God, that sucked. We begin at the end. I crossed the finish line and was thinking I might die, but that the run wasn't so bad. The first six miles were pretty good. But as time wore on and I hobbled around gathering my bag, stretching, changing clothes, riding the rails, I found my opinion of this run dipping lower and lower. On future race entry forms, I may have to check the box for "handicapped", and only because there's no check box for "crippled by my own stupidity."
Actually, I will leave the judgment of whether this was a good run or not up to you; and you can decide it after you've read this post and the next one. For now, I'll just post some quick impressions; Part II will have the nitty-gritty play-by-play, wherein the runners among my readers will glean the most information. The non-runners may be satisfied with this post, I don't know.
Weather: this will be the talk of the blogosphere today and tomorrow, because it was bizarre. As promised, the weather was warmer. It was also remarkably humid, with fog in the air as I headed to the subway this morning in the dark. The subway platforms and most pavement were all wet from condensation and runoff from melting ice. During the run, I experienced broiling sun alternating with chilly, breeze, cloudy conditions. The blustery wind played hell with any pace I hoped to hold. I ended the run in the rain. Walking back to the subway, I was walking in the sun AND the rain.
I saw almost all of my running friends today. Lou, Crista, and Billy - the triumvirate of senior running - were all there. Lou, as usual beat my pants off; how a man twice my age manages to beat me every time, I have no idea. I saw Crista several times along the course (which had three out-and-backs) and though I said hi and offered words of encouragement, she was having a rough time and had no words to spare. She was literally dripping sweat. Billy seemed in better shape; I passed her at one point, but it's quite possible she re-gained the lead in the second half of the race, I don't know. These three older runners are really amazing. I swear that if one of them dies, he or she will show up to a race the week AFTER we bury him or her. That's just how tough they are.
I also saw Beast, who was planning on - get this - running the race and then running home. Twenty miles home. He's in training for a 100-mile race, you see. That's the difference between us: I'm stupid, and he's crazy. Actually, I saw someone in the exact same shirt as his riding past in one of the little 3-wheeled police cars well before the end of the race. I hope it wasn't Beast.
And I also saw a new running friend: the nurse practitioner at Columbia, Victoria. It's neat the she runs all these races, too, but she's tall and fast and always well ahead of me, so I rarely see her. Well, at one point, I was walking and coughing and I heard my name shouted from the other side of the road - where the faster runners were on the return of third out-and-back - and it was Victoria. Awesome. I have to wonder, though, if it was the cough that attracted her attention in the first place.
Two more things, then I'm going to go shower and take a nap. I've been typing this as I wait for the painkillers to kick in. I'd like to have had some morphine, but all I have is Aleve (and the Percoset has long ago expired), so three of those will have to do.
Thing One: My prep for the race was pretty good. I rode the D train yesterday all the way to Bedford Park Blvd to see how long it takes. About 75 minutes, as it turns out. So I built that into my morning schedule and was up at 5 a.m. and out the door at 6 a.m. And I didn't forget my salt pills!
Thing Two: My pre-race dinner the night before could have been better. A footlong steak-and-cheese from Subway and two pints of stout at Barcade are probably not the best way to carbo-load, though I had a great time. (I also met two more runners at Barcade!) Though I must take this moment to recommend the Captain Lawrence Espresso Stout. The Rogue Shakespeare Stout I followed it with is alright, but the CL was the balls.
OK. That should hold you for now. Race details later on in Part II after my nap.