The Nike Human Race's concept is that everyone around the world runs together at the same time. Very conformist, but I like it.
Friday night I spent being a homebody. A few friends called and invited me out- but it sounded potentially dangerous. Dangerous, like, I would oversleep. Instead I decided to make some Shrimp Fra Di Avlo from scratch! My buddy Ahern has cooked it for me a few times and it really has some power in it the next day during a race... therefore it has become my ritual. It turned out really well and I saved enough to make some for Saturday night, as I had another race Sunday.
The race started at 8AM in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. I was to run it with my friend Soo Young, Soo Kueng (they are twins) and 3 of their friends. We had said that if it was raining we would bail.
I woke at 630AM and was pretty excited to maybe sleep in, so I texted Soo Young "It's raining, guess its off." She replied with something like "Really, you're not running? We are leaving soon." Damn. Last time I didnt run because of weather conditions I never heard the end of it, so I texted back "see you in 30!"
I jumped on the Q which was running very late, so late in fact that the 1 hour ten minutes I gave myself to get to the start would dwindle down to 5 minutes by the time I got to the race.
Sitting on the train headed to BK I could make out lots of other runners because we had to wear the stupid Nike dry fit shirts. (They never make them aerodynamic and it feels like youre running with a sail on). At Canal, this gal got on and sat next to me. She had on 'the gear' and I knew she was part of the movement. She kept glancing over at me and I took it to mean maybe she wasnt sure what stop we were to get off at. As Prospect Park approached she looked my way and said "Is this our stop?" "No, one more." I told her. She smiled and said, "Youre Jeff Baker's older brother arent you. I grew up in the same town in Virginia as you and went to your High School. My name is Amira." Holy cow small world! I knew her brother! Gotta love NYC for stuff like that. We chatted and walked to the start, gathering her pal Alan along the way. I bid farewell and made my way to baggage drop.
As I got there I saw that it was mayhem! A school bus with crowds around it, you had to actually enter the bus to drop gear off. Do I wait? Just then the announcer says "2 minutes to the start!" Oh really? I ran (with my backpack) up to the 6 minute miler area and ducked into an area 50 yards back from the start. The gun went off right after and we started the run.
I was trying to break free of the crowds but I was way back in the thick of it all. It wasnt until mile 2 or 3 I was able to get some breathing room and open up.
This was my first 'crappy' race in a long time. Here is why... picture this... I have on an oversized red shirt, a backpack full of various items (extra sneakers, extra track pants, extra jacket, extra shirts, iphone, change) in case of rain? I also didn't have time to change out of my track pants so I was wearing them, and underneath were my running shorts. I was a mess.
To shed some positive light on the situation, it turned out to be a beautiful morning in Prospect Park, the trees changing color... it was the epitomy of Autumn.
Miles 4 and 5 I had my usual "I should just walk the rest of the way" feeling I get during a bad run. I did not, however, succumb to these ideas. I finished the race with a sprint and as I neared the line I heard taunts from the announcer regarding me running with a backpack. Whatever... I love attention, anyway you cut it.
I walked up to the finish to wait for my friends. Soo Young and Saemi were first out of the group. This was Soo Young's first official race and she did great! The other 3 gals met up with us then we went in search of food! We found a cute diner and had a fun breakfast together, parting ways after.
I attempted to enter the closest subway I could find to make my way back to Manhattan, BUT, all the subways were messed up today. So I had to walk 20 blocks to GAP (Grand Army Plaza)! Thank you iPhone for your guidance; Brooklyn, lets get it together will ya?