Friday night was my friend Brian’s birthday party at Bowery Electric where he and his band were scheduled to play. I brought my friends Robin and Cathy, and as were casually hanging out at the bar a woman came up to us. She looked vaguely familiar. She looked at me and said “Hi. You swam under the Brooklyn Bridge didnt you?” “Um holy crap yes I did!” She was like “You’re the goggles guy.” Anyone who hasnt read my recap of the Brooklyn Bridge Swim should know this, she is the only person I talked to the while event took place, and the conversation took place treading water under the Brooklyn Bridge. So if I didnt have friends around me witnessing this coincidence I wouldnt bother telling anyone as it’s too freakin crazy!
I was home by 11, in bed by 11:30. My vegetarian diet is still in effect and I ate some rice and beans for dinner. So far so good.
the next morning I had a healthy serving of Cafe Bustelo (as usual) and some irish oatmeal. My roommate Becky was doing the race as well so she hit the Bustelo too. Its addictive, just ask her.
I rode my bike up to Marissa’s apartment and we walked over together to meet Jim and Ed of my “Dad Posse”.
Today at the Half-Marathon many people were Beyond Defeat.
“Beyond Defeat represents the will and drive to never give up, no matter what challenges you face. It is the acceptance of the challenge. All of us are Beyond Defeat, we just need to rise to the occasion.”
Ed was going to do the 1.7 Mile run earlier, but decided he would be up to the challenge of a Half-Marathon (13.1 wholesome and tasty Miles). Ed has never run a a Half, in fact he may have only run 5 or 6 miles max in a race (Ed excuse me if I’m mistaken) so this was a big milestone, a milestone that earned him bragging rights.
Marissa had never run a Half either (aside from our early morning pre-work 14 miler in June) so this was a big race for her also. I think its funny that she told all her friends she would be finished in 3 hours as she runs like a 7:30-8 minute mile.
The beauty of a Half-Marathon (or one of the many at least) is that the next time you run a race that is, oh, lets say 3 Miles, it seems like nothing!
We all gave a fist pound and then made our way to our respective corrals.
Up in my area I found Robert, Antonio and Rick. We were chatting and got pumped about the race. Antonio had done a 7 Mile warm up! Insane! Once again, a fist pound and then the gun. We were off.
The first few miles are always hardest for me. I think Im just built for the distance or something, I dont get into the swing of things until the pain wears away. I kept thinking to myself, “Wow, I have to do this route 2 times. Seriously?”
As we hit mile 5 and were roughly back at the Start line I was in my groove feeling the enjoyment of the run. My mind was constantly on Ed and Marissa though, always wondering where on the course they might be and how they were doing.
I was now in a thin group of runners, most of them representing the various teams like The Harriers, Front Runners, Urban Athletics etc. It kept me wondering why our group doesnt form a team. One stand out I would like to give props to is a girl that blazed past me who was named Kate. She killed it and I could not keep up.
As we cruised over the finish line I thought to myself… “One more lap, that’s all.” I was also very happy once I was done my second round on the Harlem Hills at the top of Central Park. From that point on I knew there were no more crazy inclines to worry about.
When I hit Mile 11 I saw that the clock said 1:11! This excited me as it meant I was on target to hit my 1:25 finish time. Who knew? (SIDENOTE: that’s also a lot of elevens, good luck perhaps?) I had set this goal as my last Half (the Brooklyn Half) I completed in 1:28 and change.
It was right at this point that this gal who had been flanking me the last 3 miles blew past me. I tried my best to keep up, but she always had 30 yards on me… until the end. As we rounded Columbus Circle and started approaching the finish I mustered up my strength for a sprint. How? No idea as the last mile my legs were burning. Everything gets a bit blurry and surreal when I sprint, you almost forget you’re running. I managed to pass that gal and 2 others on my finish, clocking a 1:25 flat. I love the competition for some reason. I congratulated her with a “Nice run Speedy.” She returned the compliment, all of us being totally winded and red-faced.
I went to the finish and cheered on Robert, Antonio, Jim, Elizabeth (my new friend by way of Robert), Becky and Marissa. Lots of high-fives were exchanged.
Marissa, Jim and I stayed and waited for Ed. We watched as in the distance we saw his trademark orange running hat. His head was down and he was pounding out the last 200 yards of his 13.1 Mile run. We were pretty excited for him to say the least and as he cruised over the finish we made some serious noise! Ed, his head still down, turned at us with the funniest look, as if to say without words “This sucks!” After a drink of water and some cool down time his attitude turned to excitement at his accomplishment. I remember (or Ila can recount my similar attitude after my Marathon “I will never do this again!”) Fat chance.
We all parted ways and Marissa and I headed to her apartment. Once there Colette and Dan gave us a warm welcome. Colette made us some “life saving” pasta which was so refreshing. We hung out with young Grant for a little while as well but I had to leave as I had to get to Jason and Mary’s wedding by 3.
I stayed out dancing til maybe 11 when my mind and body told me it was system shut-down time. What an amazing wedding, Jason and Mary are quite the couple.
What a day. Like I said, a lot of people were beyond defeat today.