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Damon Runyon 5K

August 25, 2013 Leave a comment

I am a week late with the Damon Runyon 5K recap, but hey, better late than never. Right?

On an overcast Sunday morning, I participated in my second consecutive Damon Runyon 5K at Yankee Stadium. And unlike last year I have every reason to be happy – lightning did not strike twice.

To start things out I nearly canceled my participation in the 5K. Two weeks before the race while on a walk in Hoboken, I twisted my left ankle on uneven pavement. The injury was not as bad as I thought. I was able to put weight on the ankle. When I got home and inspected my foot, I did not sustain any bruising or swelling. That alone was a positive. But to be on the safe side, I opted to miss a few days of working out. For those who know me, I have a long history of twisting/rolling each ankle. With a race looming I did not want to take any chances.

For the two weeks, I rested the ankle. I rehabbed the ankle. But being antsy after four days, I decided to return to the gym. The ankle felt good, a bit weak, but nevertheless it felt good. Hopping on the elliptical my first day back, I did not miss a step. Sixty minutes is all I needed. In sixty minutes my mobility felt good. That was all of the testing I needed to do.

While the ankle felt good, I did not overdo the training.

Race day came. I was excited. At that point I was preparing to participate in my second race this year. In July, I ran in the MLB ASG 5K at Prospect Park. Heading into this race I knew for a fact a personal best was out of the question. However, considering last years circumstances, a course record was going to be had. For those that are curious to know I received a “DNF” (Did Not Finish) in last years Damon Runyon 5K. I prematurely completed the race. After discovering the “DNF” a few days later, I vowed to run the event in 2013 and redeem myself.

Arriving at Yankee Stadium, I lined up in my assigned “heat”. Quite frankly to be assigned in heat 2 is a major accomplishment. Of course, the assignments are based on the designated time the participant provides to the organization during the application process. In prior races I have been assigned in Heats 4 or 6. To be assigned heat 2 was a step in the right direction. And at the same time I felt pressure to complete the race at a decent time.

Heat 2

Heat 2

As the first four heats walked inside the main concourse of Yankee Stadium, we were greeted by the press and a couple of speakers. I met one of the best sportscasters in the NY area, WNBC’s Scott Stanford. Scott Stanford made his mark on being the affable yet humorous sportscaster in the NYC market. And when he is not on the air in NYC, he is also a play-by-play commentator for WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment).

Scott Stanford and Jorge

Scott Stanford and Jorge

After meeting him, he went up the steps at Yankee Stadium and welcomed the runners to the Fifth Annual Damon Runyon 5K. He informed the crowd the organization raised a total of over $730 thousand for cancer research. The organization is a reason why I wanted to participate.

The first heat made its way to the start line. As I stretched, I mentally prepared myself. One thing about me that some do not know, I am competitive. I do not run to win. But I surely do not run to finish last. I give my all. No matter the race. No matter organization, I run to finish.

After heat 1 rounded the 100 level concourse, heat 2 soon lined up at the start line. I get into a zone. Preparation is key. One of the organizations speakers started a countdown. As soon as he said “1”, I was on my way.

Unlike last month’s race, I felt great. I did not feel winded. I did not want stop. My ankle even felt great. Nothing was going to stop me.

After rounding the 100 level’s twice and head to the bowels of Yankee Stadium. A dream for any baseball fan is to run on the same field as their favorite ball players. And while I am a die hard Mets fan, I received the opportunity to run along the warning track and backstop at Yankee Stadium. This is the same field the New York Yankees won the World Series in 2009. No other ball park comes close. And that is coming from a Mets fan.

A Dream Come True

A Dream Come True

Once the dream come true came to an end, the real challenge of the race began. Participants had to run along the bowels of Yankee Stadium and begin their long climb to the 200 levels. A 103 stair climb is the first obstacle. After the 103rd step, I felt fatigued. Nevertheless, I trekked on. Running the length of the level, I came across another stair case. Unlike the last stair case, participants had to climb 64 steps. Upon completing the 64 steps, the participant had to run the length of the 300 level.

Fatigue was setting in. But I knew my body would allow me to continue. I continued on. Slow and tired, I eventually made my across the 300 level. I received my second wind after going down a number of ramps.

By the time I reached the bottom, I refused to prematurely finish the race. And hey, the organization plastered what to do next on the ground. I continued to the right. And climb a total of 119 stairs between to the 200 and 300 levels. Yup. This was not your conventional 5K.

I had nothing left. I wanted to stop at that point. But the end was near. I ran down the ramp. And stayed to my left. I crossed the finish line at 26:47. 26:47? I was shocked to read that. Considering the amount of steps I climbed, I was two minutes and change off my personal best. I could not be any happier.

Unlike Last Year, I Earned This Medal

Unlike Last Year, I Earned This Medal in 2013.

Out of 2,559, I finished in 133rd place.

I enjoyed the moment. But I moved on. Now I am focused on the Tunnel to Towers 5K on September 29. It will once again be an honor to run that event.

Until then…see you.

Brooklyn here I come.