June 25, 2011

NYRR Front Runners Gay Pride 30th anniversary run

On the heels of an historic vote by the New York state legislature, passing a bill that will legalize gay marriage 30 days after the governor signs the bill (with exemptions for churches), the 30th Front Runners Gay Pride run took place in Central Park at 9 a.m. on a very warm and extremely humid Saturday morning.

The route was changed to be the top 5-mile loop, which includes the Harlem Hills and was run counter-clockwise (regular direction) and so was the harder direction, as runners went UP Cat Hill instead of down. And despite internet predictions that the run would be more celebratory party than a run, such was not the case. The bill passage was mentioned during the opening speeches, but that was it. Other than that, I personally found the run to be blessedly run-of-the-mill in execution.

I ran my IVs while on the trains up to the race, changing from meropenem to vanco on a runner-packed 4 train, which drew several curious glances. I continued to draw those looks as I picked up my bib and cap before the race. I guess someone walking aroiund with a strange-looking bottle in their back pocket and a coil of tubing snaking up under his shirt is not the norm. The Vanco ran out just before the race started - great timing. I have yet to run while actually doing an IV and didn't want to try it today. It's bad enough I kept my shirt on to keep the line extension from bouncing around. (I would have loved to have run shirtless today.)

NYRR has their corral system down pat. Excellent. I didn't bother traipsing all the way back to my purple corral - I just waited until most of the pack had passed before joining the crowd. I crossed the starting line 7 minutes and change after the horn. Now, this is important to note because I think I got too close to the chip readers before the race and so my start time was not recorded and my official net time reflects gun time, not net. RunKeeper backs me up on this. So my real time is 1:04:something, good for just under 13 minutes/mile. Water stops were well-placed after the first one, which didn't come soon enough - no water in the first mile. Also, some Gatorade would have been nice.

I wish I had done better, but my lungs are really not in good shape right now. Despite improved PFTs at the doctor's office two days ago, I still feel tight almost constantly and the humidity really didn't help this morning. I was walking more than my legs would have needed and downright gasping for breath at times. Several full stops in addition to walk breaks. In fact, two of those came in the final stretch, where I was in a steady, slow jog I thought I could keep up, but found myself so short on breath I had to pause for a few seconds to bend over and try to suck in an actual deep breath. Didn't exactly work, but did help me keep going.

My "people to beat" targets all beat me, except one. These are the people you notice you keep passing and who keep passing you. I'd have beaten the fat girl in red, I think, except I had to stop in a porta-john on the crossover. I admired her slow-but-steady technique, even if her breathing was so loud and so fast, even on downhills, that I was worried she was going to collapse on the spot. I probably could have beaten the very tall, very overweight black gentlemen I chatted with before the race, but he got the best of me in the last half mile, dammit. I did, however, come in ahead of a girl who, for some reason, thought that a lace top makes good race gear. No one, of any shape or level of fitness, at any time, should wear lace as running clothes. Ever. OK?

This was, in short, a miserable run for me. I couldn't get my mind off my lungs and I couldn't get them to work for me. I am giving very serious consideration to getting a decent road bike fitted to me and switching over. At least on the bike once I get going, I can keep going at a pretty good clip without breaks in the rhythm. Are there bike races in the city? Would I have to become a clown-colored-spandex-wearing, pedestrian-cursing douchebag? I hope not.

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