"To avoid starting out too fast, you have to "have eyes in your stomach," as we say in Norwegian: a good gut instinct of control." GRETE WAITZ
I awake at 7am in the morning only to hear my cell phone alarm go off. All I am saying in my mind is, “why do I do this?” Why do I put myself through such pain and agony of waking up on a Saturday, never the less on a weekend to run with some of the best people on earth”…I awake and pack up my things, because none of my family is home for the weekend, I am to go back to NYC after the race. One of my best high school friends father comes to pick me up, while I am taking my dog out…I rush my dog, marble, to finish up. I pick up my dog and race inside to say good bye to my parents…
My packed bags in hand, I say hello to some of my good high school friends, AD, TJL and AD’s father, BD. We travel about 15-20 minutes to the Bedford Village park center where we are to pick up our bibs and rush back into the car to put on our D-tags. We have a whole discussion on how wasteful these “convenient” D-tags are and really how not convenient they really are not and how wasteful to the environment these really are…but that is a different story.
Anyhow, we see one of my best friends friend, BJ, who I have grown up with since I was 5 and went to school with all of my schooling life…BJ and I had gotten to know each other through playing soccer when we were 5, we traveled together and our families are very good friends. In all, we were pretty much what I had called the Dynamic Duo of our track team. Now, I was not as good as BJ, and I probably was not at all one of the top 5 guys on my team even, but he was up there…We ended up going to the same college together as well, but we grew apart, but still remained great friends in the end…I think we will always be great friends…friendship is not necessarily the aspect where you have to see each other or even talk to each other from a day to day basis, it’s knowing a person deep down and knowing that when you do talk to that person, it seems like not a day goes by that has changed.
Anyways, we got onto the bus and were on our way to the school where they would house us all to get out of the cold. It was cold out, but not as cold as last year. It was frigid, but the sun was warming everything up and sooner or later we would be out running. KC joined us at the school, another high school friend of ours and as soon as we knew it, we were heading out the door. The race starts with an uphill climb. May I remind you it was a local 5K race and we just started this tradition up last year with my high school friends to just do. BJ is not running and he was going to go for a good 7 minute mile pace…22 was his goal. He was out in front, then BD, who had trained for a triathlon this year. I was to stay in the back with AD and TJ, who stated in the beginning that I could not run at a slower pace…for 5 minutes…and they are not even that slow….I lost them as soon as the clock started even and had to catch up to find them, but I was rather enjoying myself. It was like old times again, running with the gals and especially AD, when I ran with her during the summer time.
Which brings me back…about AD, but I’ll bring that up in a different blog…
5:05…ok, now it’s time to burst ahead to try to get other people’s pictures. I spotted BD before and knew that he was not too far ahead of me. I shot off…but could not find him. That is weird? Where did he go? I tried to look back, nope didn’t see him at all, which was very strange…so I shot on ahead. I spotted what could have been AS, who KC said that she had spotted before the run registering. This was weird because AS was a High School friend who I have not seen since graduation maybe. He played soccer, but mostly was into baseball and such. Our grade was made up of such an array of people…maybe I’ll write about that in my next blog of reminiscing…back in the day.
So all I can see a guy with in blue shorts and a black under armor shirt. I run right next to him, saying Smalls? Hey…but it was not him. It was his brother, whom I had remembered when we were back in school when we were way younger. I talk to him, asking how he is doing and how his brother is. He tells me that his brother is ahead and that I should catch him. I shoot off only to take his picture as I go ahead.
The hill I remember is what makes this 5K so challenging. It’s only 3 miles, but the hill makes it seem like it is endless. It’s a very challenging 5K, as I remember when I was going up the long incline and steep last hill to climb, I still am awaiting BD, who I don’t see in sight. Maybe he was way ahead of me, maybe he just shot ahead? Weird, I strolled along and tested my speed to go down the hills as controlled as possible. I didn’t want to injure myself and just ran the road down. It twisted and turned back towards the school and there I could see BJ, who had wanted to run 7:10’s all the way through. I finally caught up to him near the end, taking his picture and finally taking it easy. Wheew, I spot the 3 mile marker and it says 21:44…I tell him to hurry up and he can make it to his goal of 22 minutes…but he simply brushes me off and says another time. This time is good enough. I shoot up ahead, then back again to finish up with BJ only to let him pass me…it was a good run.
As we finish up, I try to take off as much clothing as possible. It was so warm now as the sun was shining. As everyone finally finishes up, we see AS and chat with him for a while. It was amazing how things just come about. AS tells me that he is not into running marathons and he just finished up the Philadelphia marathon in 3:45, I told him that was an incredible time…
We stroll over to the concession stands and grab some bagels, hot chocolate and a banana…ahh! Good times, 2 years running, we’ll see each other next year.