Monday, September 15, 2014

A Sort Of Homecoming

And you hunger for the time,time to heal desire time and your earth moves beneath your own dream landscape,oh,oh,oh on borderland we run and still we run,we run and don't look back I'll be there tonite
And your heart beats so slow through the rain and fallen snow across the fields of mourning lights in the distance oh don't sorow,oh don't weap for tonite at last I am coming home
A Sort Of Homecoming U2

I've talked b4 about my affinity to New York City,while I'll never be able to lay claim to "Native New Yorker" status the fact is since my first visit to The Big Apple in 1990 for the New York City Marathon I've been facinated by it to the point where I adopted NYC as my second home.....and somewhere along the line I feel New York City adopted me,Native New Yorker,nah Adopted New Yorker definately!!!
So how does someone like me who grew up South East London for the first 24 years of his life only to spend the next 27 and counting living in Philadelphia have such a love of New York City???? the answer my friends is NOT "blowin' in the wind" but lies deep in the heart of my heritage
Coming from a long line of "sheep stealers and cattle rustlers" NYC will always appeal to the Paddy in me,after all it's where the majority of my ancestors ended up after Ellis Island having crossed the Atlantic to escape the famine way back when.
They said "Paddy built the railroads" but I dare say he had a hand in the skyscrapers that make up the Manhattan skyline and lets not forget the percentage of New York's finest who are Irish,it's no wonder in his prime Eamonn Coghlan said running at Madison Square Garden was like running at home in Dublin w/ all the support he got in New York
So where does the Londoner in me fit in to Manhattan you ask? simple from the first time I visited New York City in 90 I felt the pace,the vibe and the attitude of the city reminded me of London which is probably why I keep coming back it's gone from reminding me of home to becoming a second home and at a two hour bus ride and often under $25 round trip it not only closer to home but a damn sight cheaper!!!!

Up at the ungoldly hour of 5.30am I had time for tea and some flatbread breakfast never go into battle on a empty stomach afterall!!! b4 heading over to 30th St to hop the Megabus to we pulled out from 30th St at 7.06am and I got off the bus at 7th Ave & 28th St at 9am....the quickest bus ride I've ever had to New York.....but frankly at 7am on a Saturday there should be next to no traffic on the roads!!!
W/ the best part of two hours to kill{gun time for the M50 race was 10.55am} I opted to walk up 5th Avenue,in the same way when I am home in Central London I tend to walk rather than jump on the tube and enjoy the sights,afterall I don't get to stroll 5th Avenue everyday plus ever the good Irish catholic I wanted to bless myself when I passed St Partick's Cathedral.....maybe a better Irish catholic would;ve gone in,said a prayer,lit a candle but hey I never said I was perfect!!!!

Upto The Met just above 80th St to pick up my race # and drop my bag off b4 a brief warm up and stretch b4 the always "fun" part of 5th Avenue Mile the start which frankly is a clusterfuck at best but add that they lump the men AND women's 50-59 age group together where as in all the other age groups they run men and women seperate just adds to the problems of getting a good start when the gun goes off.
After the initial bumpin' and bangin' I got a clear run on the right hand side of 5th Avenue{a plus of this being my 7th time running the race is I know all the nuances of the start} and hit the front w/in the opening 200m
68 seconds at 400m which was what I was aiming for.
Knowing the second quarter mile has a slight uphill I wasn't too concerned to see 2.22 on the digital clock on the pace car ahead of me a 74 second split.
Cresting the top of the incline at 800m I tried to "let out the clutch and freewheel" the downhill I didn't know how close anyone was behind me but I wasn't going to look over my shoulder and look either I had to hope I just had to hope there was enough daylight between me and the pack.

I didn't check my 1,200m split I think I was too preoccupied w/ working on my knee lift and leg turn over and trying to visualize a final 400m on the track like I had in the six Decathlete's Miles I'd ran in training since the 1,500m in Winston Salem at Nationals eight weeks ago.
Between 200m to go and the 1,500m sign Gerry O Hara blew by me on my left hand side,if this had been a cartoon this is where my legs would have turned to rubber as I felt them buckle,I was helpless to respond and could only give chase as the finishline loomed.
4.41 some 4 seconds behind Gerry but 6 second ahead of Connor O Driscoll,three Paddies in New York City I mean jaysus what were the odds!!!!!!.
Was I disappointed to lose the race inside the final 200m? hell yeah but all credit to Gerry who bided his time and made the decisive move when he had to,had I have know he had recently ran a 4.34 road mile I might have played hunter and tucked in behind him instead of hunted and trying to win it from the front.

Live by the sword,die by the sword I always say,I've won my share of races by hitting the front and taking control of the race but I've also come up short where someone has caught me b4 the finishline and today was one of those days.
My record at 5th Avenue mile reads:10th,1st,1st,4th,4th,8th,2nd no too shabby and after a two year hiatus from "The Big Dance" it was good to be back,a year is a long time but hopefully I'll be back next September to win a third 5th Avenue Mile,one thing's for sure I'll be back in New York City a bunch of times between now and then in the "City That Never Sleeps" dreams more often than not come to fruition and to take a final Bono quote from "Bad" I'm wide awake,I'm not sleeping......

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