I’ve always been a huge fan of the movies. Some people love comedies, others like serious drama films, and still others get a thrill from a well-made horror flick. Me? I’m a fan of movies that contain an underdog. Movies where the main character gets knocked down time and again, and then rises to fight on. Movies like Invincible (the film that told the story of a local Philly guy that actually made the Philadelphia Eagles), Miracle (the Disney flick that told the story of the 1980 US Hockey Team), The Rookie (another Disney flick about a guy that makes a professional baseball team in his late 30’s), and Rudy (of course – the ultimate underdog film….go Irish). In each of these movies, the main character(s) did four specific things: they set a huge goal, they worked/ trained hard to achieve it, they got up every time they were knocked down or bloodied, and they didn’t quit even after they felt the sting of defeat. These are the characteristics of a good athlete, a solid parent, and a competent leader. On Saturday, I had a goal, I did train hard to achieve it, and I felt the sting of defeat as I inured my knee somewhere between laps 4 & 5 or 5 & 6 (it’s all a darn blur). The good thing is, I’ll get up after this knockdown.
The New York City 60k is run annually, 2 weeks after the TCS New York City Marathon. It’s 37.2 miles – 9 laps of Central Park. It’s a tough race – the chill in the air, the unpredictable weather, the repetition of terrain, the feeling of solitude in the late laps as others finish while the back-of-the-packers soldier on, and those Central Park hills add up to make this one rough yet rewarding athletic experience. It is a well-supported race, and I would recommend it to people looking for a challenging ultra marathon in the New York City area. I’ve already put this race once again on my calendar for 2018 – I’m not going to stop until I finish this one.
When I rowed crew in college, I recall one thing that Coach Steve used to tell us after a race where we did well but did not come in first. I recall him looking at the four of us, sitting in our shell exhausted, and saying “OK – third place. Well done. Just remember: you didn’t lose. There is no such thing as losing. It’s either you win or you learn. Period.” That stuck with me, and it still rings true to this day. I lost. OK – what did I learn?
- I need to drop more weight – if there’s less of me to drag around for 37.2 miles, the whole race will be a bit easier.
- I need to log more average miles on the weekend, at a slightly slower pace. I have to embrace what I’ve told a bunch of first time marathoners: slow is smooth and smooth is fast.
- I have to let an injury heal, and stop being so impatient.
- On rest days, focusing on diet and not caving in to a craving for Oreos counts as training.
- Five hours sleep a night just isn’t enough.
The cool thing is, last weekend’s races are over….but the sport of running never ends. It’s there whenever you need it.