In my early 30’s when I lived in San Francisco, I had a habit of running 10k’s. All for fun. And they were fun. Whether in Santa Cruz, the east bay in Danville, or hilly SF, it was an excuse to run shoulder-to-shoulder alongside thousands of other runners for a distance not too long, but enough to experience an uncomfortable grit.
10k’s, as they are called, is probably the most popular running event around the country. The why is confounding. Yes, it’s 10 kilometers, but every 10k race is marked, timed, and paced in miles, not kilometers. Six miles, plus .2 for good measure. I suppose the extra .2 is for the benefit of complicating calculations.
I’ve never had a desire to run much more than 10k. As I felt then, and now, running marathon distance is something best left for crazy people. My hats off to them. A marathon is a lot more grit than I’m willing to cope with.
But since this was only a 10k, when GV invited me to run two days ago, (she is training for the New York City marathon this fall), I had to consider it an unexpected gift. A friend of hers who had registered happens to be in Cannes, France, receiving a design award and couldn’t make it. So I ran in his place with his id chip imbedded in the placeholder tag I wore.
GV and he are both members of the New York Roadrunners club, the largest running club in the world. Since this club sponsors the NYC marathon, racing nine of their events throughout the year guarantees a spot in the succeeding year’s marathon.
Since the Roadrunner’s club switches race venues among the city’s boroughs, the experience was heightened by being on subway lines filled with race participants sporting registration numbers on their chests, all heading to the same place in Queens.
For GV, today’s run was a walk in the park (she ran). She has been running half-marathons in preparation for later this year, so running a 10k is a light race for her. For me, not having trained and full of antibiotics, it gently pressed my outer limits and reinforced the notion that I’d be happy never to run a marathon. But all-in-all, it was a satisfying run, especially knowing that I contributed to someone else’s marathon requirements in exchange for 52 minutes of huffing/puffing and a tee shirt.
Bottom line (of this post), if you are looking for some splash-in-the-pan fun with a heavy dose of heavy breathing, then find yourself a 10k. And if it’s unexpected, all the better.