After my first 5K, I started training for the Alexandria Turkey Trot. The Turkey Trot is a HUGE race (by my standards) with about 4500 runners. I was very excited, yet intimidated.
After the 5K, my husband, Tom and I headed off to New York City for one of the things I love most in life, watching College Basketball. My Maryland Terrapins were playing in the Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament at Madison Square Garden. I have always wanted to visit MSG and with Jessica being off at Belmont, this was a perfect opportunity, so off we went. We stayed at the Sofitel on W. 46th Street, our favorite hotel.
I needed to run. I needed to get ready for the Turkey Trot, but more importantly, I just needed to run. I decided to run in Central Park. I tried to read the maps on the internet and plan my route. I wanted about a 5 mile run. Tom was going to walk the shorter 2.5 mile loop while I ran. We would meet up afterwards.
It was nippy (in the 30's) on the morning when we headed out to Central Park. We walked up from the hotel because it would have been embarassing to take a cab to the park to run. We got to the park and I took off. Before we split, I asked Tom how far uptown the park went (we were at 59th Street and 6th Avenue). He said "About 20 blocks". Seemed reasonable so I popped in my earbuds and trotted off.
I was totally enjoying my run and taking in the sceneray and feeling immensley cool. Heck, I was RUNNING in Central Park. People do that in movies, books and on tv. I was running those same trails. This is what it's all about.
I was running along and all of a sudden I saw a street sign. It said "Exit to 102nd Street". What the heck???? Tom said "20 blocks". Where the heck am I? I also saw a sign for the resevoir, which is where I wanted to turn. I had to believe I was still good. I didn't have a lot of options, so I turned at the resevoir and kept following the trail. Lots of other runners were turning there, so I turned, too. At this point, my run became very interesting. Where I was on "auto pilot" before, I was highly alert now. I kept trying to discern a sense of direction. Have I mentioned that I have absolutely no internal compass? Probably bad for a runner, huh?
I decided that I was there to run and I was going to do just that. If an hour went by, I would stop and call Tom and tell him to wait for me. I kept running, up hills and down hills. The weather was awesome. I was amazed by women who were running in just a sports bra in November in NYC. I loved running in the park. Just about an hour after I started, I saw signs for the South End of the Park. I was "okay" after all. I ran the 5 mile loop that I planned. It was just a lot more blocks than I thought it was. I found Tom and we walked back to the hotel. It was a great walk. Oh, I let him know that the Park was more than 20 blocks!
We came back home and the weather was still awesome. Grace, a running buddy, was running a 5K right near my house. I called Deb and we decided to run at the last minute. Our other friend, Nancy, ran, too. The race was a very civilized 1 p.m. and the day was "balmy" for November, in the 40's.
The race was through Huntley Meadows Park. You ran back into the park about 1.5 miles and back out. Nice and flat. I was totally into the run. I was listening to my tunes, checking out the fall foilage, and noticing that I was actually passing people. I was so "in the moment" that I totally forgot to look at the clock when I crossed the finish line. Have you ever done that? I know that I beat my 35 minute time because of the clock on my ipod, but that is all I know. So far, even months later, they haven't published the results. Damn my bad luck. I may never know. You know what, the run was worth it. Who cares about the time!
Sometimes, it's just about the moment.