Smelly Yet Satisfying: Monday’s 5-Miler Through Manhattan’s Stanky Streets

After running on Sunday with views like this…

…and this…

…you can imagine how discouraged I felt when, upon stepping out of my apartment, my personal space was immediately invaded by the smell of ketchup and trash.

New York, New York.

Anyway, waking up on Monday wasn’t easy at all. I had just spent the previous day running up a 3/4-mile hill that took every last ounce of my energy and lung capacity, and though I was looking forward to my big Manhattan return, my calves, on the other hand, were most certainly not.

The tightness I felt from the second I stepped out was less than ideal, and while I thought about cutting my ritual 5-mile run to a mere 3, I knew that my sanity for the rest of the day — maybe even the rest of the week — relied on my completing what I set out to achieve first thing on Monday morning. And so, with tight calves, achy thighs and a general sense of crankiness, I made my way up to the 72nd Street entrance of Central Park I know so well, and finished what I started.

Needless to say, I was satisfied with my perseverance; because while Midtown may have smelled like the inside of a garbage truck sitting outside of a McDonalds, Central Park was beautiful and peaceful as ever, boasting hoards of fellow runners and cyclists eating miles for breakfast.

Is there anything more delicious than this?

Whenever I feel as though the number of miles I had planned seems too much, too hard, too whatever, I mentally break my run in half to disperse some of the negativity. The difference in time and energy that it takes to run 5 miles instead of 3 is so negligible to begin with that all it takes is a little added effort and mental tweaking to make the impossible seem feasible once again.

Whereas I wanted to turn around after a mile and a half, I told myself that all I had to tackle was 1 mile more — to the half way point, that is. Once you’re at the half way point, you really have no choice but to beast the back half and get home.

By the time I got to Central Park, I decided to give myself some slack by allowing myself to stretch. I’ve been experiencing some strange inner knee pain lately that has left me terrified of injury, and so one of the promises I made to myself for the week was that, if I was going to keep up running 5 days a week, I’d do so in the most intelligent way possible.

With the sun shining and a brief break from intense humidity, I used the small area above the Bethesda Fountain to stretch my calves, my legs, my Achilles, my lower back. When I was good and ready, I set off to complete the latter portion of Monday morning’s run.

The difference between the first and second segments of Monday’s run can hardly be described. Whereas I started out tight and exhausted, I finished strong and consistent – though I’m still not sure whether to attribute my enhanced performance to the fact that I had finally woken up or my muscles gave in.

One thing I do know is that I’m well on my way to accomplishing the 25 miles I had hoped to achieve this week. Now all that’s left is to figure out when I’ll squeeze in my “longer” 8-miler that I was hoping to complete this weekend, but will no longer be able to due to a trip to the eastern end of Long Island. Sometimes, drinking trumps running.

Life’s tough.

  • Did you kick off your week with a run?
  • Are there any aspects of your city or town that make you cringe when running? Hills? Foot traffic? Stank?
  • When you know you’re going away for the weekend, do you plan your longer run in advance or schedule it during your trip?

5 thoughts on “Smelly Yet Satisfying: Monday’s 5-Miler Through Manhattan’s Stanky Streets

  1. Definitely try to squeeze the long run in before/after instead of running while away… at least if you’re anything like me. Last year during training I had a lot of long weekends away so I started doing long runs on Monday after work, rested Tuesday and then kicked of my ‘training week’ on a Wednesday. Worked magic and is much less of an imposition on your weekends. Happy Tuesday!

    • I agree, though depending on where you are, it can be KINDA nice to run long on vacation. Like in San Francisco. As for this weekend, I don’t plan on running 8 miles in wine country … it’s just too monotonous, and so yes, I’m hoping for Friday. (I’m impressed with your Monday skills! SO tough to get out of bed.)

      • Ha, don’t give me too much credit, I do the long Monday one AFTER work… 😉 Tough to get motivated, but definitely worth to be done with it. And what a way to start off the week. Wine country? Seriously jealous!

      • Ha, now it’s my turn. Don’t give ME too much credit. Wine country Long Island, not California or anywhere else where it actually tastes good.

      • At least you guys are having gorgeous, hot weather to enjoy that kind of stuff! We’re currently only on day 4 (!!!) of the English summer… and not even sure that’ll last til the Olympics opening ceremony either!

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