished 26 miles and have 385 yards to go. I don't care how dead you are, or what is happening to your body. You will finish. You will succeed!

I never worry about the last 2/10ths being uphill either. Dude, you are about to complete an effin' MARATHON! Live it up!!!!!!!

When I crossed the "imaginary" finish line, just past Tavern On The Green ( legendary and still, a great place for food, might I add ), a cameraman actually took a picture of me. Very cool!

Also cool, was seeing the spread that Quantum had. Bagels, of all types. Spreads to go with that. Propel Vitamin Water, Water, Granola bars, and endless bunches of bananas.


Dominic (above left), in his typical fashion of being an outstanding guy, actually thanked people for coming. I actually thanked him. This is a great run, they really did a great job, and best of all......THE RUN WAS FREE!

From a proud member of Forest Park Road Runners, great job, QUANTUM!!!

OFF-TOPIC BEHAVIOR:
(Because Yes....There are some things to life more than just running....wow, what a concept!)

Thumbs Up: Simplify App
Simplify App. A big thumbs up goes to this iPhone app called Simplify. I no longer need to ever worry about what songs to upload to the iPhone. With 'Simplify' all I have to do, is leave my PC on with the host running, and I can access EVERY song, playlist, etc in my ENTIRE PC library, right on my iPhone! It was of great use to me today.

Thumbs Down: Fitted Sheets.
Have you ever noticed how hard it is to fold a fitted sheet? Oh sure, there are plenty of people out there who claim that it is really easy. There are even pictures on the web showing how to fold one. Bah! It's all a pack full of lies, man. Fitted Sheets were made for the criminally insane. And, almost as bad as folding them is when you are ready one over your mattress....Which corner goes where? I just got back from the laudromat and I'm bitchin'.

5 comments:

DGA said...

So you are ready for the real thing now?, I guess! Try to conserve energy till you get to the Bronx, where you'll need all your strength and speed to get out of it at Superman speed. I understand, because they know how badly the Bronx stinks, that Bronxites read blogs and comments about their putrid borough to retaliate during the Marathon run.

Also...BRING SALT!!!!!!

Last, but not least for the NY Marathon...a tip to eat miles at a good speed without even noticing:

Think of the movie the Bridge over River Kwai when they where crossing it whistling that sticky tune, carried over by the audience as they were leaving the theater. And you imply you are THE DEVIL?

Alex Gonzalez said...

It has nearly taken me a year to erase that whistling from memory.

AND NOW IT IS BACK AGAIN.

Thank you for re-scarring me.

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