I am a sucker for:
-a race, especially a 5k;
-a gimmick, such as running through a tunnel or over a bridge;
-and peer pressure.
In other words, a 5k over the Brooklyn Bridge that a few of my running friends were doing was an absolute no-brainer for me.
Problem is... I went out and ran 17 miles on Saturday. And then I couldn't get to bed on time Saturday night. So maybe I wasn't in peak form Sunday morning. I thought about bailing and said, "No. You're meeting your friend on the subway platform and you're dressed. Just go." I got out the door and my friend texted me to say she was bailing. I went anyway.
Long story, short: Bridges aren't flat. Races the day after long runs aren't pretty or easy. My goal was anything under 30 minutes, but they didn't have a chip mat at the start. The course was not that wide. More confusingly, the walkway wasn't closed off to non-race traffic. And, I didn't bring my Garmin (and they had no clocks or mile markers on the course). So, I missed my goal and have an official time of 30:41. Still under a 10 minute mile, at least. I won't lose sleep over it.
For as cynical as I sound about the whole thing, it was kind of cool. A race with a good cause is always touching (and it doesn't get too much more poignant than a dead police officer if you ask me). I met Sgt. Ferguson's aunt at bag check and evidently his mom was greeting the finishers (I missed her). Also, there was a moment as we were headed back when two girls behind me said, "Look! There's the Statue of Liberty!!" and started squealing about it. If that's not a really, really cool way to start a morning, I don't know what is.
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"