When my son asked me if I wanted to run in another 1 mile race, my inner voice started screaming “you’ve got to be kidding!” The 1 mile run I participated in the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend was enough for me. I felt extremely lucky that my knees did not fail me, my lungs did not explode and miraculously I ran the mile in 11 minutes and 10 seconds without having to call the paramedics. All was right with the world.
Since that unbelievable day, I decided to keep “training” in the event I would start to develop those feel good endorphins runners always talk about. I also wanted to keep up any gains I’ve made in the stamina department although on any given day I wonder how much stamina I really have, So, the thought of running in another race with dogs, no less, was both intoxicating and overwhelming but I found myself saying yes. The run was a few weeks away so I knew that in addition to my Zumba classes I would have to incorporate at least a 1 mile run on the treadmill at least three times a week.
As a member of a beginner running club over the summer, I learned that music was the only way I could get through the training. If I did not have my headphones firmly in place, each step and every minute was excruciatingly endless. I began training in earnest. Hard as I might I was not able to duplicate my 11 minute 10 second personal best of the Labor Day Weekend. The best time I was able to come close to was 12 minutes. I decided that was good enough.
The Wednesday before the Saturday run, I had to go to California for business so into my suitcase went my sneakers, knee brace, and running paraphernalia. Considering jet lag, meeting with customers and staying up later than usual, I set my alarm for 5 am to make sure I got my “run” in. Each morning, as the shrill alarm taunted me, I resisted. Lying there for what seemed like an eternity, my inner voice providing compelling arguments, worthy of a Perry Mason summation, of why I should forego the gym and remain in bed. Perry lost, and I trudged to the gym.
Saturday arrived sooner than later. Getting home from California at midnight the night before and not sleeping a wink on the plane, I was a little nervous of how physically fit I would feel the morning of. To my surprise and delight I felt absolutely fine. As we drive into Manhattan, the traffic obeyed and we sailed in without a hitch. Jade, my son’s two year old pit was luxuriating in the back of my husband’s truck, in all of her glory. When we reached Hudson River Park’s Pier 26, the home of the Strut You Mutt NYC 5K and Walk, the sea of dogs and their quirky owners swelled up to meet us.
Dogs of all shapes, sizes, breeds and non breeds were in attendance. Dogs were dressed in tutus, clown costumes, bandanas and anything else you can imagine. Some dogs were up for adoption and wore green adopt me vests so that they were readily identifiable for anyone interested in adopting a pet. There were tented booths including face painting, doggie toothpaste and applicators, a photo booth, outfits that every well dressed pooch would covet, and a whole host more. There was a stage contest for the best doggie trick, a doggie kissing contest and a Rescue Runway of Adoptable Dogs.
The 5K Race began at 9 am, just as we arrived. Not to worry, the 1 mile race, which we had registered for was set to start at 9:30. We took our time scouting out the place and visiting the vendors as we waited for the 1 mile run to start. We were ready. We prepared. Our headphones and iPhone were snuggly secure in their armbands and my knee brace was in place. As the event promoters took to the stage announcing the start of the walk, my son and I shared confused looks. One mile walk?? What happened to the 1 mile race? As the throngs of walkers and their dogs assembled we realized that the only running that was to be done as part of this event was the 5K run which started 30 minutes ago.
As we began to laugh uncontrollably we knew, at this point, there was only one thing we could do, and that was run. With Jade in tow, we began our own 1 mile run, in the opposite direction of the walkers. Hudson River Park’s Pier 26 is a wonderful place to run. The views of the harbor and Manhattan skyline are breathtaking. As we ran along the trail heading south, we saw people on Jet Ski’s enjoying the last remnants of summer, artists turning canvases into beautiful works of art, meditation gardens beckoning both the stressed out visitor and those seeking a modicum of peace and a chance to just relax if only for a moment. Of course my son, without putting in the days of practice I had, dusted me, ah the gift of youth, but I did okay.
I am continually amazed by the path my life continues to take. I could never have imagined that I would have run two races in one month or I that I actually looked forward to both races. Keeping your mind open to the universe is a wonderful thing. Not only will new opportunities unveil themselves to you, but the precious and memorable moments my son and I spent together the day of the run was priceless.