Seeing as my knee has been feeling better (thankfully) I was signed up for Grete's Great Gallop 1/2 Marathon - a race in New York's Central Park put on by the New York Road Runners. I was pretty excited to race this after almost an entire summer off of racing and competing. My running in the week leading up was good, and I threw in a tempo run on Tuesday to see how my pace and endurance was.
It was terrible.
My heart rate was through the roof, and I was going 30 seconds slower than I was during tempo runs in July. It was quite demoralizing. Not that I should have expected miracles to occur, but I thought I would have been in a better place than this.
Saturday morning arrived, and my wife JL (also running the 1/2) and I were mustering around the house getting ready for the race. JL has been having some IT band issues, and long story short she wasn't up for race. As I had resigned myself to using this as a training run instead of a full-on race, I had no problem bagging it and staying at home. I figured I'd run on Sunday (today) and get a good ride in the books instead of running on Saturday (yesterday).
Great ride. Weather was perfect: cool, slightly overcast, and low humidity after a week of tremendous amounts of rain in the New York City area. My road bike and I really enjoyed the morning (my TT rig is in mothballs for the off-season). On the home stretch, about 5 miles from my house, I saw a guy walking his bike on the sidewalk. I slowed down and asked if he was okay. He said yeah, but his rear tire was flat. I stopped and asked if he needed a tube or anything. He waffled a bit, explained that he thought he damaged the valve at home pumping up his tires, and that he was fine and only had 3 or so miles to go before he was home. He didn't have a spare tube and was fine walking.
I decided that the right thing to do was to up my karma ante for the fall. I got of my bike and told him to get the rear wheel off. As I gave him a once-over while we introduced ourselves I noticed that, while he was wearing bike shorts, he was wearing a cotton t-shirt, running shoes, and had flat pedals with toe straps. It was a decent Specialized road bike, but he was most likely new to the whole cycling thing. No problem. 5 minutes later I had burned a tube and a CO2 cartridge, but he was up and running and on his way. Come to find he's the village Judge for my little hamlet. Hopefully he remembers my name if I ever get into a spot of trouble.
Anyway, Sunday (today) came and I got in a good run. Only 8 miles on the trails, but I didn't feel like I needed to do any more than that. I was out for just under an hour and it was great looping through the Leatherstocking Trail section near my house. The Paine to Pain trail 1/2 Marathon was being held today - I ran it last year, but again, no more racing for me this year - and as I'm familiar with the course it was fun to see all the marking and signage up ready for the athletes.
A nice hot shower later (again, cool temps today) and I did some bike maintenance: new tires on my road bike, and I swapped cleats from JLs' old road bike shoes to her new ones. A busy, busy weekend!
Oh, and an opinion
This past week, in two days time, I experienced not only an idiot driver on my morning ride but also an idiot cyclist while on the way to work. The idiot driver, while acknowledging that he saw me, felt it prudent to do a u-turn in the road requiring me to lock up my brakes to avoid hitting his car. At the light that he was then stopped at I asked him if he even saw me (yeah, I got a little lippy). He said "...yeah, there was plenty of room....shut the f*** up". Okay, thanks pal - have a nice day! And to make matters more interesting there was a village police cruiser right behind me during this whole thing. Clearly not interested in the illegal u-turn or the fact that there was almost an accident.
The next day on the way to work I was crossing the road (with everyone else in downtown Manhattan) outside of Grand Central Terminal. We had the right of way, and the walk sign was lit. Yelling to the left of me caused me to pause, as a cyclist in a full racing kit comes weaving through the crowd of people yelling at us to stay out of the way. Excuse me? Really?
In the battle between cyclists and car owners, EVERYONE needs to play nice. It's unfortunate that the idiots on both sides of the argument make it difficult to find a happy, medium, ground.