When I received an e-mail from the New York Road Runners Club with an invitation to enter a lottery for the Nike Half Marathon on August 5th, 2007, I realized this was the birthday of one of my dearest friends, Debbie Shapiro. Debbie and I had been best friends as children and have known each other most of our lives. She has been an avid runner and marathoner for many more years than I. In fact she has been one of the people who inspired me to take on this new pastime.
At my urging, we both entered the lottery, but much to our dismay, she was selected and I was not! Ughh! I quickly wrote an e-mail to the NYRR and passionately pleaded with them to reconsider, since this was my lifelong friend’s birthday and we were planning to celebrate our friendship and her birthday by running in this event together. They swiftly replied, “Dear Lori, You are accepted.” Yes!!
We went into NYC the day before to stay overnight, celebrate Debbie’s birthday, and to be there in the starter’s corral in Central Park at 6:15 a.m., sharp. The morning of the race I was pretty nervous about not having run more than nine miles since April, and having taken a great deal of time off from my training due to a knee injury. There was a three hour time limit for the runners. My goal was simple this time: Finish in under three hours without getting injured and before the meat wagon picks me up!
I had the Sperber cheering section on hand in Central Park all decked out in Running on Love T-shirts. Central Park, in my humble opinion, was one gigantic hill. I couldn’t wait to get out of there! As I headed out of the park toward Times Square we had the NYPD Blue on their bull horns yelling at us in thick NY accents: “Hey you runners, its 8:30 a.m. and you’re running down Times Square! It don’t get better than that!” I couldn’t agree more.
At mile 11 the muscle cramps were setting in and I felt like I did at the end of the full marathon. Maybe worse! I began stopping and stretching periodically. I stopped at the last water stop and some guy tried to hand me a water cup and his fingers were sticking deep inside the cup. I reached past him politely to grab a different cup and he started yelling at me “Hey Lori!!!” I turned in disbelief. It was Jack, my Team in Training Mentor! We are still having a good laugh over this one.
So, did I meet my goal? Absolutely! There will be no meat wagons for Lori Sperber!
Check out the gorgeous weather in these photos. This race day was delightful, clear and perfect running weather. The day before and the day after this race it was sweltering into the 90s and severely humid. On this day, the weather was just what the running doctor ordered! I do believe I was being protected by a couple of weather angels!
The race ended in Battery Park. My chip time was 2:42.57 which was seven minutes better than it was in the Brooklyn Half Marathon in April. I guess you could say this is now my PR or Personal Record. I believe running is a great sport because your only true competition is yourself. Oh, what a beautiful feeling…to finish a half marathon (13.1 miles) and celebrate with the people that you love! Just amazing!