I admit, this blog has taken a bit of a backseat over the past few weeks as I have transitioned from Long Islander Who Lives in a House to New Yorker Who Lives in an Apartment Again. My life has been nonstop packing, unpacking, buying boxes, flattening boxes, throwing things away, buying things, organizing, cleaning, putting things in drawers and on shelves and generally trying to create a nice living space for myself and the two dogs I inherited from my mom who I still sometimes have trouble calling “my” dogs even though they are now.
I really love where I live. I love New York City so much, and after a year and a half in Los Angeles and another year and a half on Long Island – both, in different ways, being mostly isolating, frustrating, anxiety-ridden experiences – I’m happy to be back in the city I always knew would be my home from the time I was a kid.
I love my neighborhood. I’m close to the subway, food, places to run and walk the dogs. I’m settling in, finding my routines, trying to find a place for everything. I still have things to unpack. I think I packed too much.
Of course, I’ve been making time to run. I hope that will always be the case. There have been a lot of changes over the past few weeks and months, but the consistency of having a workout routine is key to my mental well-being, not to mention my physical one. If anything has remained consistent in my life, it’s running, and I am grateful I’m able to do it.
I now live much closer to work – my formerly 1 hour and 45 minute commute is now about 25 minutes by subway or 40 minutes by foot (more on that in a later post!). I’m eating dinner a little earlier than I used to. I’m not really getting much more sleep, but that’s my own fault.
On the other hand, I’m spending more time walking the dogs. Where I used to walk them for 30 minutes once in the morning and then a dog walker and the backyard would take care of the rest of the day’s peepees and poopies, I am now walking them 4-5 times a day, anywhere from 5 to 50 minutes each time. So that’s time I need to now factor into my everyday schedule. Which is not a bad thing, or even unexpected. It just is.
I’m sandwiched between two great parks, Riverside and Central. I love having the option of running in either, depending on how much time I have and what I want to accomplish. Riverside is better for shorter, slower runs; Central is better for longer and/or faster ones. I have yet to venture south of 60th Street on the Riverside path, but I’m sure I will do longer runs there as well at some point.
The week following the Brooklyn Half Marathon was a time for me to ease back into running – no speedwork or anything super intense. The race was Saturday and I stuck to upper body strength training both Sunday and Monday. I read that you’re supposed to take five days off from running after a half marathon. I didn’t want to do this and only took two. (I also think it depends on the person and how quickly you can recover from intense running.) By Tuesday, my legs were still a little sore, but I was ready to get back out there.
TUESDAY: 4.3 easy miles, 9:25 pace. I did this run in Riverside Park. It’s a lovely park with several different running paths. Some of them are a little narrow and you have to share the path with cyclists, so I find I’m on more of a “high alert” than when I’m in Central Park. I’ve noticed a lot of cyclists seem to be commuting to work, which is cool. Anything to cut down on public transportation and traffic congestion. I meant this run to be super easy, and it was. My legs were still a bit achy from Saturday but I felt fine afterwards.
WEDNESDAY: 6.74 harder miles, 8:57 pace. Not hard. Just harder. This was in Central Park, as I knew I wanted to go longer than 4 and figured why not just do a complete CP loop, which is about 6. What’s interesting about running in CP is that I don’t ever intend to go faster – I do by default. Other than the first mile, which was at a 9:33 pace, all of the others fell between 8:24 and 9:15. I have a theory: in Central Park, there are more runners to pass. Runners who, for the most part, are running almost equal to or slightly slower than my easy pace. For the same reason you speed up when you fall in step beside someone walking down the sidewalk, it’s awkward to run right alongside a stranger for too long. So I wind up passing people, then I guess just keeping up the pace so I don’t make them feel awkward being too close in front of them. Or maybe it’s just the energy of the park. Whatever it is, I’m faster there.
THURSDAY: Strength training day. Just a simple upper body routine with free weights. I no longer have the luxury of having a basement, so I’ve had to stop doing any workouts that involve jumping. No burpees or jumping jacks for me lately, unless I want to piss off my downstairs neighbors. I might start adding burpees onto my runs outside at some point.
FRIDAY: 6.73 easy-ish miles, 9:07 pace. Central Park. This was almost identical to Wednesday’s run, just slightly slower. Again, this was the week after the Brooklyn Half, so I was trying to take it easy – no tempo runs or speedwork just yet. This felt pretty easy, even though it was at a faster pace than my normal easy pace. I love the Central Park loop. There are just the right amount of hills, and the time I tend to run (before 7am) means it’s not super crowded yet.
SATURDAY: 7 mile tempo run, 9:11 pace. Riverside Park. Okay, I lied. I did kind of do a tempo run this week. Sort of. This was the longest run I’ve done so far in Riverside. Initially, I was going to run south for 4 miles and then turn back up, but at the 3.33 mile mark, at about 60th Street, the path seemed to end and I didn’t feel like venturing into the street to see where it picked up again. So I turned back north. Instinctively, I sped up. I had run the first 3 miles at 9:50, 9:19, and 9:30 pace. I ran the next 3 at 8:48, 8:19, and 8:38. This definitely felt harder, but sustainable. I sweated a lot.
SUNDAY: Strength training, upper body. It was raining, and since I had Monday off, I opted to do my long run on Monday. From 6am, I spent almost all day unpacking and cleaning and organizing, and later that evening I had a nice dinner at my aunt’s apartment that her visiting friend cooked, and it was delicious. My aunt only lives a 15-minute walk away from me now, which is crazy.
MONDAY: 15.4 easy miles, 9:34 pace. MY LONGEST RUN EVER! This was great. Central Park loop, 2+ times. Two hours and 27 minutes. Non-stop. Felt really good. I was actively trying to keep my pace down somewhere between 9:30 and 9:45, and I mostly succeeded. I’m really glad I did this, because I think it helped keep me feeling strong throughout. It was difficult not to go faster – I really had to think about it. Up until this point, my longest run had been 14 miles, and that was months ago – right before that month-long hiatus I took.
Towards the end, I ran inside the park for a bit before coming back onto the inner loop but this time going clockwise instead of counterclockwise. It’s funny how much this threw me off. I honestly wasn’t sure where I was at a couple of points, and the only difference was that I was running in the other direction. I even took a wrong exit at one point that led me to a circular path I had never seen before in my life and I was almost certain I was in a Twilight Zone episode. I went back onto the main running path and eventually exited the park in the right place. I didn’t stop until I reached my corner.
I also wore my Brooklyn Half t-shirt for the first time.
I also made banana coconut cinnamon pancakes for my post-run breakfast, which were very good and I was very happy to eat these very delicious pancakes. I will post the recipe soon.
So that about sums up my first post-half-marathon week of running, and my second full week of running as a resident of NYC.
I ran yesterday and this morning too, but I’ll save those stories for another post so this one isn’t super long (too late).