So I think the little setup of the US Open viewings at Madison Square Park was absolutely genius…good location by both east and west side subways, a park that doesn’t get mobbed like Bryant Park does…just pull up a patch of grass (or a bleacher seat if you are lucky) and sit on a free seat cushion (or 2 or 3) and you’re set for a match or 2 🙂 And for me, I felt it was like coming full circle of sorts…9 years ago when I first moved into the city and lived on East 33rd, I used to be able to walk to work and cutting through Madison Square Park was a shortcut I’d take every day…so being there brought back memories…some good, some not-so-good (as I will go into later…)
Anyways, in order to spend a lazy Saturday lounging in Madison Square Park and watching the mens’ semifinals meant that I had to make sure I got my run done in the morning and any other chores done. Well perfect, as the Fitness 4-miler was that morning and since it was a points race and I wasn’t racing, I should be good and cheer 🙂 I got to see the winner of the men’s race break the tape, then I ran north, opposite the race so I could cheer on the guys…Flyers, UA, or whoever else…as they approached the last stretch of the race. The Flyer were led by our master blaster AP…with Lam hot on his heels!! I’ll let Lam tell the rest of his story as it’s a good one 😉 I spotted the rest of the Flyer scoring men…MH, SJ and Cap’n DG. (And don’t our men look fine? Our scorers-minus DG caught on film-he got caught in the local gallery instead!) Across 102nd, down the east side, seeing several peeps and a certain ObsceneCam™ in passing and stopped briefly at 72nd to catch the start of the women’s race. Once they passed I headed west near the finish line…ran into Lam and AP and we watched the ladies come in. Our women ran great…looked like there were a lot of PR’s in the house!! I briefly regretted my choice of the 20K race instead of this one…it seemed like conditions were better for this one and maybe I would have had a race result I would have been happier with? Nothing I can do about it at this point. Anyways, headed home to get cleaned up…
…and head to da park for some semifinal fun!! The Nadal match was 2 sets in by the time I got there, and he easily took the 3rd. Ahh gotta love it, 1st semifinal + straight sets=more rest for Nadal. And of course, I was hoping the Novak Djokovic-Roger Federer match would go 5 sets so whoever won would be less rested…but that fact aside, I had a feeling that a meeting of the #2 and #3 seeds would go 5 sets!! I was hoping for a Djokovic win…I’m actually not a big Federer fan (anyone think Federer looks like Mr. Big from SATC, by the way?) He is what I felt Shalane Flanagan was to women’s distance running for awhile…and I liked it when she got beat in a race…maybe I like to root for the “underdog” in a way? It was sorta like that when Pete Sampras dominated tennis…
So anyways, it was an exciting match!! The sets that Federer took (1st and 3rd) were long drawn out battles-both were 7-5. The sets that Djokovic took (2nd and 4th)-he broke Federer early and just ran with it (6-1 and 6-2, respectively) As Lam said several times-“once Federer gets broken, its all over”…or something to that effect. And also when the match time hit 3 hours that “this was like a marathon” (maybe for you kid…its a 20-miler for me, lol!) And then came the 4-5 point in the match…when Federer had an opportunity to break and take the match with 2 match points-both squandered!! But next game, it was Djokovic who broke it open so to say…and took the match with a 7-5 last set!!
I felt Djokovic’s reaction was very memorable…
That “OMG, did I really do this? Did I really beat the great Roger Federer?” reaction. I wish I could find a better picture that captured the moments right after the win…or actually video does the job (around 1 minute in)
So unfortunately today’s final got rained out…hope I can DVR it tomorrow as it’s during working hours…and I really think this will be an exciting final. Though I’m pulling for Nadal, I wouldn’t be disappointed with a Djokovic win either.
Back to running! Today was long run day and I definitely wanted to beat said rain. My coworkers were actually participating in the Race for the Cure…walking it. A couple were actually surprised I wasn’t doing it, but I had to get a long run in…with Chicago 4 weeks away, now’s not the time to be skipping long runs! And the reason why I wanted to run long today instead of yesterday was to give myself another day between long runs (since the 20K was on Monday, and not on a weekend) Maybe I could have run that and front-loaded and add on afterwards to get myself to 16 miles…but knowing my coworkers I had a feeling that would not have been able to happen, or happen easily. Anyways, I came up with a good route to escape the madness…bridle paths to keep me off the park drives, then over to the west side highway and downtown, out and back over the Brooklyn Bridge. And it was cool enough for me to wear arm warmers!! (Actually I may not have needed them, but with 4 long runs left til Chi-town, I wanted to try them out on a long run to make sure they’d be OK to wear during the race. And they were good!) So 16 miles done, sans drama (no biker collisions or anything like that) and beat the rain! One long run closer to taper time!!
And to bring back what I said earlier…about Madison Square Park and memories…kinda ties into the 9th anniversary of 9/11. 9 years ago that day, I remember walking to work (early! I think I actually got to the office a little after 8 AM!) and walking through Madison Square Park, right that moment, thinking that weather-wise and everything else, seemed like it was a perfect day. Of course at that moment I never would have known the exact opposite would be the case. 9 years later that same day, in Madison Square Park again, thinking about what a perfect day it was…great weather, running, friends and tennis. Except for the memories of that day 9 years ago.
9/11/2001. I still remember.
(many thanks to Bridges Runner for this fabulous photo!)