Central Park, New York, July 15, 2006 - "There's a pool in Central Park?" was the standard response when I told people I was going running and swimming in Central Park. Yes, there is indeed a pool at the very north end of the park, farther north than many of our friends apparently venture. Well, I hadn't heard of the pool either until a race along the main loop of the park took me right past it a couple of summers ago. And it seemed far more inviting than actually finishing the race (though finish I did).
Well, the annual Dash and Splash is a five-mile race through the park, after which all runners are invited to the pool. Which is most welcome after a five-mile race, of course. The pool is only open to race participants for a few hours, meaning no bratty kids, and also ensuring that everyone in the pool is fit and in-shape :-) It's a great idea; too bad it's not done after every summertime race.
This was the first race I had done since September, and the first time I had run as many as five miles at once since last July's Run Hit Wonder because of my Achilles tendonitis. Oh, the joys of aging. I had stopped running altogether for about eight months; after a couple months of physical therapy, my doctor said I could get back on my feet and try again. I can't say my tendon is 100% better, but it's good enough. Right now it's my quadriceps that are really sore; after the race and the swim, I walked back with my friends all the way from the pool at 108th Street to the subway at 50th Street. Then I got home, showered, turned around and went back into Manhattan to go clothes shopping for my upcoming trip, which meant even more walking. But it also means I now have a new Armani suit from Saks - not at all where I was expecting to shop, but hey, it was an extremely good sale, and it's the first suit I've bought in nearly twenty years.
Funny story: at my niece's baptism a couple of weeks ago, I was bragging to my sister-in-law that I was so in shape that I was still able to fit perfectly into the suit I bought freshman year of college. To which she replied "You're wearing a twenty-year-old suit??!!" I should say that was not the response I was looking for. She later claimed that, despite the way it sounded, she wasn't casting aspersions on the suit's style; it's a conservative enough suit that I didn't look hopelessly out of fashion. No, it was more an exclamation of surprise that I could have kept a suit in such good condition for so long. (It shouldn't be that surprising, considering I wear it about once every couple of years).
But it got me thinking that maybe it was indeed time for something new. The trip was the extra kick I needed. So now I don't have to buy another suit until I'm 55. Whew, glad that's out of the way.
Anyway, having not been training much at all, I knew I wouldn't come close to beating my personal best, but at least I beat my goal of 40 minutes by four whole seconds. And the pool was most refreshing. And yes, there is a pool in Central Park.