Last night was NYE. To celebrate, I decided to do the annual NYRR Emerald Nuts 4m fun run. I was curious about a run at midnight in Central Park, and everyone I know who's done it has raved about how much fun it was. It seemed like a good compromise to me - I love the idea of starting the year out right, with a run, and it would get me out and about with the crowds of revelers, but I wouldn't have to get dressed up or spend exorbitant amounts of money. Somehow I conned two friends into participating with me.
I told a few of my friends that I was doing it, and I was surprised by how many of them had done the race before. They all said that it was fun, which was a reliable endorsement. But then I noticed something: they'd all done it once. They'd all done it, they swore it was fun, and then they never went back and did it again. I think I get that now.
It was fun. There were loads of people and fireworks and free (non-alc) champagne at mile two. But... it was too fun. It turns out I'm not really into that. The course was populated by people who didn't understand common rules of racing (walk to the SIDE of the road, people!) and people wearing things like jeans, dress shoes, down jackets, etc. The problem with being my super-slow speed is that these people can, conceivably and easily, pass you. And that is WAY demoralizing.
On top of that, I was having some issues and had to stop at mile 2 to use a port-a-pottie. I have never - never - done this in a race of less than marathon distance. So, not that I was running for time, but my time was redonk slow.
So, I rang in the new year with a physically healthy but emotionally unhealthy fun run. Physically, it was great weather for a solid 4m training run. Emotionally, the mean thoughts I was having, directed toward fellow racers, were not at all nice!
On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"