Happy Global Running Day! A day late. No, two! This post has taken me three days to write. Hooray for me!
I’m almost all the way there as far as being settled in my new place. Still working out the kinks. I have curtains, but no curtain rods. Artwork is still leaning against walls. And somehow, I own 27 iPhone cables but have lost the plug for the TV so I haven’t even turned that on yet. I’ve mostly been watching The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu and Youtube videos about running. A lot of Shalane Flanagan and Gwen Jorgensen: my two best friends who don’t know I exist.
On this blog, I’ve been writing details of just about every run. This was partly due to excitement over Having a Blog, but I also had this solid chunk of time to write each morning on the train ride into the city. Now that I’ve moved to the city and have been developing a new routine, posting about every single run feels kind of exhausting to me. I imagine it might be even more exhausting to read. I’d rather write a bit more generally, incorporating some runs into each post. I’ll play it by ear. Change is good.
I’ve started upping my weekly mileage. For a long time, it stayed around 25-30 miles a week. Last week I ran 41. I’m shooting for 50-60, and then seeing how that feels. One of the ways I’m doing this is by running home from work, with the intention of eventually doing it three times a week with some double run days. I started last week, running home on Tuesday and Thursday.
I’ve been fantasizing about running home from work ever since I considered the possibility of moving back to the city. I’d never done it before. I was never really able to, as most of the places I’d lived in NYC were too far away from my jobs. My old place in Astoria is 5.4 miles from where I work now, which isn’t super far, but there’s something about having to go over a bridge that feels daunting. If I lived in Astoria now, I don’t think I’d consider running home. Not regularly. Central Park is one thing. The Queensboro Bridge is another.
But I live in Manhattan now, only 68 blocks north (and a bit west) of my office. A little over 4 miles, with Central Park in between. Seems like a no-brainer. It’s taken a little getting used to – my body is not used to 7pm runs. I get home later than if I took the subway, I’m super hungry for dinner, and I have to take an extra shower that day. But overall, I really like doing it.
Last Tuesday was my first run home. I work 18 blocks south of Central Park, and I didn’t love the idea of having to run on the sidewalks between my office and the park. Which, as it turned out, was annoying. There were a lot of people walking (naturally, as that’s what sidewalks are for, not assholes like me) and I had to keep stopping at intersections. I breathed a sigh of relief once I got to the park, where it was an easy stretch home. It was particularly humid that day, and I sweated like a pig. I made the mistake of not removing my mascara before I left work, so when I got home I looked like a raccoon. Sorry, I forgot to take pics.
The next morning, I ran 3.36 eeeasy miles in Riverside Park. I was still sore from Monday’s long run, compounded with the run home 12 hours earlier. I took it super slow. Normally, I don’t run the day after long runs, so I was feeling it. I decided not to run again until the following evening.
Thursday’s run home was a little faster. This time, I decided to avoid the sidewalks altogether, take the subway to Central Park and just start there. But this presented its own problem: although I avoided the sidewalk crowds, subway delays caused me to not really save any time. Kind of pointless. But I did get a nice pic from a foggy Columbus Circle.
There was a big race in Central Park that evening – something corporate-related. A lot of people clustered together wearing various company shirts. I ran along the same path, but separated by lines of tape. So it kind of felt like I was running with them. I tried going faster than some, because I am competitive.
It’s a really nice 4 miles. I go up along the east side of the park’s inner loop, then around the hills at the top until I come out the northwest corner. I usually don’t stop until I’m half a block from my place.
This week, I ran home Tuesday and Wednesday, with Tuesday being my first ever double run day! I had never done a double before. As far as I was always concerned, this was something reserved for “elite” runners. Pros. Brand-sponsored athletes. People who don’t have blogs.
But I’ve learned that running twice a day is one way to become a stronger runner. And why shouldn’t I do everything in my power to improve? Why not? I want to be better. How else do you get better than by following in the footsteps of people who are, you know, better? These are rhetorical questions.
I came up with a new plan to get to the park: walk 11 blocks, then run 7. This way, I’m not only warming up my legs after a long day of sitting, but I’m only doing the “annoying” running for a third of a mile. Easier.
It’s crazy how many people run in the evenings! Central Park is actually more crowded at 7:30pm than it is at 7:30am. I know a lot of running clubs meet at 7pm. And I guess many people would rather do an evening workout than get up early.
It’s been interesting to go from running totally solo in the suburbs of northern Long Island to running alongside – and against – dozens of other people. Sometimes I miss feeling all alone out there, but other times I welcome the company, even if I never exchange words with any of them.
There is also something I’ve always found lovely about traversing a large part of the city on foot – really getting to see how the city changes inch by inch, without the magic of underground transportation making you suddenly appear at your destination. Physically experiencing its gradual change somehow makes me appreciate the beauty of the city even more.
My plan is to work up to running home Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. (I’d like one day off a week from running and Mondays make the most sense; Fridays we get out at 3pm and I’d rather not run midday in the dead of summer.) I’ll probably run doubles on two of those days. Morning runs on Friday and Saturday. Sunday still my beautiful long run day.
I’ll start official marathon training soon, for which I am pumped. I’m happy to be starting off with a decent base – at least, decent for me. I’m excited and a little nervous to see how it goes over the next few months. I have high hopes for the NYC marathon, which I know is not advised, but I can’t help it. I want to be better.
I’m really glad I work where I do, live where I do, and that Central Park is a thing that exists. And that I can run. I am glad for that too.