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2011 NYC HALF - w/ guest blogger: sethyyy.

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Friday, April 8, 2011

2011 NYC HALF - w/ guest blogger: sethyyy.

seth and I at the start.
As most know, i convinced (tricked) seth into running the nyc half this year.  and as most know, i was definitely more excited than he was when he first got accepted into the race.. and my excitement exceeded his pretty much all throughout his training.  (obviously, i wasn't the one who had to run in boston in february.)

but then came race weekend.  the awesome part about being his host for the weekend was that i got to watch the excitement build in him.  it's hard not to get a little pumped up at the expo when you pick up your race stuff, it's hard not to get a little anxious the night before when you know that in less than 12 hours, you'll have completed something you've been working towards for months.

so saturday night, we dined.  and we watched basketball.  and we woke up before the sun on sunday.  and we got in a cab to the start.  and seth got to experience a new york that not many people get to experience.. a pre-sunrise central park with 10,000 "people who run."

ladies, gents, and blog stalkers alike, i give you, the nyc half-marathon in seth's own words:

So I’m standing around 96th and 5th freezing my ass off (because who needs pants at 6 AM in the middle of March?) remembering a conversation I had a few months prior. It was mentioned in a previous post in this blog so I won’t get into it, but needless to say the universe found it entertaining to select me for the NYC Half-Marathon.  For the record I am not a person who has put his health at the top of  his priority list for the last few years. I sit at a desk 10 hours a day, I drink more than I should, and I’ve smoked far too much for far too long. While my lifestyle isn’t healthy per se, I’m still healthy (at least according to my doctor) due to years of competitive athletics and consistent activity, but all that fun stuff tends to fall by the wayside when you graduate high school and then college. So needless to say the thought of getting up to run 13.1 miles at a time when even God would say “Fuck it” and hit the snooze button was daunting. But here I was in Central Park excited, in spite of myself, my pale legs reflecting whatever beams of light that leaked through the overlapped buildings like some hairy, warped, Irish disco ball, ready to run.

The starting line at a race is an interesting place. You have people
wearing all kinds of gear, doing all kinds of things; some of them normal, some of them not. Normal: getting advice from experienced
runners like “run your own race” or “stick to water later on, the Gatorade can start to feel thick.” Not Normal: just when you think you can’t possibly see any more of person’s ass through his neon green spandex, he bends over into the “downward dog” in front of you. If he was facing the other way I have told you whether or not he was Jewish. Of course these things are unavoidable when so many people are crammed into such a space like a waddle (had to look that up) of penguins. It would have been a perfect situation for a Morgan Freeman narration: “There they stand, huddled together, warming themselves in anticipation. I must admit I didn’t think much of those runners the first time I laid eyes on them; looked like a stiff breeze would blow them over.” Also, lots of peeing. People were storming the Porto’s like they were the Bastille. A result of last minute hydration I suppose? Anyway, shortly after the mad dash to the lieu the race started and I was suddenly running my first half marathon. Delightful.

My legs were a little tight for the first few miles, probably because
the cold and the density of people didn’t allow me to really get into my stride, but it turned out to be a good thing because I tend to
start out way too fast. It forced me to slow down and lock in to a pace. I was two miles in when I saw an obnoxious yellow sign with my name on it (insert sign with motivational Charlie Sheen quotes here). I laughed at it and the person carrying it as she ran with me for about 50 feet or so excitedly shouting what I assumed to be English words of encouragement the noise more or less represented what I imagine a mouse singing opera would sound like. I was waiting for her to run into a pole. She didn’t. Probably a good thing. Then I really would have lost it (Ang, you know I love ya). 

 A mile later I came across my Boston contingent, both cheering and taunting me with signs depicting pint glasses, beer cans, and “Karate Kid” dialogue which I thought was quite impressive for the early hour (I would find out after the race they had immediately departed for a diner after I ran by because they had gone to bed four hours prior and were insanely hung over). It hit me on the backside of the park that I still had 10 miles to go so I took some advice I’d received early and broke it down into sections whether it was a set of miles, a group of hills, etc. The coolest part of the park was looking from the northwest corner of the park back across the lake as the sun came up. It was beautiful. It made me forget for a moment that much like cars on the highway there are people who find the need to bob in and out of running lanes even if they don’t exist. I literally saw a guy try to leap frog someone rather than just pass on the far right and, like on the highway, I wish this person crashed into a guard rail (or in this case a strategically placed sign or traffic cone).

Taking the turn out of the park was huge knowing that more than half the race was over and I didn’t have to see another hill for the next five miles. The fact that the course opened up drastically helped with spacing and definitely put me in a more comfortable place both physically and mentally. I was able to shift into a sort of cruise control as I pulled into Times Square. It was kind of surreal running
through such an iconic place that’s usually humming with life, whether it is tourists, angry cabbies, or naked cowboys. There was a section between there and the park where it was eerily quiet like one of those post-apocalyptic zombie movies where they show a recognizable place and the dude realizes everyone is dead, only the zombies aren’t chasing you in Puma’s with their nipples taped down. It was so cool but I could have done without all the music. The place and sounds of the people were enough to get me psyched. I felt like Tom Cruise in“Vanilla Sky” minus the fear and paranoia. And again, who is stopping in Times Square to take a piss? How much Gatorade could you possibly be putting down that you can’t hold it for another 40 minutes? You should be ashamed of your tiny bladders.

As I hang a right towards the West Side Highway I think I hear what
sounds like my name if it were to be both belched and shrieked simultaneously, regardless of how impossible it might be physiologically. I turn. It’s my cousin. Totally possible.

Fact: The West Side Highway is long. Like, ridiculously long. When I
say long I mean I could have watched the entire extended directors cut of “Schindler’s List” with all the bonus DVD features during the time it took me to run this stretch of road. Ok, maybe that’s a lie, but it sure felt like it. I blame Angela for putting the “OMG it took foreeeeeeeever for mile 12 to come I wanted to die” thought in my head the day before.  In all likelihood it probably was because it was the only part of the race that was not askew (a word that in my opinion is totally underused). As I got closer and closer to the finish line I had to turn my iPod off because A) there were way too many DJ’s blasting over played Journey songs (thanks a lot “Glee”) and B) there were so many awesome people cheering and shouting hilarious things at the runners that I had to listen (Side Note: was anyone else weirded
out at the turn by those dancing, flipping, singing, capoeira-ing, Brazilians on that float/stage? I may be exaggerating but it was like some “Wizard of Oz” flying monkey acid trip gone terribly wrong.
Obviously I still have some childhood issues to work out).

The last 500 meters I turned on the jets (relatively speaking) because
I just wanted the thing to be over. I guess something about seeing the finish line brings that out in a person. About 50 meters out I ran by my final support group consisting of my parents, my brother, and my
adopted Italian family. I would have missed them entirely if it weren’t for the mother’s screaming me down. It was highly entertaining as the men just sat back doing the finger point behind them. It was a
very cool moment. Crossing the finish line was a bit anti climatic as it turned from a “wow I just did that” to a “wow it’s kind of cold now that I stopped running. Where do I get one of those tin foil alien
blankets?” I guess it’s one of those things you don’t really think a lot about when you’re doing it in the moment, but rather something that becomes increasingly badass and self-satisfying when you think
about it in following days, weeks, months, etc. Even though I basically went into the whole thing not thinking it’d be a big deal and griping every so often, I’m glad I got “tricked” into doing because it’s something that I’ll always know I did. And that’s the whole point.

Thanks to everyone that helped out over the months leading up to the
race. I couldn't have done it without out you.
there you have it, folks.  thanks seth for the guest blogging.  and a very big pat on the back to yours truly, improving lives one irishman at a time.



At April 8, 2011 at 12:27 PM , Blogger nkuh said...

love it! so bummed i missed seeing the run!

At April 8, 2011 at 11:01 PM , Anonymous Noah said...

Great work!


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