being out and about at 7:30 on a weekend is a completely different animal than doing so during the week. the city is amazingly quiet, there's barely any traffic and there are generally three types of people out:
1) the highly ambitious - they are either runners, bikers, etc. i suppose that i fall into this category in spirit if not in actuality
2) the still-drunk - they have been out all night, maybe finished up at one of the secret bars that stays open after 4, and are just stubling their way home
3) the crazies/homeless - pretty self-explanatory.
i took the 6 from astor place expecting a empty car and a seat. not so. the train was packed. ~grumble~ we were elbow to elbow and someone hadn't showered in a while. it was not exactly the way i wanted to kick off my morning, but once i got off the train all was better. it was (is!) a beautiful day. it hasn't been this nice since may it seems like. a little breeze, almost a chill - i felt like it was the first day of school.
and it kind of was. when i was growing up, i definitely was an artsy type, not a sporty type. the most athletic thing i did was play tigerlily in peter pan in high school and the dance solo required lots of jumps - see, not so athletic. oh, i did play teeball and softball in elementary school (yes you are allowed to laugh), but that doesn't count. this would be my first practice!
we (handsome, charlotte & i) dropped our bags (they have one of the mentors watch your stuff while you run which is great) and waited for the coaches to explain what we would do for the day. i'd say there were about 40 or so people there. the campaign manager welcomed everyone, and explained that we will always kick off the run with a reminder about why we're here and committed to the cause. today one of the honored teammates would speak.
"beth" was diagnosed with a blood cancer last may. she was 32 at the time, and something of an anomaly because the type of cancer she had usually affected men over 50. she said that this made her feel like a science project of sorts. beth underwent a week straight of chemo, almost 24 hours-a-day, every day. she would get 1 hour off to brush her teeth and wash up as best she could. by the end of it, she had lost 25 lbs, and had a long road to recovery ahead of her. once she was at a certain point of recovery, she decided she wanted to do something magnificent with herself. beth always enjoyed running and signed up for a marathon with team in training and ran her first this past june. she's now back for a 2nd one and is running pf changs with us in january.
and with that inspiration to keep us going, we got our training. we would be running on central park's lower loop - 1.7 miles. oh! for you new yorkers i learned a very cool fact - every lamp post in central park has a letter and 4 numbers. the letter is E or W - east or west and the first 2 numbers designate the street that the lampost is in line with. so W 6205 means you're on the west side of the park on the equivalent of 62nd street! okay sorry but i had to share. so the loop. 1.7 miles around. non-runners, beginners and half marathoners were to do 1.5 loops. beginner-intermediates - 2 and intermediate/advanced - 3. i was totally nervous. handsome was going to go for the intermediate group (wow), charlotte was thinking 2 and i was nervous about my little 1.5. so char and i took of at a little light pace and got going.
i'm not going to say it was easy, but it definitely wasn't as hard as i thought. it is SO helpful to have someone to talk to. first of all, it keeps you from running too fast because if you can't hold a conversation you are running too fast. secondly, its a good distraction. c & i gabbed and before we knew it we were at the south side of the park - yay! we grabbed water when we finished the first loop, then kept going. one of the things the coaches told us was not to wait until you are exhausted to stop and walk - do it before and then "your battery will recharge". good advice. after a little longer we walked a few lamp-poles worth and then picked up again. i decided to push myself and do the 2 loops, and behold - we did! 3.4 miles!
it felt really good to accomplish that the first day. i know it wasn't huge miles, but its way more than what i thought i could do, and i'm really proud. h & c, i'm really happy to have you guys with me!
here's a picture of us all sweaty. i promise i will not take yet another version of this picture until marathon day, but i had to document our first practice!