I’ll take Manhattan

October 22, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I went missing again.

This time of year is hard. Busy at work, lots of things to do in the evenings, and, of course, hours and hours of running.

Now we’re tapering – a confusing, funny time of short runs and rest before the big day. It’s certainly a relief, but it feels like cheating.

The last big run before the taper was a 20 miler on Sunday morning. This one was organized by the NY Flyers, and they were really generous to invite our whole team to participate. I was anticipating it with a mix of dread and relief – dread because 20 miles is a long way through the streets, and because we were organized into pace groups and I was worried about keeping up and getting lost; relief because the run was supported – even though we were not going to be in the park, there were three water and gu stops along the way.

The weather was perfect on Sunday morning, so we had that in our favor. And once we started running, I felt pretty great. I had joined the 10:30 pace group, and even though we were going a bit faster – closer to 10 – I thought I could keep it up.

And then.

And then the thing that always happens happened. I had to go to the bathroom. I’ve talked a bit about the issue before, but now I have to be really honest. Running makes you poop. Runners fear having to go mid-race. They (and I) work hard to wake up early and clear the pipes before big runs. Coffee, peanut butter, bananas. But it doesn’t always work, and Sunday was one of those days.

Running with a pace group was the least ideal time possible to have to go to the bathroom. If I stopped alone, I would lose the group. During a race, it’s my choice to stop, and I can’t get lost. On a regular run, my buddies would wait with me, or we’d just be in the park where I could catch up with everyone later. But in this situation, I really couldn’t fall behind.

I decided to hang on for dear life, and suffered through 5 truly unpleasant miles until we reached a bathroom. There was a long line – the 10 minute milers had gotten there just ahead of us – and I was last. So, even though I wasn’t the only person who needed to stop, my group started running again without me.

I had an idea of the course in my head and I figured I couldn’t be terribly far back, so I took off in a speedy way to catch up. I had the group in and out of my sights until I was forced to wait at a stop light, when luckily, someone from my group noticed me and pointed out that everyone had turned left. I finally caught up as we were going over the Brooklyn Bridge. I was exhausted from running a superfast catch-up mile, and the bridge is uphill. And, I realized, there was supposed to be a water stop in Manhattan, but there wasn’t. 7 miles in and I hadn’t had water since I left home at 6:15 am.

On the other side of the bridge, there was also supposed to be a water stop. I thought that meant right after the bridge, so when we had gone another couple of miles and saw nothing, I stopped into a convenience store for water. And lost the group again.

I caught up a short while later at the rest stop (of course, I wouldn’t have bothered with getting the water bottle if I had known it was so close). At that point, I was done with this run. I was frustrated with the whole set up. I just wanted to finish and get home and move on. And that’s what happened – we all just trucked through. No one really felt like chatting.

In the end, unfortunately, it was one of my least enjoyable runs all year. Constantly playing catch up really messed with my pace, and in no way did I feel like it was a trial run for the marathon. I didn’t like the pressure – not just to keep up, but to not get lost. So, I think I’ll stick to the lovely parks on the island of Manhattan for now.

In any case, running is on the down swing. I did intervals at the gym on Monday, and last night ran the 5 mile loop at a decent pace in the park. I probably won’t run again until Sunday, when we do the last 10 miles. Even though that run is also a street course with an unknown water/bathroom situation, I do know that I’ll be with my team, and that we’ll stick together.

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