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Run for Haiti

Last Tuesday was the premier showing of  horror flick The Revenge of the Adductor Brevis, with twice daily showings in theaters in Sunnyside, Queens throughout the week. As one would have expected, I was the only person with a ticket to each screening–and it only cost me a week of halted training! A small price to pay, really, for the thrilling flashbacks and gutwrenching suspense created by the familiar scenarios throughout the movie. It’s like, you see the danger coming, you know what’s going to happen, but no one warns the poor girl, and she gets injured AGAIN. Or at least, since my adductor brevis muscle still hurts nearly a week later, I suspect I have reinjured myself.

I needed to test it anyway, after three days of rest, so I went ahead with my plans to participate in the Run for Haiti in Central Park on Saturday morning. However, I completely abandoned my goal of trying to break 32 minutes and just agreed with myself to run it at a decent effort, neither pushing nor ambling. No sense in risking further aggro to the AB.

Saturday was gorgeous, and wore my capris and sunglasses, even though I still needed to keep on my jacket since the wind was pretty chilly. The park was insanely crowded, with at least 6,000 runners queued up for the race, if not more. (It’s unclear to me how many folks ran in the park versus virtually). This was another reason I had abandoned my plan to break 32 minutes–I wasted a lot of time and energy the entire race (but especially during Mile 1) weaving around other runners who were slower yet ahead of me. I had to slow up many times throughout the race as I waited for a parting of the seas, so to speak, and once I nearly tripped a woman to the ground as I tried to get around her but she moved towards me and her foot caught my calf. I felt terrible but honestly, it is no fun to race like that. It’s not competition, it’s a melee. I think I am done with Central Park races for a good long while; I am happy driving to Eisenhower Park to run with the Long Island Road Runners if I feel the need to set a PR or test my fitness.

In any case, I didn’t feel quite myself during the race. I was bummed out that my AB was twanging at me, and I had to concentrate hard to be sure I neither coasted nor overextended. I tried hard to have quick turnover so as to keep my strides shorter and beneath my body. I guess it worked since I finished the race feeling warm and cozy from the effort, but never once did I experience sharp pain–neither in my AB nor in my lungs from running superhard. And wouldn’t you know it, I somehow managed to PR anyway, running a 34:56, an improvement of 19 seconds over my (now) second-best time from the Gridiron Classic in 2007. It’s always cool to PR, but it was a bittersweet record for me, knowing I could have really toasted the course if I’d only been at 100%.

As I was putting on my second layer of clothes along the benches around the bandshell, I started chatting with a guy who was stretching next to me. He was thrilled with his race (I was not), and said he PRed… in 34:56! He also said he was really happy to have PRed because since his last 4-mile race (the 2009 Gridiron Classic) he had made a complete recovery from… falling off a CLIFF! As I walked away from him, headed out to meet my Twitter buddies at the post-race tweet-up, I thought, what are the fucking chances I would talk to that guy out of everyone?  I suppose I should stop whining about my twingey AB, get on with taking care of myself, and just be glad I haven’t fallen of a goddamn cliff, literally or figuratively. Sometimes object lessons in gratitude come at times when I’d rather just continue to wallow.

PS, the Run for Haiti has raised over $400,000 towards relief efforts. Many thousands of runners participated virtually as well, including the Mammoth Track Club (the club of Deena Kastor, Ryan Hall, Meb Keflezighi, etc.). If you would like to race your own 4-Mile race to support the cause, you can register here. Your race must be completed and logged by February 24th, this Wednesday.

Arbor behind the Band Shell in Central Park.

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