Watching from the Sidelines is Harder than Racing

by Paul Thompson

This morning I was in northern Manhattan watching the Coogan’s Salsa Blues and Shamrocks 5K. It was one of those rare occasions when I was watching from the sidelines rather than competing. And I learned it was not only harder to watch than race, as I did last year, I am also less good at it.

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The leaders make there way up the first hill

My spectating was forced on me by injury. I am three weeks into an injury which has gotten progressively worse, dragging my fitness and spirit down with it. Fortunately, since my last blog post, I am one step closer to getting over it. Thanks to Facebook friends I think I now know what I have and how to treat it.

The problem seems to be piriformis syndrome. A complex sounding condition which boils down to something very simple: a ‘pain in the butt’, literally not just figuratively. My physician confirmed it on Friday and at noon tomorrow I will be at New York Physical Therapy.

Self treatment started last week. As I write I am sitting on a baseball: I would not know how to throw one (I come from a country that plays cricket) but I sure know how to sit on one to get some relief. Another series of stretches I found useful were on Youtube. And yesterday I found myself rolling my feet on small balls (!) with five women. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Hence, with injury here I was standing roadside cheering on team mates, watching and listening to this colorful part of Manhattan. I found it colder, much colder, standing around in several layers than racing in singlet and shorts. Watching also reminded me of my problem: I just wanted to be running.

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On course entertainment

I am just plain out of practice when it comes to spectating: many of my Warren Street clubmates I came to cheer along went by without me noticing. I ‘practice’ running 20 hours week but I only spectate once in a blue moon. My wife, Shamala, a veteran of most of my races, is far better at it. I now know why she complains about ‘hanging about’ trying to catch a glimpse of me running

Though injured life has its consolations. Having entered the race and gotten a number I was able to share in the free post race refeshments, a curious combination of Guinness, shepherd’s pie and sesame seed micro muffins, at Coogan’s Restaurant, at 9:30am Sunday.

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An unused number but at least it got me two free drinks coupons

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