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A Great Run for a Great Cause

11/15/2009

This morning was one of the more fun runs I’ve participated in.  The Damon Runyon 5k in Yankee Stadium, not around, or near, in it.

As soon as my friend Alison sent the link for the race Matt and I were both pumped up and excited to get to partake in such a cool event.  What a thought, running a race inside a stadium!  I was very curious how they were going to map it out, and so when we got the email with the directions in it late this week, I read it right away.  I was overwhelmed.

•    START LINE on the 100 level concourse, near Section 120
•    Run/walk two laps around the 100 level concourse
•    After second lap, near Section 126, turn left behind concessions, then take ramp to sub-zero level
•    Run/walk through the sub-zero level
•    Exit the sub-zero level between the Bullpen and Monument Park, turn right onto warning track
•    Run/walk two laps around the warning track that circles the field
•    Exit warning track to the right, return to sub-zero level
•    Run/walk back through sub-zero level, turn left toward right field stairs
•    Climb 103 steps to 200 level concourse
•    Run/walk the length of the 200 level concourse toward left field stairs (near Section 234)
•    Climb 64 steps to 300 level concourse
•    Run/walk the length of the 300 level concourse
o    Water stop located in front of Jim Beam Suite near Section 320
o    Restrooms accessible
•    At Section 310, turn right down ramp near Gate 6, then take ramp down to the Great Hall
•    Run/walk short distance through Great Hall (please stay to your right)
•    Turn right up the Great Hall stairs to 200 level concourse
•    Climb 55 steps to 200 level concourse
•    Run/walk the length of the 200 level concourse toward left field stairs (near Section 234)
•    Climb 64 steps to 300 level concourse
•    Run/walk the length of the 300 level concourse
o    Water stop located in front of Jim Beam Suite near Section 320
o    Restrooms accessible
•    At Section 310, turn right down ramp near Gate 6, then take ramp down to the Great Hall
•    Run/walk short distance through to FINISH LINE in Great Hall (please stay to your left)

Right?  Wow.  I started to get nervous.  That’s a lot of stairs!  I don’t think anyone can be prepared to run stairs unless you constantly train on them.  Most NYers are good on stairs, we walk them to get out of the subway, to get up to our apartments, etc, but running is a different story.

To top off the great experience this race was sure to provide, I decide to fundraise for it after exploring the charity.  I’ll let you read for yourself- but check out the info here: http://www.damonrunyon.org/why_us .  It was easy for me to get on board with this organization.  I started with a small goal, and tripled it easily over the few weeks I raised money.  Thank you so much to everyone who donated.  What a great feeling it was to participate fully in this event.

So how did it go?  Awesome.  Running through the stadium and experiencing it in this unique way was something I won’t soon forget.  You don’ t have to be a Yankee’s fan, or even a baseball fan to appreciate that not many people will have the opportunity we did to race through the field (yes, we got to run the warning track, wow!), run up stairs and down winding ramps.  The volunteers were fantastic and they had music pumping all over the stadium.  I finished strong and immediately thought, “I can’t wait until next year!”

The stairs, oh the stairs, they were hard I won’t lie.  Some of the walkers who saw me after asked how the stairs were, they hadn’t been allowed to go yet as the race was done in heats, and I said, “I won’t lie, they sucked.”  I can already feel the soreness in my knees and butt from them.  It probably didn’t help that I started the first set taking them two at a time, yeah that didn’t last long.  I think the hardest part was adjusting my breathing once I got to the top.

Now, the warning track- so cool.  You run out of the bowels of the stadium and all of a sudden you’re surrounded by lush grass and you’re on the field, the field that pro baseball players play on, the field a world series was just won on, one where very few non- baseball players get to go.  You can look up and see the whole stadium rise above you.  All that was going through my head was, “wow”.

At one point as I was running through an empty concourse I thought about the blue piece of paper safety pinned to the back of my shirt that said, “In Memory of Dad” and I realized, he’s right here with me, he’s on my back, running along with me, getting to take this all in too.  I pushed harder.

Couple all that with the great organization we were running for, it was fairly overwhelming.  It all goes by so quickly, as most 5Ks do for me now.  Hence, me thinking as soon as I stopped, I can’t wait until next year.

I was too competitive to do what many did and stop and take pictures and really truly take the scene in.  Since Matt was in a later heat, I did get to watch him run and take in the great experience of being on the field.  I saw him pause and take in the final world series score, I saw him look around and up at the stadium where his favorites play each summer.  It was lovely, and I was happy.

Typically on Saturday nights as I hit the hay early to get rested before a Sunday race I think, “Why do I do this to myself?” and then I finish a race like this, and I know most certainly why.

Alison and Me

A&A

Gear

Our Gear- 99 and 100, awww

A&M

Finished!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 11/17/2009 2:52 pm

    You were much more disciplined than me. I was ones of those people stopping every minute to take photos lol. I kinda wished I could re-run to get a better read on my time. Oh well.. what a great experience! So what triathlons do you do? My friend and I wanted to find one in New York-preferably something not too far from Long Island for either the summer or next fall (We have never done one and so we would need a few months to train.)

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