The original plan was 7 miles in Central Park with EN, except he threw his back out “working in the shop” and had to bail. This left me with the perfect opportunity to jiggity-jig it, and oh how I love my bipedal commutes. Time-savers and stress-releasers all at once, running home from work is the perfect solution to long days at work. It’s 3.5 miles on the nose from my office to my apartment, which meant that I’d have to double the mileage home to meet the demands of my training schedule. It’s always better to add miles at the front end, because it’s a total bummer to arrive at my corner in Sunnyside only to have to run past home. So, the new plan: Run up Fifth Avenue from the office and enter the park at 59th & 5th, run a lower loop, cross town to the 59th Street Bridge, and then finally home as per usual.
I was dying for the alone time. Surely you know what I mean. Even though I’m one of those reluctant extroverts (in theory, people aggravate me but then in practice, when I get in a group I end up having so much fun), I definitely need time to myself on a regular basis. I was also happy to have my iPod along with me on this run; I never bring it with my on my long runs (trying to train the brain so it knows what to expect on race day), but will induldge on shorter runs if it will get me out the door.
I fought my way past the tourists and bicycle rickshaws clogging Fifth Avenue, and jogged onto the lower loop (you know, the 1.72-mile one). There are moments when I would rather not seen any other runners, but when I am in Central Park I welcome their presence. I feel like part of a (not-so) secret society of people who know something the rest of the city doesn’t: running rocks, and running in the park is the quintessenial NYC running experience. These are my people, my community. Whenever those speedy club runners pass me, they leave me in a wake of aspiration and inspiration.
Lower loop completed, I passed the Apple Store and the Plaza Hotel before cutting east, running over on 58th Street in the hopes of avoiding heavy pedestrian traffic. I hate darting around sidewalk amblers. They are a hazard–oblivious on their mobile phones, or waiting to trip me up with their dog’s leash, or letting their child zigzig ahead of them, right in my path. Before I knew it I was ascending the western approach of the bridge, and I was surprised how frisky I felt. The hill barely had me panting, and Little G told me I was moving at a faster clip than I’d have guessed.
Before I knew it I was home, sweaty, panting, and feeling like a million bucks. What work aggro? What time crunch? I was buzzed. 7.14 miles in 1:06. Average pace 9:14; fastest mile 8:50; slowest mile 9:43.
Songs I ran to: “Lyla” by Oasis, “Made Me Hard” by the Whitlams, “The Maestro” by the Beastie Boys, “Maggie May” by Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs, “Magic Carpet Ride” by Bedlam, “Magic Number” by De La Soul, “Make Believe” by Matthew Sweet, “Make Me Believe” by Angel Taylor, “Make Me Smile” by Chicago, “Make Out Alright” by Divinyls, “Make the World Safe” by the Whitlams, “Make You Feel My Love” by Adele, “Make You Feel My Love” by Billy Joel, “Make You Feel My Love” by Bob Dylan, “Make You Teel My Love” by Joan Osborne (**CONTEST! The first person to post a comment correctly guessing why I have the same song four times in a row wins a copy of A Race Like No Other by Liz Robbins**), “Making Out” by No Doubt, “Mama’s Got a Girlfriend” (LIVE) by Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, “Mama’s Got a Girlfriend” (STUDIO) by Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, “Mama’s Trippin’” by Ben Harper, “Mama Help Me” by Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians