After skunking two out of three of my weekday runs, I was hellbent and determined to get through the eleven on the schedule for Saturday. Since the thought of running up the Greenway along the FDR and East River was more than I could bare, and I didn’t have the time to train it to Central Park for a couple of loops, I decided to go for the Queens Combo: over the bridge and back (5 miles) plus to Hellgate (6 miles). I’ll tell you this up front: my heart wasn’t in it.
It started out alright; I was cold but I was happy to have on my striped hat with the fleece lining. Funny the things that will get you out the door. This was one of those workouts where I was so inside my own head that I was barely aware of my surroundings–certainly, not the safe way to be when running alongside and through traffic, but it was what it was and an exterior focus just wasn’t going to happen.
Over the 59th Street Bridge was fine; there was a frigid wind which slowed down the warm-up stage of my run so my muscles were cold for longer than usual. The hills felt harder, I chalked that up to having missed three days of running in a row.
Mile 1 — 9:11
Mile 2 — 9:45
Mile 3 — 10:11
Mile 4 — 9:18
Mile 5 — 9:26
Even though I’ve run to the Hellgate section of Astoria at least twenty times before, my head was so in the clouds that I made a long turn and ran nearly two miles before I realized I was lost! I ended up by the Costco in Long Island City, where I have neve rbefore been. It wasn’t an unpleasant run at all*, except I wasn’t sure of the distance home, nor of where I would end up, which meant my mileage calibration was all off and I’d have to keep running until I hit a street I recognized, and then get to an intersection I knew, and reorient myself. At least I was meant to run long! Check out this map to see where I went awry, and where I should have gone.
You can see where I took the wrong turn — the little black line demonstrates the direction I should have gone at that Y-intersection. I didn’t realize I was lost until I got to Costco! Then I recognized Broadway, turned onto it, and knew that if I just kept running eventually I’d bump into a familiar avenue. When I got to Steinway, I turned towards Ditmars thinking perhaps I could continue along, but I had already run over 8 miles so once I realized how far I was I gave up and headed towards home. Ultimately I ran 10 miles, which were mentally difficult since I was dragging myself through them. Even though I could see the humor in it even as I was trotting bewildered around Long Island City, it was still a little demoralizing. After more than an hour and a half of trucking through Western Queens, I was just glad it was over.
Mile 6 — 9:31
Mile 7 — 9:30
Mile 8 — 9:58
Mile 9 — 9:32
Mile 10 — 9:49
*Most stretches were quiet yet not abandoned in that scary way. I even got lucky–running past this firehouse led to a few blocks of rescue fantasies involving brawny firemen with strong local accents. What can I say? They are there to save me, and they know mouth-to-mouth.