When I was in high school, my father used to say that I "ran with a certain crowd." My retort usually included a clarification that I, in fact, didn't run unless I was chased. By killer bees.
... which is why my plan to run a half-marathon in 2006 is so completely wacko to most of my friends. Anyhow, I decided to start 2006 off on the right foot and let Ben talk me into signing up for the Emerald Nuts New York City Central Park Run.
The weather was foul (snow, rain, hail, and sleet) as Ben and I raced the train to Hicksville yesterday afternoon. We caught it into the city and met Pete and Jen for dinner at Yaffa Cafe in the Village and then headed uptown for drinks at Brother Jimmy's Carolina Kitchen in Manhattan. I shouldn't have had that last shot, but we'll come to that later.
I've never done a "fun run," and laughed as I saw the reactions from Ben's friends when we told them our New Year's eve plans. Asim's response was probably the best. (We were eating dinner when Ben broke the news and Asim put his fork down and then looked down as he shook his head slowly from side to side.)
Anyhow, at 10 p.m., Ben and I left the warmth of Brother Jimmy's and headed for Central Park and the staging area. Once there, we danced and joined the mayhem, while watching the costume contest. Predictably, our favorites didn't even place, but that wasn't the point.
There was a dusting of snow everywhere, but the night was cold and clear when we lined up with the eight-minute mile people. Then the fireworks exploded and 5,000 people dressed in warm clothing took off. Mile one actually was an eight-minute mile. Mile two was slower and I think I made a snide remark about not drinking before a run again. But that didn't stop me from enjoying the champagne toast at mile 2 and then walking/ jogging the rest of the way. I have to hand it to Ben for being a good sport and letting me set the pace. I also appreciated all the onlookers cheering us on with high fives and shouts of "happy new year!!" along the course.
We finished at 50 minutes and I admitted that I had, in fact, had fun, although I had had my doubts earlier in the day and the week. We finished the night with calls to friends on the West Coast, and some hot cocoa and cookies before subwaying it back to Penn Station and the Long Island Railroad.