Lower Loop of Central Park = Easier than the More/Fitness Half

Wednesday morning’s run was incredibly empowering. Usually, I’d plan to enter the park at 72nd Street and essentially complete about ¾ of the bottom loop of Central Park, but instead, I went into the run with the intention of completing a full lap. After all, only 3 days ago I was grunting my way up and down Harlem Hill—twice—so a 1.7-mile lap seemed suddenly like a breeze.

It’s kind of funny, because I feel like when I talk to or read other blogs written by fellow runners and competitors, their mantras are positive and uplifting—something along the lines of “run hard” and the likes. During the Queens Half Marathon, I maintaining a an upbeat attitude and repeated the words, “Use your yogi breath.” (During Manhattan, I was too busy defrosting my eyelashes.)

During the More/Fitness Half Marathon, however, I found myself saying a somewhat quirky sentence over and over—and an obvious one at that. “This would be so much easier without these damn hills.” I mean, could I have been focusing on something more counteractive to my goal?

That brings me to Wednesday morning’s run. Pretty typical by my standards, I ran my usual 5(ish)-mile course from around Grand Central to the lower loop of Central Park and back home. The main difference was that I set an intention for my workout: I won’t take today’s run for granted.

It’s easy to do that, isn’t it? Every morning, I wake up and think about how far I’m going to run and where. I get excited, I get dressed, and I get out there to do it. Sometimes it’s great, sometimes it’s less than great; either way I feel better than ever afterward and throughout the rest of the day. (After all, no one has ever regretted working out.)

But that’s the danger of routine—you tend to lose sight of the value of what you’re doing.

The More/Fitness Half Marathon helped me to reevaluate my Central Park runs. As I passed the Bethesda Fountain, I thought about how exhausted I was on Sunday morning as I veered left and dry heaved into the dividers (trust me, I’m laughing), salt coming out of every pore of my body. And while my body was still somewhat tired and sore on Wednesday morning—even though I gave myself 2 days of rest from running—that mantra enabled me to feel grateful for how generally fun, relaxed and enjoyable my weekday run was, at least when compared to the conditions and circumstances of the race just a couple of days before.

I’d like to say this to myself more often. I won’t take today’s run for granted. Who knows; maybe it’ll work, maybe it won’t. Regardless, it’s certainly a refreshing take on an activity that’s become as expected as my morning coffee, my evening spritzer, and my hourly candy break.

I won’t take today’s run for granted. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

What are your running matras? Do you have something you repeat to yourself over and over to get you through a tough run or race? What’s the weirdest or quirkiest thought that’s ever popped into your head mid-competition?

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14 thoughts on “Lower Loop of Central Park = Easier than the More/Fitness Half

  1. I tend to chant a Bob Harper quote, “Get out of your comfort zone, keep going, be uncomfortable.” It works for me anyway. 🙂 Everytime I think, “God, I’m tired.” or “I’d rather be walking.” or “Ugh it’s too windy.” I chant that in my head, and keep going.

    The weirdest thought was the most terrifying. “If you don’t hurry up and make it home to the bathroom you will embarass yourself in front of EVERYONE. You will get there faster if you keep running.” That wasn’t quirky actually, just scary. lol The hazards of having the ‘burbs for your running course, no public restrooms!

  2. There are often three that I use. For race days in particular, “I keep having dreams” (from Frank Turner’s I am Disappeared) and “This chance to be alive and breathing” (from Tool’s Parabola). I also often use a [modified] line from Rumi, “Every movement is a profession of faith.” By the end of the CUCB, it was simply, “Let’s finish this.”

    I love yours, though, because sometimes, I’m out there running simply because I “have” to, and not because I know, ultimately, I love it. Thank you for this reminder.

  3. You are very wise! I like the comment about “danger of the routine” and not taking any run for granted. I believe I will now start every run with that idea going forward. Another way I have heard it said is “I don’t HAVE to run, I GET to run!”

    The two mantra’s I use are “I am strong, I am power, I am endurance.” and the other is “The hard makes it great!” If I am really struggling, I go very basic with “Just keep moving”.

  4. “I run because I love it.” When I get caught up thinking about calories or miles, I remind myself the real reason why I am running. I run because I love it. It helps me keep my brain in the right place.

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