I had a fairly uneventful Labor Day weekend. With one exception - I ran a 5k. On a sore ankle. Which is now really sore. It was hard. But not just due to the ankle. I just think running is hard. Sometimes, after the fact, I get all caught up in the triumph of actually finishing that I forget how much I hated the process. But not this time. I think it is the lingering, inexplicable ankle pain that is reminding me that while I enjoy improving my physical fitness and I am happy to have muscle tone return to my legs and very happy with the relatively quick calorie burning of it, I still have a hard time running. Except that sometimes I think I kind of like it. This last weekend just wasn't one of those times.
For starters, the race was scheduled to start at 11 am on Governor's Island - an island in New York harbor that was formerly a military post with a history dating back to the Revolutionary War. It is located a short ferry ride off the southern tip of Manhattan island. My race materials advised runners to board the 9 am ferry since the 10 am ferry would not likely give participants enough time to get to the starting point in time. So on Saturday night I set my alarm for 7 am to give myself time for a stress free morning with plenty of time to subway downtown allowing for a pre-ferry arrival of 15-30 minutes for "check-in". I also went to bed at 11 pm. That is early for me but I wanted a solid 8 hours of sleep pre-race.
I read my book and enjoyed the view and tried to wait patiently until about 1030 when I decided I should start warming up. I did some slow stretching and a couple of nervous jogs and made my way to the starting point after checking in my bag. I was one of the first to line up so I just continued to pace and stretch and wait.
It is a good thing my friends showed up because even though I didn't see them again until after the race was over, just knowing they were there kept me running. And prevented me from cheating and opting for the 3k turnoff point - a huge temptation.
Another thing I should mention is that for a while now I have been concerned that maybe my handy little nike-plus running gadget has been, well, lying to me. You see, lately it has been telling me what a good pace I have been running and I've been feeling really good about that. Except, except that I didn't quite believe it. I knew that running on a route that was accurately measured would be telling - and it was. There were little mile marker posts along the race route and they never quite synced up with my ipod. That wouldn't be so bad except that my ipod was telling me I was half-way through long before I was actually half-way. And when it got to the point where it was cheerfully telling me "400 meters to go!", I knew he was lying. But luckily, right about the time my ipod was telling me I had completed my 5k, I was rounding that southern tip of the island where Lady Liberty rises up and there were still some race watchers standing along the road clapping and cheering and one guy was repeatedly yelling "Race for the Cure! Live Strong!" which had nothing to do with this particular race which was actually a World Trade Center Memorial race, but was still somehow motivating. I wanted to walk, I wanted to stop! I wanted to lie down on the grass. I wanted to just get the whole thing over with and never run again! But mostly, I wanted to cross the finish line running so I pressed on and before I knew it, I did just that!
Oh, and I like his mom too - thanks again for coming Joo!