Running Shenanigans in D.C.

I ran..well rode..away to Washington last weekend amidst the snow here in New York to take part in a small half marathon on the trail along the Ohio – Chesapeake River canal in Georgetown. Turns out, I’ve done smarter things considering the proximity of our nation’s capital to New York. It snowed, turned slush, and ice, while temperatures stayed well below freezing. Yet still we ran. I think a case can be made for the ridiculous extreme some are willing to embrace in pursuit of a goal. I’d be the first to shout, “guilty!”

In any event, after an early pasta dinner the night before and 7 hours of sleep, I got up early, had breakfast at the hotel, which was 10 minutes away, and took a uber to the start. Not one for standing around waiting to run, much less in freezing weather, I was glad I didn’t get there too early as runners shivered through their warm ups while the Marathon and 7K took off. Soon after at around 8:30 am it was my turn in the half-marathon. I had enough time before the race started to second guess my decision to run without my gloves and phone. By start time, I decided I couldn’t do without them and wrapped in my heat sheet headed out.

Let me just say, trails I love; mud, water, and ice, not so much. From the get go it was a battle to stay sure-footed and not end up on my face. Trying to avoid slipping and sliding meant I had to pay careful attention to foot placement and try to keep to firmer ground, which was impossible for most of the run. Tried though I did, I couldn’t help slowing down in the muddy and wet areas and tried picking off runners and focusing on how pretty everything looked covered in snow, and not on the challenge of running faster and breather harder. Only at the mile 6 marker and turnaround did I get rid of the heat sheet – it took that long to warm up – and I immediately felt a bit lighter. It didn’t help too much overall though, as I still struggled to finish in the time I had hoped for, finally succumbing to a slower pace in miles 10, 11, and 12, only to finish faster on the last 1.1 mile. In retrospect, the miles where I slowed down were crucial to my goal and I should have sucked it up and forged ahead at my average (until that point) of 7:30 min p/mile. However, I dropped down to 7:43 and ended up in a sad 18th place out of 162.

One week later, and my last chance of 2018 gone, I remain extremely miffed with my performance that day and this year in general. I can only hope that the new year will bring greater opportunities and smarter and faster running as I’m in it for the long haul and remain committed to chasing PR dreams.

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Falalalala it’s December!

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For all practical purposes 2017 is gone and with it all my hopes and dreams of running the world. Drat! Not much I can do now but settle for having run a few States, since there’s always next year, which is only weeks away now anyhow. And so we’re left with Christmas looming, and me running to, and, oddly enough, from it.

To be clear, I adore Christmas. My only enduring complaint over the years has been the cold that it ushers in. As with all things though, I’m learning to deal and who knows, maybe this year I’ll even break new ground and like it. Plans are in motion for a snow run as I attempt to embrace this new, bold, count-your-blessings me. So here we are – December – and while it’s pretty late in the game, it wouldn’t be me if I weren’t trying to scrape a goal or two out of the few days left. In all likelihood, I’ll probably be left hanging with a few things that I wasn’t able to accomplish but no matter because I’m alive, healthy, and ready to grab 2018 by its proverbial horns – and mind you, that wasn’t even a goal. I’m slowly coming to that place where sometimes you just have to be thankful and accepting of what you can do.

Meanwhile, just for this month, in true dash-to-the-finish style, I’ve committed myself to a 5/6-day gym week and 4/5 days of various training runs for the next two weeks, though I can’t promise that even half of them will be done outside. It’s just too dark, and oftentimes too chilly, by the time I’m laced up and ready to go. With all of that going on, I still have a race or two left, depending on how I do this weekend, before wrapping up a year of running.

You can see why I remain torn in wanting to welcome those jingle bells but feeling a tad anxious about the expected surge of cold weather and the running that must accompany it. There’s also the impending, but standing year-end, 2017 goal tally that follows Christmas as the frost follows Winter. Gotta say I’m not lining up and ready to go on any of those right now. In all honesty, I’d have prefer to have spent a little more time in October, but again, in keeping with the new me, I’ll focus on the blessing of having made it to this point in what has been a tumultuous year all around. My reasonable response then is to embrace all that I have and do and run with it. And, cold or not, I intend to do just that. Bring it December!

Chasing the elusive PR at Queens Half Marathon

Two Sundays ago I ran the Queens Half Marathon put on by NYC RUNS here in the borough of Queens in New York. It was only my second race with this organization, the first being a not-very-wow experience, but they offered a certified course to qualify for the NYC Marathon 2018 so I wasn’t averse to sucking it up to get my coveted entry. Two things happened that sorta surprised me – if that’s the right word. Firstly, the race was run way better than I expected, not by me, but by the organizers and amazing volunteers. And secondly, despite the great course, I was once again disappointed with my inability to PR and get the qualifying time I needed so badly. I have to say, this year has not been kind to me in the PR department, pun intended, I’ve had too many near-misses. Though, in all honesty, it hasn’t been all bad even though those good races haven’t amounted to much really. However, I was happy that this race was at least a good one, one I wouldn’t mine running again next year minus the cold.

Race morning dawned with frigid temperatures and had hundreds of us, who were brave enough to get out to the start in Flushing Meadows Park for a god-forsaken 5:30 am, shivering and wondering who the heck we had murdered to be deserving of such punishment. But in true out-of-our-minds runner’s style we sucked it up and passed the time trying to warm up and blowing out icy breaths. Properly corralled, we started out around 7:10 and pretty soon took to the streets of Queens. Because I’ve never raced in the Queens community before, I was really thrilled to be out among other runners embracing, what I consider, my home. Surprisingly, in spite of the chilly temps, there were quite a bit of supporters out cheering at various points throughout the course. We were also treated to random pop-up bands – small as they were – you really learn to appreciate all supporters when you’re out there slugging it out, and really incredible volunteers, who despite the cold, were out on the course at intervals handing out water, Gatorade, gels and tons of support. They were simply amazing, and helped to make sure that we had a fantastic run.

For my part, I felt I had a very strong race for the first nine miles after which things got a bit dicey. I had two hiccups with my gel falling around mile 9.5, after a few steps I missed it and had to run back, then the water cup slipped out of my hand at mile 11 and I stopped to grab another. On both occasions, I lost momentum and felt that the run got harder and my pace slower. The last mile saw me struggling to keep pace and I really feel it was then that I lost the battle for a 1:37:00 finish. Up till mile 9, I was able to lose myself in the new course and enjoy running though Queens neighborhood, parks, and around the cemetery and the botanical garden. It was when we entered Citi Field and had to meander our way through and back to the start that I had a more difficult time. As is more often the case than not, I fell short of a perfect run but managed to have a good time for the most part. The last 800 meters proved to be my fastest and most enjoyable coming into the finish area to the cheers of the crowds lining the path, marred only by my glace up to the clock, which indicated that my PR dream would not be realized that day after all. I was off by two minutes and six seconds.

We were met with food in the finish area after collecting our medals and really the only thing missing was hot drinks, since it felt even colder then and I felt like I’d have given up my medal for a hot chocolate at that point. Suffice to say, we had to settle for heat sheets and messed up as I was about my time I was in no mood to hang around and chit chat in the cold. Thus, I hustled off to collect my gear from the baggage area, change into something that wasn’t wet, and get the heck out of there to find some warmth. Eternal optimist that I am, I think it wasn’t too bad of a day’s run, after all there’s always tomorrow.

Stepping Up to Run Your 1st Marathon

With all the marathon talk getting batted around, I figure now’s the best time to dig into the how, why, and which as it relates to embracing your own marathon moment. While this is not a comprehensive guide on the marathon process, from start to finish, it, at the very least, gives the prospective marathon runner an insight into the basics of how to go about planning and preparing for the race event of a lifetime.

Why a marathon?

It’s natural for someone who’ve run at least a dozen marathons to recommend it as a must-do, at-least-once-in-your-life, bucket list event. If for no other reason than that everyone should, at least once in their lifetime, push their perceived limits and embrace the incredible potential they were created with. Only then can one honestly know what he or she is capable of. As most marathon runners know, running a marathon will challenge, empower, inspire, motivate and change you. And not for the reasons you may think, for while the accomplishment of crossing the finish line on marathon day is the crowning achievement – and really is the sum of all your efforts leading up to that moment – it comes second to your dedication to training and the physical, mental, and financial sacrifices you made to get there. It is the tenacity, grit, and courage that has defined your training that will outlive your moment of glory and redefine you as a stronger and better version of yourself.

How do I choose which marathon to run?

It’s the 50,000 dollar question, made so as I’m a big believer that if something’s worth doing it’s worth doing well. So, if you’re in the market for a marathon, I’d suggest a popular one. And because I’m a New Yorker, and well because it’s popular, and famous and all that, I’d recommend the New York City Marathon. However, no worries if it’s outside of your range, I’m sure wherever you are, or somewhere close by, is bound to have one that meets the criteria of being a challenge and providing an enjoyable experience. One of the main reasons for going with a popular marathon for your first is that it provides a few things you will need as a first time marathoner. A popular race will have a lot of hype attached to it. This will overflow into the running and local community, which then encourages and fosters team and community spirit. The new runner needs this support and community for accountability, advice and training. Additionally, a popular race will also boast a certified and well-known course. You can use the information available to prepare and get yourself familiar with the race. By race day you should be comfortable, confident, and ready to run. Lastly, a race that is well-known holds the promise of a memorable event for a few reasons: there’s a very good chance it’ll be a well-executed race, have good crowd, support, great swag, and eats at the finish in addition to cool bling.

From Zero to Hero: preparing for the run of a lifetime

This part actually requires an entire article dedicated to it, but I’ll go ahead here and touch on the key concepts for running your first marathon and follow up with greater detail in a subsequent piece.

Because no one gets up one day and decides to run a marathon right there and then, it means careful thought goes into the planning and execution of such an event. Once the decision is made the runner can join a running club and be privy to their training schedule or adopt a certifiable training plan either through enlisting the expertise of a running coach or following a proven plan (online, from print etc.,) if training solo. Only, beware that enlisting professional help will get you a plan tailored to you while any other plan will have to be adjusted to your abilities and goals. In addition, new marathoners will likely have to change or enhance their diet to accommodate the change to their [active] lifestyle. As such, runners are encouraged to see their physician to assess their health and visit with a nutritionist if necessary to ensure they get the required foods in their diet that will fuel their training. Also, proper and adequate sleep is another key element that comprises a runner’s “diet” and oftentimes requires a concentrated effort to follow through on, this becomes even more critical in the final 3-4 weeks before race day. Additionally, Because of accountability and support factors, training with a group or team is recommended, however solo runners should be sure to get some group runs in to help with speed work and long runs. Just as important is gearing up and making sure to get good trainers and running shoes along with proper running wear. Finally, new runners should, in addition to their training, seek to participate in official races such as 5k’s, 10k’s and half marathons, where those races can be seen as additional training under race-like settings and their official time can be used to gauge progress and track ability and preparedness.

Now that you’ve gleaned just a little of how this momentous occasion goes down, trust me there is so much more tricks and tips to pulling this off in true warrior-like fashion, you can possibly appreciate the impact running a marathon can have on one’s life. It is not far-fetched to believe that it will change you.

Running Dreams: The TCS New York City Marathon

Source: getty images

Only those who dare to dream long enough and work hard enough will ever have a true shot at something grand enough to make believing worthwhile.

Last Sunday over 50,000 runners lived that dream at the TCS New York City Marathon. For some it was their first, while for others it may be their only or their last. Still, there are those who do this regularly, and for such as these, it never gets old. Regardless, I’m almost certain it was a defining moment for most, if not all, of them. I mean it was pretty defining with an American woman winning in the women’s category for the first time in forty years. Congratulations to Shalane Flannigan! For each runner though, their victory was just as important and valid. While many of us can talk a good talk, it takes so much more to run a marathon, half marathon or any endurance race that requires months of training. It takes grit, passion, determination, fortitude, sacrifice, and vision. No one gets up one day and decides to run a marathon tomorrow, it requires months of planning and preparation and all of this for one day, one race – a moment in time – and a medal, or so it seems.

In fact, many runners will dispute the notion of running for “just a medal.” For them, their sacrifices of time, effort, energy, pain etc., is worth the immeasurable feelings of pride, passion and purpose they experience every single time. Take all of that, times a hundred, and what you have is the resulting glory that is running and finishing the TCS New York City Marathon. It has the largest field size, the biggest spectator size, and the most volunteers compared to any other marathon around the world. And if that isn’t enough to entice your competitive and inspiring spirit, then the fact that it’s run as the most diverse and patriotic, yet inclusive, melting pot of humanity in the largest street party in one of the most renowned cities of the world ought to surely secure this momentous achievement high up on your bucket list.

The truth is while a lot of this sounds really grand, the average runner, the one who runs an average of 25-35 miles per week, is the one, forget the fanfare of running New York, who sees running a marathon or completing an endurance race as an opportunity to let the sport speak to their sense of determination, commitment, and tenacity. It’s a statement to anyone who’s listening that, ” Hey, I’m stronger, tougher and so much more able than you think!”

In a world gone crazy with all the violent acts being visited on citizens almost daily, we had that here in New York just days before the race, there is an indelible need to have an impact, to make our own positive mark and inspire others to do the same. In the face of evil, adversity and turmoil, nothing says “F you” like the communal spirit that is the marathon. And so crossing the finish line and getting that medal whether in New York, Bejing, London, or any other city, here in the United States or around the world, allows us to not only fulfill a dream, but it is our determined effort to face down life’s adversity and own the moment we deserve. Meanwhile, we get to wear the crown of our victory forever and will take all the bragging rights that goes along with it. #BADASSWARRIOR

Source: eBay

Running Like a Marine at The Marine Corps Marathon’17

It hardly seems right that we’re hell-bent on gobbling up November already. With the New York City Marathon on in a couple of days (Sunday!) and having just come off a tough 26.2 myself, I feel incredibly rushed – as if I’m on a spinning wheel of sorts with the only option to keep moving or jump off and crash. But I digress. Two Sundays ago, I felt incredibly honored to run the prestigious and inspiring Marine Corps Marathon with about 25,000 runners. It was a huge accomplishment for me, not because of the medal, or the challenge – and it was that, not even because it was marathon #12, but because it allowed me the opportunity to add meaning to my miles and truly make my running count for others and not myself – at least not this time around.

It was beautiful out in Virginia and had the temperatures stayed in the low sixties/ high fifties as it started out on marathon morning, it would have been as near perfect as it could get I’m sure, but as fate or luck or whatever would have it, that was not meant to be. Marathon Sunday, we woke up to a sunrise that displayed the most gorgeous hues of color against the backdrop of a spotless sky. As we shuffled by the thousands into the Pentagon area in making our way to the start the promise was of a bright and beautiful day though a bit misty at the start. This proved to be too hot with temperatures reaching in the high seventies under brilliantly blue skies by late morning. I recall a runner I passed by wondering aloud,”where are my clouds,” then I thought sadly, not today my friend. With the earlier part of the race, we had some cover running through Rosslyn and suburban VA.

It was pretty, gorgeous actually, and heartening to run with such a wonderful group of runners from varying teams. While team Semper Fi was out in their numbers and I had great support from team members along the way and from the spectators, who were phenomenal in every sense giving everything from water, to beer, to candy, to Vaseline, to ice and fruit and everything in between, there were many other charity groups running awesome that day; however, none were more touching than the marines and others who chose to run pushing the chairs of disabled children and veterans. Then there were the disabled runners themselves, who made my heart beat faster with their determination and passion. These runners inspired and pushed me to stay focused and in the moment and to remember it wasn’t about me. Many times when I was tempted to go faster or push harder those thoughts encouraged me to keep a sane and steady pace. It would later prove to be my saving grace as it got hotter and tougher around mile 19.

Wear Blue: run to remember

It would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention the “Blue Mile:” dedicated to fallen marines. Pictures of deceased service men and women lined both sides of the course as we ran along the Potomac river with a backdrop of Washington, D.C . It was the most silent, tear-jerking and inspirational mile of my running years and one could almost hear a pin drop. I ran thinking of all those, so many young marines, who laid down their lives for this country, willingly or not, and that they will never get the chance to run as I am fortunate to do.

Other memorable moments included running through DC and past all the iconic monuments in the nation’s capital to the amazing cheers of hundreds of spectators and the thousands of marine volunteers who were out there faithfully giving us water, Gatorade, and energy gels and encouraging us on at specific locations. They provided profound support and inspiration. We loved it, fed off it and used it to get us over the bridge, through Crystal City and the crowds, where a friendly face tried to pump me up, however, by then I was having a really hard time with pains in my right knee and ankle and was really looking forward to the finish line. The last mile through the Pentagon and finishing uphill was screaming tough for me and made me what I like to now refer to as “marine tough.” Too happy for words, I limped across the finish line revelling in the fact that I did it. I ran for the marines..for the veterans of this great country and had a blast for the most part.

A Month of Marathons

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These days life is a marathon: a long, sometimes tough, sometimes enjoyable, but always enduring experience. And our city is caught smack in the middle of what I refer to as, the throes of a malady – marathon fever. This feeling, though widely prevalent, is not unique to New York City, for while we boast a ridiculous amount of runners and the largest marathon around – the TCS New York City marathon – the running obsession that hits here in the month of October is sure to be similar to cities around the world that are part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors (WMM).

The WMM is a premier racing event where runners take part in six stipulated marathons to earn the coveted title and medal of world marathon major. Thus, I’m sure cities such as London, Berlin, Tokyo, Chicago and Boston are similarly prone to this type of marathon-induced crazy that characterizes NYC these days. Notwithstanding, New York’s marathon, which is November 5 this year, October happened and with such a bang with so many marathons and half marathons happening around the United States, some very close to home, one could be forgiven for missing out on the change in weather, which certainly must have something to do with the hike in running. We had the Marine Corps marathon last weekend, which I ran, the Chicago marathon, the Steamboat marathon, and the Staten Island Half marathon, which I also ran, and which were all the weekend before last. Apparently we like to keep it pretty busy around here. This has all served to keep the pressure on and have everyone either on their A game or on the edge.

As such, the city is busy trying to keep up with the countdown that’s underway. Even if one is not running the New York City (NYC) marathon, chances are good you either have friends who are or know someone who is or a few who are – hence everyone’s involvement. While I’m not running it this year, I do have ongoing plans to try to qualify for next year after wrapping up two races in the last two weeks. With all the attention it’s getting, it’s fair to say the NYC marathon is the hottest ticket in town for the running community and no expense (where the currency is time) is spared by runners in ensuring they have the best seats in the house, whether that is on the course running or cheering on fellow runners. In the days ahead, as we whine down the year, there will be more races to come. For now, my part will be out there cheering my heart out for those running folks who’ve earned their spot on the world stage, if only for a moment, hoping to inspire the run of a lifetime.

Staten Island Half Marathon in Review

Two words describe my feelings about last Sunday’s 13.1 PR attempt – “epic failure.” Had the stars aligned themselves purposely for this reason, things could not have marshalled themselves together any better for the making of what was akin to the perfect storm. By the way, I feel totally entitled to wallow here for a few after which I am bound to refocus and jump right back in. In that vein, humor me if you will while I reminisce.

As luck would have it, I didn’t have to wait for Sunday to see that things wouldn’t go as planned. In fact, it took less than a minute on Friday night to twist my ankle. After railing at fate for a bit, practicality soon set in and I was forced to suck it up and move on. I spent the major part of that night and the next day employing the RICE method (rest, ice, compress, elevate) and felt that it helped, for the most part, during the run. The problem was the inability to count on so many other factors. Continuing with my streak of luck was no sweat as Sunday morning greeted us with dark skies and the ominous threat of rain. My only comfort was that at least my ankle seemed to be cooperating then.

We were into about 4 miles, I think, when the rains came down, and man did it pour. For about 2 miles it fell quite hard and made running a soggy affair that had the effect of providing an initial welcome damper to runners over the heat. However, it didn’t stop there; the continued lighter rain, wetness and water all over the streets contributed to decreasing the overall pace of the race. But more importantly, the rain made my run more difficult since by this time we were on the loop and had to make our way back via at least three major inclines – amidst 95% humidity. By the time I was at mile 8, Teklu Deneke, Ethiopian native and West Side Club runner, had taken first place overall (1st Male), with Serkalem Abrha as 1st female. At that time, I was forced to reduce my pace and fall back on stopping at least three times at different water tables – manned by amazing volunteers in the pouring rain – something I’ve always been dead set against. The last few miles went by in a blur, made even harder when my ankle came to life with a dull throbbing.

I can only say sometimes the medal is worth it. The final mile or so was reminiscent of my last Staten Island run, only tougher hills, and in fact it was with an odd feeling of déjà vu that I crossed the finish line to the cheers and support of some phenomenal spectators who did not allow the dank weather to dampen their spirit and enthusiasm for the race.

As is often the case when I run with an injury, I’m left with a feeling of consternation that I can make it to the finish line, hobble or not, but then barely have the wherewithal to get to the first aid tent. I’m convinced it’s all in the mind even though my body disagrees. As it happened, I spent about an hour there recuperating with the help of NYRR’s awesome volunteer doctors. I remain immensely awed by the giving hearts of these incredible souls that come out race after race and give of their time and talent to the efficacious running of these races. Last Sunday in Staten Island, we couldn’t have done it with out them. #GoNYRRVolunteers

Photos courtesy gamefacephotos.com

[ http://www.gameface.photos/events ]

Gearing Up for Race Day

 

It’s been four years since I last ran the Staten Island Half Marathon and I remember it like it was yesterday. It’s easy to recall something that has made an impact on you, easier still if it had a PR attached to it and even easier if it happened with an injury. That race will forever go down as my most heartening run with the most beautiful, yet tough memories of what it means to run with heart. While I won’t venture beyond that, since it’s all in the past and has already been rehashed, what I will say is that I hope the lessons I took away serves me well this time around.

In the past few years I’m focused a lot on “the Marathon” and paid little attention to running or training for a half-marathon. For sure it’s a different race, and in fact all races deserve their own respect and therefore their own strategy and plan, which I’ve tried to follow to this point. The problem is that running two important, yet different, races two weeks apart poses a bit of a challenge when training. Since I’m doing just that, I’m left with the quandary of which to prioritize. This is more or less easily determined as I’m running the Half with specific goals in mind that supersedes those of the Marathon. That is not to say that it’s less important but only that my goals for the Marathon are less demanding. Still, I always try to run a good race so performing well is very important and has made my past twelve weeks of training interesting with varied runs and cross training targeting development and performance for both races. Only this past weekend had me doing a simulation run that saw me come up just short of my goal time. I’m trusting the real race will provide the missing positive factors that will influence the result I’m looking for. As it is, I’ve run two marathons back-to-back before, they were of the same distance and my strategy then was to simply treat the first as a long run and the second as a race. As I recall, it didn’t quite turn out that way and in hindsight I see now that I should have raced the first and just enjoyed the second. Suffice to say, I walked away lesson learnt.

On Sunday, which happens to be the same day of the Chicago Marathon – just throwing that in there – I will attempt to run in the shadow and wisdom of past races and hope to have an amazing time on my favorite half-marathon course in NYC. Although I’m told the course is slightly different from what I am used to – a bit more hilly – I can only hope it spurs me on to great things. Wish me luck as I carb-up this week and prepare to run my “race of the year.” The excitement just doesn’t get old around here! LOL.

A 20 Mile Kickoff to Autumn

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, Central Park

On Saturday, I took to Central Park with good intentions of enjoying a glorious Fall day while grinding out my long training run – the longest of the season so far. Ah… if only things would have worked out the way I had planned. As it turned out, I ran smack into the middle of a circus, or rather, the global citizen concert that was on that day, which I would have known about if I had bothered to pay attention the whole of last week. Oh well, I consoled myself, a runner’s gotta do what a runner’s gotta do. Right?

To each his own, but I’m akin to a dog with a bone when I’m on a mission, and there was no way I was leaving the park without accomplishing what I set out to do – all 20 miles of it. I soon figured that with the crowds, the police, and the barricades, I would be better off sticking to the bridal path which was the only place left to run that wasn’t teeming with people, for the most part anyway. Turned out nowhere was sacred and it was being used as a parking lot, which provided me and – surprise – other runners with minimal running space. Seemed I wasn’t the only one clueless or maybe the others just didn’t care, their pace certainly not indicating any kind of urgency or purpose really. In any event, what saved the day and ensured some pluses for me was the fact that though I had gotten a late start – at the height of noonday, which is only possible during Fall, though I was still testing it as we were only into the second day of it – there was a slight coolness and breeze that ensured it wasn’t a humid eighty degrees. So while it was still hot and I perspired profusely, I was running on the inside trail and not the roadway and was therefore able to benefit from the shade from overhead trees and less impact to my knees. At certain points it was even possible to tune out the people factor and enjoy the music, which was certainly loud enough. Another plus was that the water fountains were still on to which I religiously succumbed, albeit unwisely.

If you’ve ever run in Central Park on a Saturday then you know it’s better suited to early am short runs. In spite of this, I was able to tolerate the tourists with their bikes and entourages – most New Yorker’s have little patience with their slow and wandering gait – and take in the beautiful spectacle that is Fall with its colorful trees and dropping leaves. In the strangest way that Autumn is wont to do, it was able to calm me, give me focus, inspire my thanks and appreciation and encourage my finish.

While I’ve been running for many years, I’m still learning or being reminded of things I learnt a while aback, some of which were (1) Avoid running at midday unless it’s in the dead of Winter. (2) Laps are never a good idea for 20 miles. (3) One or two sips of water is always better p/mile than gulps. (4) It’s always better to stick with a tried and true method; such as, if gels work for you then leave the bars alone, and (5) Never go for long runs in the park on a weekend if you can help it.

I finished, rather wearied and drained and called it a day about 2 hours and 45 minutes later. In all honesty it felt like the longest 2:45 ever and I was happy to get home and get horizontal; there I remained until the next morning hoping never for a repeat performance.

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