Fall Running Favorites in the Big Apple πŸŽβ˜€οΈπŸ“ΈπŸ‚πŸπŸ¦‹πŸΏοΈπŸ¦†πŸ•ŠοΈπŸ¦’πŸ¦πŸƒπŸ½β€β™€οΈπŸ—½

Bow Bridge
@ Engineer’s Gate

It is a New York truism that Central Park is at its most gorgeous in Autumn. While Spring definitely has it’s charm, Summer is all get out beautiful, and winter can be a postcard perfect wonderland, Fall is by far my favorite in the park. I can’t put my finger on a singular thing but maybe it’s a combination: the riot of colors, the abundant foliage, the breathtaking views, the almost-there foot traffic, the near-perfect running temps, and the musical cacophony of the park’s residents. Autumn is everywhere in Central Park and for the above reasons, so am I.

Jackie Onassis Reservoir
Jackie Onassis Reservoir Running Path

Last week I took off on an impromptu run – the best kind – and can I just say.. wow. Mind you, I’ve made this park my running home, and I’ve been living in NYC for about 10 years now, so I’m not some starry eyed newbie. Still, it never gets old and gets me every time. Self confessed New Yorker that I am with a penchant for running all over this charming and gritty city, I am biased to Central Park. It is the epitome of an oasis in the desert and have served myself, thousands of New Yorkers, and millions of visitors over the years bringing respite, sanctuary, seclusion, nature, adventure, beauty, art, culture, and a host of other things that are quintessential New York to the world. I am just so stoked to have this as part of my New York life experience but more importantly as the catalyst for my running in this city. The park is where I started my 19-marathon running streak, that seems like ages ago now, and God’s willing there are a few more runs yet to explore here.

Running along the east side heading to 72nd Street
Along Cat Hill & heading to 72 St Transverse

Reminiscing aside, I must have been buoyed by that particular gorgeous Autumn day with its sights and sounds because I gleefully flew aka ran the 6-mile outer loop of the park, flitting in and out at various picturesque points to snap a quick shot or two of every which thing. It was a photo run, if there is such a thing, totally unorthodox in nature – pun intended – encompassing random yet popular, trivial yet wowing, basic yet catchy views. If Central Park was a person, it’s stealing shots of a person unbeknownst but really with that person knowing full well that people do it all the time. My run was littered with sudden stops, quickened pace, selfie poses, backtracking, off path jaunts, all the while happening in the early afternoon. I never run around midday unless it’s late Fall or winter as it’s the sunniest and least cold then and so it was the perfect running day. I wasn’t alone in this thinking as there were people everywhere. Seems there are many others that share my love for the park. It’s also the year of Covid-19, though you would never know it from inside this slice of heaven. In fact, you would be forgiven for forgetting, the only thing contagious there being the jovial and benevolent spirit of park goers. So for just about 2 hours, I ditched the mask, though I maintained social distance, and turned off the panic, noise, grit, and confusion of the outside world to just bask in the explosion of nature in the best place in my world right there and then.

Just about TCS Nyc Marathon Finish Line
Unnamed Rustic Bridge @ Southwest Reservoir

Pictures sometimes can’t really do justice to the reality but oftentimes it’s the best reminder we have and captures a moment in time that we’ll never get back. No matter how many times I’ve seen these, I never get tired of the views. Central Park is really my favorite place to be.

The Mall, William Shakespeare, & a Horse drawn Carriage

Fall In Love with Running this Fall

imageI am the eternal optimist. Let me tell you right off that I haven’t always been this way; times past, I have been quite the critique and complainer, what some people call.. high-maintenance, but a couple of years ago I made an important discovery.. my Aha moment if you will. I figured life is full of disappointments and dread but juxtaposed to this is its wonderful surprises and beautiful things.. depends on who’s looking and from where; remember my “perspective is everything” mantra? You see, battling disappointments can be a consuming past-time, who has time for that, so I decided to lean on the side of beautiful things as I really don’t have time for much else. Fast forward today and finding out yesterday that I missed the cut off 1:02 under qualifying mark for Boston 2015 by 22 seconds.

After the initial dread and tears which lasted a few minutes, I cannot allow for days as others who’ve described their past experiences, I smiled. Because I’m proud of me. Proud that I qualified within my first year of trying and that I came so close. While I’m in solidarity with the 1,946 other qualifiers who didn’t get in, I have so much hope for next year. Now to be honest, it is no easy feat to qualify: the sacrifice, commitment and hard work, that went into doing so is a testament to running excellence and is reason enough to be proud of your achievement. For some though, it might be impossible to do so again.. It is for those that my heart goes out; that you will never know the reward of your effort. May it be enough that you qualified. For others like myself, we know that runners never quit. It is the indelible spirit that unifies us, that we will train harder, run faster, do better and we will RUN BOSTON.

So tears aside, the race goes on and there are some great races all over the country to choose from if you’re going ahead with trying for Boston 2016 right away. Just so you know, the qualifying window opened last week, so all qualifying races that you run from here on until next year can count. I’m playing around with ideas such as Philly, New Jersey, Marine Corps DC or Anthem Richmond Marathon; all in beautiful Fall and with good courses to do a fast time. Whichever you choose, don’t forget to make sure it’s a qualifier.

The best things about running in the Fall season is nature and its transforming beauty. I heart its colorful changes, musicality and cool sunshine. And I get to do it from beautiful New York, oftentimes, in lovely Central Park. Therefore, it was only fitting that I ushered in the season with a 12 mile exhilarating run there two days ago. I felt so buoyant, so hopeful, so filled with wonder then and even now. I hold on to that, not allowing the disappointment of yesterday to steal my joy in today and in the promise of some beautiful Fall runs.

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