Today was one of those fantastic days that comes together when great friends, good hobbies and perfect plans conspire against your desire to have a bad day. There was a fun NYRR team race, Coogan’s 5k, up in Washington Heights. There was a post run visit to the spectacular Cloisters museum. And if this wasn’t enough, the day was finished off with a baking competition, filled with delicious food, where Lillian Kaplun’s Apricot bars tied for Best Overall (there may be something to this flour sifting after all.)
I will start with a race report (non-runners, feel free to skip ahead to some more Cloister pics below.) I woke feeling sick from my cold, struggling to wake at 6.30am to leave the house by 7.15 to get to my race. Had I not had a race, I would easily have slept late, puttered around the house, and used my cold as a reason not to venture out into a spectacularly warm day, heralding a well-earned spring. Instead I walked 2miles to Columbus Circle and sat on the 1 train, feeling increasingly ill as it stopped and started its way up to 168th st. As the runners piled out of the train at our stop, we were stopped in our tracks by a bottle neck exiting the station (there are only elevators at this stop.) The view from the elevated exit ramp was of an entire subway platform filled with runners, spandexed, orange-chipped shod and all. Some found this amusing, snapping iPhone shots; some complained about start times and the elevators; I just wanted fresh air- badly. After finally making it to street level, I ran into my friend who immediately commented on how terrible I looked. This did not reassure me. As I stood feeling horrible and feverish in the corral, managing only to grunt at my friend’s attempt at conversation, I told myself I would race the race and stop when I had to, but only if I 100%, absolutely, had to. This worked. The entire race I felt like I was going to have to stop very soon, if I just felt a little bit worse, which did not occur.
As for my performance, I did not do badly at all, considering. I was mostly hoping to not embarrass myself too badly, but as I raced down the last downhill half mile and saw my Garmin pace lowering steadily, it occurred to me that I could actually break my 8.30mm goal. I did. I had run 8.26 for 3.17 miles. Right. Once again I had acheived my goal on the course my watch clocked, but a pace of 8.36 on the NYRR 5k. These 6 seconds are no longer a missed opportunity, but a nemesis. Watch out 6 seconds, I am coming to get you (as soon as I get over this cold.)
I am, however, spending way too much time on the very valid reason why I might not have run this race, and not on the reasons why I’m glad I did. The course, going up Fort Washington ave. from 173rd. st and looping around the Cloisters, was notable for its views, for being out and back allowing me to both cheer on my faster team-mates and appreciate how many people are actually behind me, and the numerous musicians and bands playing along the way. It was one of the prettiest courses, with the best sense of community spirit, that I have run in quite a while.
I was also very proud to come out and support our team, the Dashing Whippets, who put in a very impressive showing for the first team points race of the year. This is not the same team I joined last year, that couldn’t always count on 5 runners of each gender (of any pace) for the points races. Somehow our little team that could, has become faster and faster, till I’m not even sure I belong any more. I am happy to still run along with them, proudly wearing our jersey.
After the race, the endorphins and fresh air helped keep my cold at bay, and I visited the Cloisters, taking my shots for the day. This evening I attended a much hyped baking competition and then burned off a fraction of the goodies by walking back along the Brooklyn bridge to Manhattan. My cold is now reminding me of its presence, of how I didn’t respect it at all today, continuing with my plans as if it didn’t exist at all. I have a feeling it will find a way to get back at me, but I don’t care. This day (and some great Cloisters photos) were worth all that it might throw at me tomorrow. That said, however, I should probably get to bed.