Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Off to a running start in 2008!

Official Race Video | Photos | Soldiers in Iraq Video

I was in heaven last night. I can't recommend strongly enough to all my fellow Big Cat runners and others out there to ring in a future New Year by entering the Emerald Nuts Midnight Run at Central Park. It was 100,000 times more enjoyable than being in Times Square for the ball drop. And to make it even more special, it was preceded by U.S. Armed Forces soldiers running the "same" event in Iraq at their own midnight -- a joint effort that was off the hook.

This is a four-mile "fun run" that is perfectly organized, and from listening to other runners it just grew tremendously between last year and this year in terms of entries. Matt Dillon was among more than 4,700 runners in the event, wearing bib No. 4949, and I believe Ann Curry was right next to me at the start line. It is indescribably beautiful to watch fireworks explode over your head at the stroke of midnight for a new year -- your signal to start running. Going up Cat Hill on the east drive, I ran backwards so I could keep watching the fireworks.

I have no idea what my time is, and if you want to know in this event, you need to just use your watch. But truthfully, it's just a fun jog where you laugh your butt off at the costumes -- like the pair of runners dressed as Christmas presents, or the guys wearing business suits, etc. Costumes are unbelievable. So was the big blue sign that said "CHAMPAGNE" at the 2 Mile marker on the 102nd Street Transverse. To fully appreciate what my night was like, please click each of these youtube videos I posted below, because it took all day to get them uploaded:

I was going to carry my camera in my fuel belt along with juju juice. I had bought vodka and cranberry juice and grapefruit juice, and I filled up my four flasks of my Nathan fuel belt. But I decided to leave the juju juice and fuel belt at home, because I'm not in college anymore and I had a better time than I would have trying to run drunk. So I didn't take pictures/videos between the pre-race costume contest and the postrace dancing. Roxygen asked what it's like to run Central Park at midnight. Answer: PHENOMENAL. It is powerfully lit the entire way, and as I said there are thousands of runners. There are police who yell "Happy New Year" to you, there are volunteers galore. There are fans throughout the course who cheer you on, and you just giggle and laugh and run. It's awesome.

After I picked up my bag at the Baggage area, I walked home and popped open my bubbly and just enjoyed the night. Next time I'm not going it alone, though.

We're literally off and running in 2008. It was so cool to know that my first run of this calendar year was literally as the clock struck midnight. I am looking ahead to a big year in every way, including the Manhattan Half-Marathon later this month, the St. Louis Marathon in April, my second New York City Marathon in November, and many other big events to be scheduled along the way. I still have so much to learn from my fellow runners; I have strength training to dive into, weight to lose, big personal objectives to accomplish and am so excited.


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