So. I had a long discussion on Friday with Christopher about the NYRR Jingle Bell Jog that took place in Brooklyn over the weekend. To be quite honest, I wasn’t really feeling it. I was slightly annoyed that the course had been changed last minute to a 6k (3.7 miles) due to construction in Prospect Park. Alas, I picked up my bib and complimentary sleigh bells thinking that I would feel differently in the morning.That’s when we decided to have some adult beverages. Over a carb-loading pasta dinner and some wine, Chris poised a question to me:
“What if I just timed you in Central Park? You could do the four mile loop and make it your own race?”
The difference with this is that I would be running it alone. I like the camaraderie of seeing friends doing the NYRR races.
That’s when we got on the interwebs.
After texts, gchats and tweets went out, we decided that the Inaugural Baker’s Funtastic 4-Miler Race was to take place in Central Park at 10 AM the next morning.
Over coffee and breakfast on said race day, I told His Lordship that I had construction paper and permanent markers should he want to make race bibs.
We packed up our goods and head to the park. Five competitors met at 72nd Street and East Drive inside Central Park. Chris gave his best Chacha impersonation, giving us rules and regulations.
“Is this the bag drop?,” Susan asked while pointing to my bookbag that laid on the ground next to Chris.
“Sure,” he said.
“Are there aid stations?,” Bojana asked, for she and Elyssa already ran 6 miles and wouldn’t mind a water stop.
“No. And all the water fountains are turned off.”
At the sound of, “GO” we were off running up East Drive. I made the mistake of sprinting toward Cat Hill, for I haven’t raced since Chicago, and that was flat. Miss Greenburg decided to be my rabbit, coaching me through the four miles while keeping me at a faster speed than I have ever raced before. I have never raced a distance shorter than a 10k and was excited to see how I would do with four miles. We made our way up to the reservoir and saw Erica Sara running in the opposite direction. It’s always nice to see familiar faces in your backyard. We charged around the 102 transverse.
“Two miles to go,” Elyssa assured me. “You got this.”
I hardly spoke two words the whole four miles. I only took E’s advice and listened to my feet. We went through the rolling hills on the West Side, and as we came on our final downhill, I felt good enough to only continue at my pace.
That was until Douchey McBaggerson started to get chicked by E and I. Then it was on.
When this type of thing happens, I think back to Claire’s post on road rage in Central Park. It’s not unlike being in a car. You pass someone, said person speeds up and passes you, and it goes back and forth. E passed said guy, and just as I passed him, he started speeding up. I heard his loud footsteps coming up next to me. That’s when I really started pushing it.
CLOMP. CLOMP. CLOMP. CLOMP. ‘Dude, stop pounding the pavement so hard,’ I thought.
We rounded the corner on the 72nd Street transverse. Homeboy kept clomping. I put a silence on him as we got closer to the end.
“Show me what you got,” E said.
I charged up the hill and saw familiar faces making a tunnel at the finish: Susan, Bojana, and Ali!
Finish time was 32:56, a shiny new PR in our first ever rogue race.
Hats off to Miss Greenburg for pushing me through the four miles and giving me good coaching advice. And hats off to my competitors who crushed it in the park. And to His Lordship for making some seriously ghetto race bibs and leaving fellow runners in the park befuddled asking, “Uh..hey, is there a race today?”
Yes, there was. And it won’t be the last.