central park running

Blogging everyday is so much easier than once a week, but having the running theme (for now) helps. I may catch up at some point and share all of the “fun” details of my trip back home to New York. But for right now, we’re on to running.

Monday was a wash, what with all the traveling. Tuesday was speed work…a tempo run. All I had to do was run for 30 minutes, slowing increasing my pace for 10 minutes, holding the fast pace for 10 minutes, and then slowing down for the last 10 minutes. I made it…10 minutes. Total. The treadmill and I were not friend.

I decided to try something different on Wednesday. Randomly, I had a conversation on New Year’s Eve about how many NYC street blocks (we have street blocks and avenue blocks) are in a mile. There are 20. So, I decided that I would run outside. Now, with 20 street blocks being in a mile, you can imagine how many times I might have to stop and wait for lights…which is why I chose to run along the park side of Central Park West. The beauty of the park side (east side) of that street is that there are only a few streets that run through the park, meaning there were only a few potential stops.

I got home from work on Wednesday, changed right into my outdoor running gear (yep, I do own some running tights…amazing), and was off. I warmed up walking to Central Park West, and then I was off; 96th down to 66th and back again. It was AMAZING. First of all, every time I run outside in NYC, I remember how lucky I am to live in such an amazing place. Second, running somewhere is so much better than running in place. So. Much. Better.

And the song of the run? The one that kept me going when I wanted to quit? California Gurlz – Katy Perry.

Given this new discovery, I decided that my run this morning would have to be outside. The beautiful thing about where I live is just how close I am to Central Park. And, as it happens, the Central Park Loop* is almost exactly six miles (6.0273 to be exact). It is also great because it’s got some good elevation changes. Nothing major, but way better than running on flat…at least when training for a half-marathon that also has a few elevation changes.

It was amazing. Seriously. I felt so good. And considering that the farthest I had run (like, the whole time) prior to this morning was the three miles I ran on Wednesday, I was seriously amazed at what I was able to run. I did walk a little so I could drink some water. But otherwise, I just cruised right along…right at the pace I seem to always run at. It felt great to be outside and running up and down hills and pushing right along. And Central Park is so pretty all snow covered.

There were a few moments when I could feel myself almost walking when I didn’t really need to walk, but mentally, I think I’m finally back in the running game. And Taio Cruz definitely did his part with Dynamite. Seriously, such a fun song to run to.

And that’s my running for the week. And here are the lessons I (re)learned this week:

  1. Always opt to run outside if it’s an option.
  2. If I’m going to run on Fridays (as my schedule says to do) and Saturdays, the Friday runs have to happen in the morning.
  3. The Central Park Loop is truly the perfect distance.
  4. I need to carry more tissues with me (my nose was raw by the end). 
  5. There’s a vendor at exactly the right point for water purchasing, although bringing some with me is definitely cheaper.
  6. Running really is so mental.
  7. Sleep makes a huge difference in my motivation level.
  8. My body is kind of amazing.
  9. I am going to be able to run this half marathon in March, and maybe if cut 10 minutes off of my time last year. 
*I loved looking at this map and seeing the following caption on the loop I ran: THE ‘BIG’ (‘6 MILE’) LOOP (FOR VERY ACCOMPLISHED RUNNERS). Talk about a great ego boost…even if it did take me a long time to run it.

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