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A Runner’s Diary: Keep On Pushing!

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My daughter and I got to the public school building on 81st Street between Park and Madison with plenty of time to spare. We sat in my car, which was parked outside, waiting for our running club to start.  We talked for a little while before entering the auditorium.

Once we were in the auditorium, we sat down and looked around. Everyone looked like a “real” runner. No one looked familiar at all. At about 6:30, we both looked at each other and realized that something was wrong. The class usually starts on time at 6:15 pm.

“Should I ask one of the coaches or should we just hang here?” I asked my daughter. She shook her head. I let a few more minutes go by and I decided to ask a coach who was standing by the door.

“That class is already upstairs stretching,” she said. I went back to tell my daughter and we quickly ran up three flights of stairs to the gymnasium. We both laughed the entire way up.

When we got upstairs there was a group of people sitting on the floor waiting for the coaches to come back. “Did you guys stretch yet?” I asked one of the women on the floor.

“Yes, a long time ago,” she said. “We’re just waiting to go out .”

I rolled my eyes. My daughter and I started to stretch out as best as we could until the coaches came back into the gymnasium.

“Okay, for all you beginner/intermediates, we are running the great lawn in Central Park,” the coach said.

We split up into groups and off we ran down the stairs and out the school door onto the street. We ran two blocks to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and ran to the Great Lawn. “This is just a warm up,” the coach told us.

“Now, we’re going to try something new,” the coach explained. “We’re going to do a centipede. Does anyone know what that means?”

I didn’t. So the coach explained to me that we will split into two groups, a fast group and a slow group. We will circle around the Great Lawn for at least 20 minutes without stopping. Everyone will be running in a line and the last one on the line needs to speed up as fast as possible to get in front of the first person on line.

The coaches put my daughter and me into the fast group. The next thing we knew we were off and running. The slow pace wasn’t so slow and the fast pace was extremely fast! We must have gone around the Great Lawn about four times.

Every time the woman behind me took off, I took off after her. She was fast. I went fast too. I was breathing so hard that everyone in the line could hear me.

The last four minutes were incredibly hard. We were all so tired. It was funny because there was one woman who told me that she was transferred from the intermediate class down to our class and she walked most of the way, but her walk was as fast as our run.

We had a couple of older women in our line and boy could they run. I couldn’t believe how fast this one woman in particular could run!

When we were finished, one of the men in the group said to me, “Thanks for leading us on. You kept us motivated.” I was shocked but it made me feel really good.

Everyone in the group gave each other a high five and we finished off the training by stretching on the grass.


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About Hilary Topper