So when my good friend Lainy and I made plans to hang out on Sunday and needed something to do, I came up with a brilliant plan: Let's run the full loop in Central Park!
This was historic for me because it was my first full loop, and it was historic for her because to date, her longest run ever was 4 miles. How exciting for us both! And who better to make running history with, considering Lainy was my partner for my first ever 5K just 2.5 years ago!
First, to get you familiar with the park (since some of you asked), here's a copy of the map from CentralPark.com (it's also available for $4.95):
|layout of Central Park|
|Ready to run! Pink & black - my favorite running colors!|
|On the 59th St Bridge, which wasn't even a struggle. I barely realized I was even biking up that long hill till I was just about at the center.|
|Hang on Lainy, I'm on my way!|
|Inside the park at East 72nd Street, posing for our "before" photo, which an older gentleman was nice enough to snap for us|
It was cold, so we had to start moving to get warm!
We started running at a nice pace that was comfortable for the both of us. (If you want to follow our route using the map above, we began on the East side of the park at 72nd Street and ran counterclockwise.) I'm really never in a rush anyway. I start every run by assessing how my body feels and then I adjust accordingly, going faster if I can or slower if I need to. Besides, my primary goal with every run is to finish. In order to do that, I pace myself to be able to finish. If I am having a super awesome running day and happen to be able to run faster and happen to hit a time or pace record, then that's great. But that's never my goal.
Shortly into our run I hit her with "Oh, by the way, I'm blogging this. Sorry I should have warned you in case you wanted to wear makeup or something..." But I think by now she knows any time we hang out, pics are likely to end up in a blog post. Good thing she's a good sport!
|Running up the first little hill, Cat Hill (you can just about make out the cat statue on the rock in the center of the photo. I've photographed it before, during other races.)|
We were talking so much while we were running that I actually forgot to take photos! It wasn't until I realized we were approaching the dreaded hill at 110th Street that I had to stop and grab a photo. I'm not quite sure you get the full idea of the steepness and length of this hill, but it's significant (and this isn't the whole thing - the hill turns to the right beyond what is shown here)
|at the base of the great hill in Central Park|
As I was running up that hill one thing struck me immediately: It really wasn't bad at all. Sure I wasn't breaking any speed records, but I was running only slightly slower than I'd run normally. I didn't feel like I was going to die and I didn't feel the need to stop -- so I didn't stop. Another thing struck me: Running up this hill is MUCH less challenging than biking up this hill. I was actually surprised how relatively easy it was, especially compared to pedaling that cruiser up it.
I ran all the way to the top and waited for Lainy. To her credit, she wasn't far behind me!
|Yeah! We did it! We conquered the hill at 110th Street! Who's awesome and has their thumbs up? These 2 chicks!|
|Running in Central Park, and not because I'm being chased by a mugger or rabid dog. I don't think teenage me ever saw this day coming...|
As we ran, we chatted. We talked about how long we've known each other (8 years now!) and I pointed out all the great ways our lives have changed in that time. We are completely different people now than we were in 2004. I was 33, separated from my husband and living in Yonkers in a house by myself. I was heavy and depressed and very lazy and sad. Lainy was like a little sister. At just 24, she was in a very transitional period in her life. She lived at home, was going to school and working part time. We've both changed and grown so much since then, and in great ways. She's still like a little sister but in a lot of ways I got to see her become an adult - personally and professionally. I'm so proud of that girl!! *sniff*
|Oh yay, there's that building I like on Central Park West!|
|Lainy had to tie her shoelace. On her way up, this happened.|
Him: "So, you girls are hardcore runners, huh?"
Me: "Helllll yeah, we are! You know, we're the type to wake up, go for a run in Central Park, train for half marathons and marathons. It's just what we do. It's who we are. Hard. Core. Runners!"(Much giggling ensued)
Then we picked up our pace and left him in our hardcore running dust! (not really, but it's a good visual. In truth, I'm sure he passed us...)
We can!Sure enough, the sign for East 72nd Street was just a few dozen yards away - I told Elaine we were running all the way to the light at 5th Ave. Then I kicked it into high gear for that final little sprint, turned around, threw up my victory arms and high-fived Elaine. I stopped my Garmin & GPS, then made her pose for an after photo-
(And soon we will say:)
|After running the full loop in Central Park, our first time and Lainy's first time running over 4 miles!|
On our quest for post-run food, we passed a church with a sign that said "Astounded by Grace". I hadn't even noticed it, but Lainy did. I asked her to get in front of it and "look astounded". This is the result -
|Lainy - astounded by grace... or something|
|Post run meal - bagel, tofu cream cheese & coffee with soy.|
Here are my heart rate monitor stats for the day:
Bike to Lainy's:
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Minutes in Cardio Zone: 30 minutes
- Percentage of Time in Cardio Zone: 100%
- Average Heart Rate: 142
- High Heart Rate: 157
- Total Calories Burned: 238
- Total Miles: 4.25
- Activity Points Plus Earned: 2
- Total Time: 74 minutes, 36 seconds
- Minutes in Cardio Zone: 68 minutes, 50 seconds
- Percentage of Time in Cardio Zone: 92%
- Average Heart Rate: 152
- High Heart Rate: 182
- Total Calories Burned: 662
- Total Miles: 6
- Pace: 12'26"
- Activity Points Plus Earned: 13
- Total Time: 70 minutes
- Minutes in Cardio Zone: 43 minutes
- Percentage of Time in Cardio Zone: 61%
- Average Heart Rate: 137
- High Heart Rate: 166
- Total Calories Burned: 466
- Total Miles: 8.5
- Activity Points Plus Earned: 5
|Coconut oil (1), peas (1), onions, peppers, mushrooms, eggplant, spinach, Gardein "chicken" strips (3), Tofu Shirataki Macaroni shaped noodles and simmer sauce (3)|
For more information about running in Central Park, check out this article by Bob Glover on the New York Road Runners website.
(and this is random, but since so many people like my photos, here are a few from the ride home after I left Lainy...)
|Whole Foods bounty|
|I caught part of a bike messenger cricket? polo? game on Broome St in Manhattan|
|I want a slick looking bike like these!|
|Heck yeah! Back on the Willy B! I missed my bridge!|
|The light was just beautiful|
|Top of the beautiful Willy B|
|This graffiti changes often so I like to get this shot a lot|