This weekend had its ups and downs – points of health and points of, well, total health abandonment. It started out on Friday night, when I made the decision to go to bed around 10:30 after just one glass of wine and a disappointing basketball game (Michigan lost, ugh).
When I woke up on Saturday morning, I was full of energy and decided that, if I was going to work a 7-mile run into my weekend, it had to be then. I love New York City on the weekend, before anyone has the chance to wake up and crowd the streets. With Noah still asleep along with the rest of Manhattan, I got dressed and set out for a run around the reservoir. I could hardly wait to get there.
I maintained a slow and steady pace for a majority of the run, especially to start. 5th Avenue was already gearing up for the St. Paddy’s Day celebration, and it was fun to watch people staking out a space for themselves near the parade route and police arming themselves for what was sure to be a rowdy afternoon of controlling drunken fools.
Usually on the weekend, I enter the park at 59th and 5th Avenue to spend as much time as possible in the park, but on Saturday, I instead opted to run north on Madison Avenue, window shopping, people watching and generally taking advantage of the empty sidewalks. It was really peaceful, if nothing else, and before I knew it, I arrived at Central Park.
When I reached the 72nd Street entrance, I was more than excited. The paths were full of runners by 8:30 a.m., and so I integrated myself with the moving masses and headed up toward the reservoir. It had been a while since I incorporated the reservoir into my run, and I’d say I picked the right day to do it. Clear doesn’t begin to describe how perfect it was.
I was neither energetic nor winded on Saturday’s run. In a way, I was somewhat dumbfounded by the fact that, just a day earlier, I had experienced a nirvana-like feeling of flawlessness while running even though I was hungover and cranky. That said, I should have been able to fly over the pavement on Saturday, when instead I just kept plugging along, never out of breath but also never quite achieving that sense of mindlessness I was striving for. It was fine, and I wasn’t upset, but I definitely could have felt better.
Saturday’s run, like most of my weekend excursions in the last month, brought with it some really breathtaking views. Besides the reservoir, I especially enjoyed running south back toward the bottom loop of Central Park. Last week, there were a ton of runners on the course along with tourists rowing boats and enjoying themselves in the park. Saturday, around 9:00, I found it to be less overwhelming and more personal. After a stressful week, it was definitely a welcomed feeling of calm.
Given the distance, the run went by fairly quickly. It took me just about an hour and 20 minutes to cover roughly 7.5 miles – including picture breaks and a couple of minutes spent stretching as I exited at 59th Street and 6th Avenue. Just as I hit the 6 mile mark, as I left Central Park, my legs loosened up and I started to hit my stride. It would have been ideal to keep going and to maintain that new-found swift pace, but for the time being, I was more than happy with what I had accomplished, and so I made a pit-stop at Baked by Melissa to pick up some St. Paddy’s Day cupcakes and Starbucks for an iced skinny vanilla latte, and headed back home to shower and get ready for the day’s festivities.
Noah and I threw a little party at our apartment in honor of St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday afternoon, not because we have any affiliation with the holiday (we’re both Jewish, clearly not Irish), but because neither of us had any interest in spending the afternoon at an overcrowded bar. It was also a great excuse to hang out on the roof.
It didn’t take long before my first cocktail was poured and I was ready to start the day off right with an orange and pineapple juice mimosa. That’s legitimate post-run fuel, right?
Day drinking was awesome. And while I love the idea of rocking a buzz in sunshine (that’s always nice and all), the real reason is because it gives me an excuse to go to sleep early. By 10:30, just like the previous night, I was back in bed and setting myself up for another solid 10-hour or so night of sleep. It was glorious.
Sunday morning, Noah and I woke up early and walked over from the apartment to Times Square to watch the New York City Half Marathon.
After 10 days in a row of working out, 8 of which I ran, I decided to take the day off to rest my toe (it’s been hurting again, so I iced it on and off all day). If I couldn’t run, I was at least going to walk and watch others racing their hearts out. Times Square looked amazing with all those hard working runners; the scene essentially combined the two things I love most in life – running and candy.
In a way, I was a little sad I couldn’t be out there. Cheering is fun, but not as fun as actually participating in the race. On the other hand, the energy was fantastic and I could definitely feel myself getting excited for the Cherry Blossom Run, which is just 2 weeks away now.
Before heading home, we made a quick stop at Momofuku Milk Bar to grab a couple of compost cookies (it was practically on the way, so it would have been sinful not to go). I spent the rest of the day stretching, hanging out with my crazy cute nephew and otherwise just relaxing – something I haven’t been doing enough of lately.
As usual, I don’t have much of a set plan for the week, except that I’d love to squeeze a 7 miler in before Friday. What that means: I’ll have to wake up about 30 minutes earlier than usual. (Cue the dooming music now.) Fortunately, I know I’ll be happy after I do.
With 2 weeks to go until D.C., I really want to increase my mileage this week to keep priming my body for the race because, while I know I could run 10 miles tomorrow, I’m not sure if I’d be able to do it without hating myself for the last mile or so. Strength is important to me during this run, not necessarily time or speed. I want to say that I ran the race without feeling an ounce of misery or pain or dread. I want that feeling of total contentment, and I want it to last through the finish line.
My biggest concern right now is that I tend to feel out of my element when running on a new course. This is my first race outside of New York City, and while I know that these nerves are all in my head, I’m not quite sure how to repress my tendency to psych myself out. I love running, no matter where I am, but this creature of habit can become mighty shaky when taken out of her element. If anyone has any advice on this, your tips would be more than welcomed. Do you get nervous when covering new territory? How do you overcome it?