This morning saw me driving into Manhattan and going into Central Park as I’ve often done on Saturdays this past month-and-a-half. But in this case it was not to run but to take the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam, a requirement for admission to the Connecticut Bar, at 94th Street. The test tests one’s knowledge of the rules of professional responsibility, things like how one handles client money and client confidences (very carefully in both cases), what a judge can and cannot do off the bench, how to address client conflicts and a witness who is likely to be testifying falsely, and such. They actually set out realistic situations in which a lawyer might find herself. Sixty multiple-choice questions.

We’ll see how I did. I had thought of going for a run in the Park afterward, but my left IT Band has been acting up over the last several days, so that wasn’t going to happen. It was no problem on Thursday’s run but hurt yesterday — no run — and less so today. Because this happened to me recently, I think I have a handle on how to deal with it, and confess to have gotten lazy about the preventative exercises. So it’s a minor set-back, not of great concern.

While I was walking back to my car and in the Park, the temperature had reached the shorts range and the smell of Spring was in the air. Solo runners and small groups were passing on the Park Drive, and I regretted being unable to join them. Soon I hope, and I’m very pleased about discovering how easy it is for me to get into the City for the Club Saturday morning run.

Tomorrow is the year’s first Club race, the Coogan’s 5K in Fort Washington. A straight up-and-back run with a steep downhill right before the turn-around — and an up immediately on the way back. I’ve done it once. But I did not enter this year.

I am further down the depth chart on the Club’s roster, although when Jim S. turns 50 in a few months WSSAC will have a competitive 50+ team, and then I can’t duck any of these races.

Each week I receive an email from Paul Thompson. Paul, to whom I’ve referred many times before, was named the other day as the runner-of-the-year by NYRR in his age group. He is now the men’s co-captain. (Our women’s captain, Jean Chodnicki-Stemm, was a co-winner in the 50-54.) Paul’s email includes workouts for the week. It also includes as a weekly “reminder” the list of the year’s Club races, which, after tomorrow, consists of:

  • Apr 3 Scotland Run 10K
  • May 15 Healthy Kidney 10K
  • Jun 12 NY Mini 10K (women only)
  • Jun 20 Father’s Day 5M (men scoring only)
  • Jul 17 Run for Central Park 4M
  • Aug 7 Club Team Championship 5M (double points)
  • Sept 11 Fitness 4M
  • Oct 2 Grete’s Half Marathon
  • Nov 7 NYC Marathon
  • Dec 5 JoeK 10K
  • . . . to join a club

    Paul lives in Peekskill. All that need be said about that is that it is way the hell up in Westchester. Yet virtually every Saturday he takes the 7:19 train to 125th Street, does 20 or 22 miles, often with me aboard for a portion, and then heads to Grand Central for the hour-plus ride home. Often, the time and latitude change means that it’s nearly 15 degrees warmer when he gets off the train than when he got on board.

    His wife’s a saint.

    This comes to mind in the context of the special characteristics of clubs. All happy clubs, as it were, are happy in their own way. But at its core, each has several runners who are beyond passionate, who make dedicated folks like me feel like laggards but who cause us to be a bit less laggardy, and who pull us along, to run a wee bit harder, a wee bit faster, a wee bit longer, a wee bit better.

    If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times. Runners should join clubs.

    NYC Marathon Update. Speaking of which, I see that the deadline for registering for NY is the Ides of March. That gives me nine days to decide whether to do it. Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock.

    Olympic Trials; Houston? We have a problem. Also, I was off LetsRun for a few days (amazing how little I missed) and when I came back I saw that the men’s and women’s OT will be held in Houston in January 2012. I had thought NY would get the women’s race — hoping to meet at least one person likely to qualify — but I was misinformed. USATF awarded the races to Houston unanimously. They’ll start the day before the Houston Marathon, using separate starts, as New York and Boston now do. But I don’t know how big the gap will be.

    Viscerally it seems a step backwards. Perhaps I exaggerate the significance of New York, but sending it to Houston seems like relegation. From the racers’ perspective, though, it makes sense (albeit screwing up Spring 2012 race schedules). Gives plenty of time for recovery, more than the gap between Boston and London and the Olympics. I had fun in 2007 for the men’s race. I would have enjoyed 2012’s women’s.