August Long Run Shenanigans; Be encouraged.

Battery Park – along the Hudson River

This month has come and almost gone and it’s been crazy! Crazy weather. Crazy busy. Crazy training runs. It’s crazy that it all happened so fast! Rewind to a few weeks ago when I started marathon training and it was seventeen weeks to race day. Now, we’re down to six. Wait. What? How in the world did it all happen so fast? Meanwhile, I’m here trying to stop time for like one week so I could at least rerun one of my last two long runs. I’ll stop short of saying they were disasters, only they were not at all where I want to be at this point. And I’m sure to be disappointed because apparently time waits on no one. So with September on the horizon here’s a quick sum of August runs.

Summer Streets on Park Ave.

Shout out to my New York City and Summer Streets. Every summer we are treated to 3 consecutive Saturdays of 5 miles of running/exercise bliss aka a shutdown of  Park Avenue in Manhattan from the upper east side all the way down to the Brooklyn bridge. On a typical day iconic Park Avenue is a traffic thoroughfare, so to have it closed to vehicular traffic is a sight for sore eyes. There were strollers, joggers, cyclists, roller blades, skate boards, scooters, anything with momentum, and runners of course. The heat, the people, the activities, the music, and the energy on those streets – it was crazy fun! You might have heard of the term “sweating bullets” yup, that was us out there. I ran with the Nike run club on one of their runs on a summer street Saturday and it was a treat to run alongside other runners, most in training for a fall marathon, with many getting ready for the nyc marathon. It was a large group with many pacers and paces so it was easy to fit in. It was a great 12 miles! The only downside is the late, by which I mean 8:15 a.m start. Summer sun don’t play and neither do I when it comes to getting my long runs done early (by 8:30am) so I don’t have to suffer under its brilliant rays.

End of the Broadwalk @ Coney Island Beach

Another long run I did was out to Coney Island and the beach, which was really an epic fail and my bad. I was exhausted from shenanigans the night before and got up so much later than I had hoped. And so started 15.5 miles of unpreparedness. It sucked but I was determined to run to the beach and back and I did. Just barely. I encountered, what is termed “the wall” in running speak. It’s the feeling you get of not being able to run any further, like a wall is blocking your way forward – hence the term. It happened on the way back, around mile 11, with the sun high in the sky and me without any shade or water. Gosh, I wanted to quit. Call an Uber, I had my phone, no one else would know. But there’s no motivation like self motivation. Somehow, through my inate grit and a merciful God I’m sure, I dug deep and deeper still a few times after stopping for some breaths, and was able to climb over that wall to make it back home just about 2 hours later. You can be sure it was my first and last wall encounter.

Along the Pier on the west side highway
Brooklyn Bridge

The long-run saga continues with a run through a big chunk of The Big Apple. Two weeks before the last run I mentioned above, I did a 2-hour run around the lower perimeter of Manhattan one weekend after a nice 1-hour long active stretch. Crazy me, I decided to go for a sunset run along the East River and the Hudson River starting on the lower east side with some late sunshine and really phenomenal views. I always say NYC has the best skyline in the world. Forgive my bias, as well as my ignorance, I don’t have much basis for comparison. But I imagine it is pretty special as visitors from all over the world come to get in on the action. The downside to that run was the crowds..there were so many people out and about as I ran along the Seaport, Battery Park, and along the piers and the Hudson River on the west side highway. A bit of a zoo. Eeek. But it was also Saturday evening in New York City, go figure. In addition to which, I was also very distracted with the view and felt the urge to take a dozen photos. Just poor planning on my part, or a lack thereof really, and I was left chasing this 2-hour clock all the way up to West 96th Street and back down to midtown to wrap up at Bryant Park sometime after 9pm. Can I just say I hardly noticed that I was running through Times Square at night because it looked like midday – the noise, yes noise, the crowds, and the bright lights everywhere was disconcerting to say the least. I was thorough annoyed with myself to have run into that. Shouldn’t I have known better? Surely never again! Then I had a sense of dejavu. Might I have done that before? Now, that’s just crazy! I don’t dwell on it.

Jersey City skyline from Battery City
Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan’s Financial District

This month, I’ve had early morning runs and evening runs – those are the times that work best with my schecule. I much prefer early mornings even though it takes me a couple of miles before I’m really awake. Once I get going and the sun is a non-issue then it’s going to be a good one. I ran local the last weekend of August and kept within a few miles of home but in a different area from which I’m accustomed. I don’t know how I feel about running around Brooklyn yet. I’ve had some encounters with unmentionable creatures that I’m hoping won’t become a thing so I’ll wait for a bit before that influences my views. LoL. But what I do know is it’s much busier and noisier than where I lived before. I don’t like running around nor into people. I prefer serenity and stupendous views. Sadly, the two don’t come together in this city so one has to be willing to gain some and lose some. I’m ok with that because the upside is that with each run I get stronger mentally, build endurance, discover new depths to myself, and push those limits.

Sunset over the Hudson River

Are you ready to push those limits? This may look different for you. Whether it’s your first 5K, marathon #10, your first ironman or ultra, or you’re thinking grander or smaller – even starting an exercise program, or getting a coach or trainer; you are on to something. Be encouraged and like the good book says, do not despise these small beginnings. One step is always better than none and step two is easier and sets you up to keep stepping and keep moving. Know that every step outside of comfortable and routine is a step forward. September, Fall, Chicago marathon, and new beginnings are all just around the corner and like me, you too can stumble along until you get those feet steady and sure. Running, as is the case with all journeys, is about progression and not perfection.

Nike Group Run

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