Every year I hear about the J.P. Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge that my company participates in around this time. In the past, I remember being at the gym on the night of the run and noticing how markedly empty the gym was, because everyone in the company seemed to be out in San Francisco running it. Since I have been running more now than I have any other time in my life, I decided to sign up this year. After all, you not only get the free JP Morgan official T-shirt, but my company gives a long-sleeved wicking shirt as well.
The run is 3.5 miles. It starts out around Crissy Field and goes through the Presidio and right near the Golden Gate Bridge and back around. It was actually a very cold and windy evening. In fact, if it weren’t for the other 5000+ runners out there providing body heat and shield to the wind, I would have turned around and went home. The start of the run was actually a little stressful for me, because it was flooding with people. I’m not used to that overwhelmingly crowded, almost claustrophobic environment. It gives me a lot of anxiety, because I’m used to running on my own pace without all the pressure of people around me. Anyways, it felt like madness, but my plan was to just do a simple jog and get through the run. However, as I started running, I got caught up in the adrenaline and started running faster than I normally do. Keep in mind, I don’t run very fast, and I started weaving in and out, so I could run my slow pace without people crowding around me. I think that made me even more tired though, because I was really heaving and huffing toward the end. Nevertheless, despite the less than ideal circumstances, it actually turned out to be a really nice run. Once I warmed up, the cool wind felt really nice. The evening view of the bay and the bridge as the sun started setting was really picturesque. I wish I had taken my camera along to take a picture. The best part was I finished… and even better, I think it was probably a personal best. At 34 minutes and 10 seconds, I was averaging a sub-10 minute mile. I can’t believe I did it, but I did.
It was my first experience with a mass run, and I guess it was good practice for my upcoming half-marathon. I hope I can get over the crowd anxiety though. I can’t explain why, but I feel very stressed with all the people around me. I guess like with the whole running thing, it takes a little practice and getting used to…. Hehe!