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present tension » Road races

Archive for the 'Road races' Category

Welcome to Randall’s Island

Saturday, March 26th, 2005

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First, the travelogue.

For most of the last three hundred years Randall’s Island has served as an outbuilding to Manhattan, providing the distasteful municipal functions we associate with islands in the East River and Hellgate: potter’s fields, poorhouses and workhouses, insane asylums, disease quarantines, reform schools, prisons.

Currently the island is a city park, host to summer concerts, Cirque du Soleil marquees, and negro schoolchildren from Harlem who come to taste the wild swampwater. It’s recently been provided with a rubberized running track and a steel-and-concrete viewing stand that proclaims itself Icahn Stadium. I presume Icahn is none other than Carl Icahn, the leveraged-buyout sleazeball who liquidated TWA some years back.

Today I made my first visit, via borrowed schoolbus, …

Diarrhea; or, The Runs

Saturday, March 19th, 2005

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or maybe just indigestion from bad eating (see below) has struck again. Imagine me running three miles on the Coney Island Boardwalk, then six miles up Ocean Parkway (a thoroughfare I’d never seen before, but which was exactly as I’d imagined), finally up Park Circle and into Prospect Park, all the while looking for a porta-potty (or Royal Flush, to use the concession’s actual name).

Slowing Down

Sunday, March 13th, 2005

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Yesterday I decided to run a leisurely 8-mile fartlek, mostly around the reservoir. This did not come off as planned. The reservoir track was soggy with slush and mud. So I took a series of alternate routes, on the paved road and horse trails, pausing after ninety minutes to pick up my number from NYRRC on 89th Street. Then back to the park and another leisurely two miles, then back home. Felt great. I calculated I’d run somewhere between 12 and 13 miles in the course of two hours. But alas! It was too wearing on me, and when I ran the Pfizer 4-mile race today I clocked a shabby 8:05 pace. Which I would have thought quite wonderful a …

Another 5K

Sunday, March 6th, 2005

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And today, Sunday morn, I showed up for the preposterously named Coogan’s Salsa Blues & Shamrocks 5K in Washington Heights, the 553rd finisher out of 2160. Pace time was 7:55, which is unremarkable in the great scheme of things, but a Personal Best for me. This pace will be impossible to approach in the Brooklyn Half-Marathon on the 19th, where my goal is simply to keep it under nine minutes, or about 1 hr 50 minutes. I really must quit smoking in the next few days. The Paris Marathon is one month away.

As usual, the first mile seemed to go on for fifteen minutes. Bagpipers, steel drums, and mulatto girls in cheerleader outfits appeared at odd intervals, serenading us …