Friday, August 10, 2012

Sport/Fitness: NYC Pride Run 2012

You may not know this, but I ran my second organized race in June, the New York Front Runner's Pride 5mi. I did not set out to run in a pride event, it just happened to occur when I was in NYC last, and I planned to run anyway in Central Park, so I decided to sign up. I have not really discussed it, because it was kind of a weird experience.

The day before the race I ran the river run on the West side of Manhattan, which is pretty nice. Fairly cool temperatures, and no need to worry about traffic. The runners and bikers seemed to mix pretty well, as many bikers seemed to use it as a safer commute route, and one they did not have to stop for lights at. I did about 3mi, but not entirely sure.

The Pride run itself was a bit odd. Getting my number was a trial, as it seems they changed to pick up location at the last minute. We went too far uptown before realizing the place had changed. Then on race day it seemed they changed the start time, but more on that in a bit.

The night before the run, I went out with some friends, and drank a little too much, and by a little, I mean a lot. I was having a good time, and out with people I love and don't get to see, so Larry Miller's Five Levels of Drinking was taking hold. We got back to the hotel about 2am, and I was up at 5am, jittery and full of anticipation. I got to Central Park around 7:30, and was confused at how little was set up, and how few runners were there. When 9am rolled around and nothing seemed to be organized I was very confused. Fortunately, my shyness was held at bay and I asked someone when the thing started. It was 10am instead of 9am. Not sure if this was a change or my error.

Now, before it sounds like I am disparaging the NYFR, let me say they were all very nice, and between me being a bit lost and hung-over, many of these issues were likely mine.

As for the race itself, I did quite well, considering. I assumed the hills in NYC would be nothing compared to what I am used to in North Carolina, but they were pretty brutal. Within the first mile was the highest hill in the park (I was told), and I had to start walking it. I walked quite a bit of the entire course, but had my best 5mi time up to that point (possibly still my best).

The weird part was how alone I felt afterward. There were between five and seven thousand runners, and I never felt more alone in my life. You can see above that I had to self-shoot a picture for posterity purposes. For some reason, i was crying like crazy once the race was finished. There were a lot of events afterward, but I just walked away, weeping noticeably.

Maybe it was the hang-over, or maybe my depression kicking in? Maybe it was a runner's high turned bad trip? All I know is that I left the park and walked fifty blocks to clear Central Park (more than 2mi). I was in such a weird state most of the way. The loneliness was crushing, and had me so distraught that I did not even want to think about how to get the train back to midtown... Finally, around 52nd St I was a little more composed, and took the train the remaining 10 blocks.

I really don't know what to think about the whole experience. It is a bittersweet memory. Central Park is a lovely place to run, and having other runners around always improves my performance. I guess in the end it compounded the notion that running is such a solitary sport, and was then met with masses of people having a party... Too schizophrenic for me perhaps. Sadly, it has put a damper on my desire to do organized runs a bit. I have not even looked for runs in my area, even the one I know is this month and had planned to run for months now. We'll see how it goes, but I worry the whole thing is too emotional for me.


T. Roger Thomas said...

I love that Larry Miller routine! Also, I'm glad to hear that you made it out for a little competitive running.

Darius Whiteplume said...

Thanks! I had one more I was interested in this fall, but think I may be unavailable for it. It is a 5k, which seems to be my stronger distance so far. :-)

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