A Year In New York

A Daily Bite of the Big Apple

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Day 50: Running Hard

August 15th · No Comments

I just started a 10-week skills clinic offered by the New York Road Runners to get a swift kick in the butt. Running in Central Park is pleasant, but these sleek New Yorkers keep passing me.

Class met at P.S. 6 (that’s Public School 6) on East 81st Street and I expected that, who knows, 20 or 30 runners would show. Instead a hundred or more lean, clean-jawed runners sat in the auditorium, glancing around to check out the competition.

Bob Glover took the stage. Glover, a tall, lean, gray-haired man in a bright yellow singlet, is something of a legend as a coach with the NYRR (I have his book in my library). With an alert authority, he told us we’d be running six 600-meter repeats in the Park, at end-of-marathon, finish-line pace.

“How many people here are training for the New York Marathon?” he asked. Half the hands went up.

He and three assistants led us at a jog through the Park and to the south end of West Park Drive. Usually I run in the mornings and I was astonished at how many creatures come out at dusk.

It was like a college track meet with six events going on at the same time: sprinters here, joggers there, a woman with a German shepherd, a peloton of cyclists shouting for space, a threesome of Danish tourists in square eyeglasses, another squad of runners, a horse clopping by, pulling a carriage.

We divided into groups according to our minute-mile pace. I lined up with the 7:00 to 7:30 group and we started the first of our six intervals. Six hundred meters is the length of maybe six to eight city blocks, and right away I felt how hard this group was going to push.

Number One: catch the woman in green shorts but when I try to pass she won’t relent; Two: shirt already soaked; Three: is this 600 meters getting longer?; Four: damn, I’ll never catch that guy in the blue; Five; where’s the drinking fountain?; Six: Everyone edging for the lead, sopped with sweat, grimacing and lunging for the lightpost that marked the finish.

Tags: Sports · The Rat Race

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