The NYRR 18-mile tune up today was one of those days when everything came together. Starting with a perfect day for running, the team started to collect at the our TFK tune-up spot around 6:30, some huddled in blankets and extra layers to ward off the 50 degree chill in the air. After Sid’s stretch and warm up, which had everyone laughing and smiling as only Sid can do, we gathered in our corrals and off we went, with warnings not to race – just pace. Three loops of Central Park with all the Harlem Hills is as tough a course as it gets. But the beautiful day and the upbeat atmosphere kept everyone chugging away.
Unlike other races where everyone thinks they are of Olympic caliber, most people were running it with respect. Lots of chatter among the runners, keeping things at conversation pace. As the morning sun kissed our skins, layers were peeled off and handed (or thrown) to Sid and Asteria, who, at the end of the second loop, looked like they could open a second-hand clothing running store.
As I approached Cat Hill for the third time I was determined to conquer it and decided to become “The Cat” of the hill. I leaned in low, like the statue, held my hands like paws and clawed my way to the top. I was actually growling underneath my breath just to enhance the visual I had created. Try it! It was a lot of fun and got me to the top laughing at myself and forgetting the hill. At mile 17 I saw a gaggle of TFK women who were laughing and having a ball. One was carrying her IPhone blaring This Girl’s on Fire, which created a sing-along. If they can have this much fun running three loops of Central Park, the marathon will be a piece of cake for them.
As I crossed the finish line I was beaming, despite sore Achilles. I had such a runners’ high, I just wanted to hug someone, anyone, when I saw a woman I went to high school with! So I got my hug and a quick update of the last 40 odd years. Then it was off to the post-stretch with Coach Anthony who was getting the team loose and limber. Most everyone is feeling some kind of long run soreness or injury so the closing topic was an exchange of names of physical therapists, massage therapists, acupuncturists, voodoo, whatever and whoever is helping. And that’s what a family does – takes care of its own. These past months we have bonded like a family that cares for each other, waits for each other, and cheers and supports each other.
When I finally got home, I took my ice bath, cleaned up, ate a turkey burger and then, still euphoric from the day, danced all alone in my kitchen to Blurred Lines. After all, this nice girl just got nasty out there!