8 Mile: Central Park, Not Detroit (With Pictures for Proof)

I feel legit in differentiating between 8 Mile Road in Detroit and my 8-mile run in Central Park this morning mainly because I’ve been there. (Dunkin Donuts stop while on my way to the zoo.) It’s not as scary as the movie makes it seem, but who am I kidding, I was sitting in a car with locked doors.

Why the sudden excitement? I’ve never run 8 miles before work before. 7.5 miles? Yes, on a few occasions now. But with time to spare on Tuesday morning, I figured I’d tack on an extra lap around the block to call it an even 8. And I enjoyed the warm, fuzzy feeling of that round, even number all day long.

Here’s the quick and dirty.

Who. Just me, myself and I. I hadn’t taken a run since my obnoxiously somewhat hungover run on Saturday morning.

It’s funny, because when my brother picked me up to go to Long Island on Sunday, he made this comment inferring that I’d go crazy—no, worse than crazy; bananas—if I couldn’t run for a few days. Normally, that’d be pretty accurate. But in all seriousness, right now, I don’t think I’d mind it. Sunday’s rain was a welcome excuse to sit on my behind and eat 3-berry pie. Monday’s fog gave me an equally welcome reason to spend my morning strength training.

By the time Tuesday’s sunshine filtered through my windows, I was definitely eager to go, but I didn’t feel a dire need. Ultimately, I was most excited to spend an hour on my own, listening to music and taking in Central Park’s surroundings. What could be better than that? (Rhetorical question. The answer is nothing.)

What. A 7-miler turned 8-miler.

So I have a confession. I recently downloaded the Map My Run app on my iPhone, mainly so that I wouldn’t have to flip open my computer every morning in order to calculate how far I’d gone. When I finally got the app to work this morning, I was a little excited—but a little nervous too.

One of the biggest and most important reasons I run is to find freedom without worrying about consequences. In my mind, there’s no such thing as running too slow or not far enough, whereas the very notion of a Garmin or other training device changes all that.

I gave myself boundaries in using Map My Run. I’d open the icon, make sure it’s working, and go about my run as usual. I didn’t look at my pace (though I doubt it’s very accurate); I didn’t check how far I’d gone. Like any other morning, I just ran.

As I began to approach my apartment, I realized I had gone nearly 7.75 miles, which is when the temptation set in. I mean, another quarter of a mile? Really? That definitely warranted an extra lap around the neighborhood, just to top off the distance.

I’ll be honest, I kind of liked having this option, though I think I’ll maintain this habit of “pretending it’s not there” until I’m closer to home. That way, I can retain the personal, non-measured aspect of my morning runs—while giving myself a little wiggle room to exceed my own expectations too.

Where. Central Park and the delicious Jackie O’ Reservoir. Need I say more? That can’t be real.

When. Well, this is a boring question and answer. Tuesday morning, 7a.m. Eastern Standard Time. (For your benefit, I won’t continue with the rest of the opener to RENT.)

Why. (See above explanation to “where.”) Oh, also because I love running, in case you’re new to the blog or something.

How. How is an interesting question. On the surface, Tuesday morning’s 8-mile run around the Central Park reservoir was absolutely perfect. From the moment I stepped out of my apartment to the moment I got home, I thought to myself, these are the mornings running was made for.

And it’s so true! Everything, from the crisp spring air to the sunshine to the way the breeze carried over the water, was flawless. It actually reminded me of sleep away camp—those extra cool August mornings when you could hear the rustling of the leaves outside the bunk window in those precious moments before reveille.

Central Park was having one of those picturesque days where it could do no wrong, and thanks to my new running mantra (I won’t take today’s run for granted), I was more focused on gratitude than ever.

Perhaps I’m hesitant to call the run a knockout because, while amazing, it certainly wasn’t easy. What began as a light, effortless stride quickly turned tired and heavy—especially as I approached Cat Hill’s claw-like incline. My toe was also throbbing (still haven’t quite figured that one out yet), and I was developing a strange twinge on the upper part of my left foot.

Fortunately, I found new energy reserves once I reached the flat pathway that surrounds the reservoir. I also found my bearings. Running isn’t supposed to be easy, at least not all the time; that’s not why I fell in love with it. It is supposed to offer up a sense of calm and a peace of mind amidst hard work, sweat and determination.

I won’t take today’s run for granted, I repeated to myself. I won’t take today’s run for granted. And before I knew it, I was back at my apartment ready to (attempt to) take on the world.

  • When’s the last time you had one of those “cue the angels” type of runs where the weather alone makes you happy to be out there?
  • How much distance can you usually squeeze in during a morning run? (Truth: Sometimes I feel lazy if I can only get in 3, even though I know that’s totally silly and 3 miles is still substantial – and better than none.)
  • Have you been maintaining a grateful attitude on your runs? (It’s okay if you want to punch your run in the face too.)

6 thoughts on “8 Mile: Central Park, Not Detroit (With Pictures for Proof)

  1. Ohhh your blogging about running makes me so happy. You’re pictures and descriptions of Central Park make me down right envious!

    The last time the weather was perfect…hmmm, there’s been a few late night runs recently. The one that pops into my head the most though is my Christmas morning run of 2010. The weather was amazing, snowy, but no wind and so still and perfect. I loved that run with all my heart. (So why the hell did I stop running after that for so very long? 😦 )

    I want to punch my runs in the face, I do, but I feel so amazing after that I am grateful for them. This morning was another run with my friend on her first week of it. She’s doing C25K and is on day 2. So the running time was easy for me, but I’m working on speed with her. She hauls ass. So today I am grateful to have her to push me to run faster!

    • Thank you! It’s amazing how I’m all about this warm(er) weather right now, but the second you describe a snowy run, I’m right back in winter mode. They can be peaceful and delicious too. Hope you enjoyed your speedy run!

  2. p.s. since i updated my mapmyrun app (LOVE THAT APP!) it no longer looks like that. I am bummed. The view of the map has changed.

  3. Excellent post today!

    I have to admit I’m one of those that lives and dies by my Garmin. Mostly because I like to see proof of everything after I run. I also find it handy in the example you gave when I am only 2/10ths of a mile from completing a 10k distance and can go just a little farther and track it.

    I’ve definitely had a few of those “cue the angels” kind of runs where it almost feels surreal and like I am floating through the run. During the week, the farthest I have run in the morning is 6.2 miles but normally 4-5.

    • I’m right on board with the 4-5ers, but I’m starting to realize how great I feel after a lengthier run! I’m also starting to realize why it’s nice to have a way to measure distance, but I think I may avoid looking at it until I’m nearing the end.

      Thanks a lot!

      • I have to say the downside of the Garmin or other tracking tool is sometimes you may think you have gone farther than you have and then looking can be a disappointment. I find this particularly true on trail runs. You have to focus so much more that it feels like you have run 5 miles when in reality you have only gone a mile and a half.

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