Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Running: Run for the Parks

This past Sunday, I was registered for a 4 mile run in Central Park with New York Road Runners. I didn't prepare the night before like I usually do. Why not? Well... On Saturday evening I was out on my bike in my neighborhood running errands and I had every intention of getting home early. BUT I knew my new friend/fellow Weight Watcher, Meghan, was also out in the hood -- so I tracked her down. And we ended up celebrating that she reached her 50 pound milestone at Weight Watchers! Congrats, Meghan!!

Meghan and I were a little too in love with each other last night
We love Weight Watchers, beer & Greenpoint!
I didn't get home that late but went straight to bed, without preparing for the run. And when the alarm rang at 5:15 on Sunday morning, I was just in no mood to even consider getting up, and I hit snooze.

I continued to hit snooze every 5 minutes for an hour.

By 6:15, it was now so late I told myself I didn't have enough time to get ready (I needed to leave at 7 to get there in time without rushing) so I told myself I wasn't going to run. I mean, I was tired, it was cold, it was going to rain, I wasn't prepared, and my allergies were especially bad. There was no way I was getting out of bed.

I laid in bed, still hitting snooze every 5 minutes. Around 6:40 when I was absolutely certain I was not going to be running this morning, I looked at Facebook. On Saturday night, I had seen that Ethan was carb-loading for Sunday and asked if he was running in Central Park. It wasn't until I was laying in bed on Sunday morning that I saw his reply -


So as I was laying there in bed making excuses for why I wasn't running, I started thinking about Ethan, who would surely be at the race and expecting to see me. Then I thought about Jen from work - how I told her I'd look for her in her corral so we could start together. And I thought about Josephine, who I haven't met yet, but she knew I was coming and I told her I'd meet her. Then I thought about letting all of you down. And finally, I thought about letting myself down - "If I don't run today I'm going to be so mad at myself later and tomorrow. And then I'll have to explain to everyone why I missed an event, and I don't have a good reason for missing this event!"

At that point I knew that if I was going to be in Central Park for the 8 am start time, I absolutely HAD to get out of bed now. And I had at most 30 minutes to get ready. I've never gotten ready in under an hour. And I prefer 90 minutes to 2 hours. But I knew I had to do it.

Since I had done nothing to prepare on Saturday night, I had to do everything in a frenzy on Sunday morning. I washed my face & put on makeup, brushed my teeth, wet & strapped on my heart rate monitor, threw together an outfit, attached safety pins to my bib and put it on my shirt, put my Nike + and my new orthotics in my running shoes, attached the timing chip to my shoelaces, put on my Road ID & Vitaband, went through my wallet for the few items I needed to bring, rubberbanding them to my phone, changed the SD card from my regular camera to my waterproof camera, snatched up my bike lock & key and put on my waterproof jacket. I had no time for coffee, water or breakfast - I grabbed a Gu and a banana and the Hello Kitty Cruiser and get out of my apartment.

I left at 7:10. I had managed to get ready in 30 minutes!

About a block away from my apartment I realized I didn't have my sunglasses - which would have helped keep the rain, wind and allergens out of my eyes. But I didn't dare go back for them.

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my eyes started tearing in the middle of the night and they didn't stop tearing ALL DAY. This is also why I'm not wearing eyelashes- the rain & tears would have ruined them in minutes.
I rode harder and faster than I usually do, in an attempt to get to Central Park before the starting horn.

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in Long Island City, moments before getting on the Queensboro Bridge
By the time I made it to the Queensboro Bridge I had warmed up a little. But my eyes were still tearing like crazy.

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I see this homeless man almost EVERY time I'm on the Queensboro - regardless of the day of the week or time of day. It's kind of crazy, really. And I've never seen him walking Manhattan-bound, only Queens-bound.
I made it to Manhattan and went north on 1st Ave. Much to my delight and surprise, I noticed they are extending the First Ave bike lane north of 61st Street! Thank you, DOT!

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I continued on First Ave, cycling as fast as I could. I didn't even look at what time it was because I didn't want to know. By the time I turned left on 68th Street, I saw a few other runners on foot, on their way to the park and they didn't seem to be rushing, so that was a good indication I would make it!

I arrived in Central Park in 34 minutes, which is about 6 minutes faster than I usually get there. The race hadn't begun. I was ok. I made it!! I almost couldn't believe I was really there, when I was in bed not long ago. But somehow I made it and was really glad because I know how upset I would have been with myself if I missed this run.

Hi black girls!I didn't have a ton of time - so I quickly locked up my bike, passing my friend Jill on the way. Then I made my way to the corrals, where I looked for Jen. Instead I saw some other familiar faces:

First there were some of the badass ladies of the Black Girls Run! running group. Always a pleasure to see them!


with Ethan
Then I ran into Ethan, who had a million dollar smile. I told Ethan about how if it were not for him, I might not even be here right now. I explained how I had given up on the run but then read his comment not much more than an hour ago and it was just the push I needed to get me here.

Thank you, Ethan!















Just as the race began Jen & Josephine showed up. Perfect timing! The 3 of us approached the starting line together. I tried to photograph the 3 of us but this waterproof camera doesn't have the wide angle I'm used to :(

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Jen, Josephine & Me
Jen, Josephine and I approached the start together and then we were off! Here are some photos from the event -

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I love that his shirt says "The Old Man", and that Jen is running right next to him. I hope you can beat The Old Man, Jen!
For a while Jen and I ran around the same pace -

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my other camera would have captured us both. I'm not a fan of this Panasonic but I needed it today because it's waterproof
It was the usual 4 mile course in Central Park, and we ran up the now very familiar Cat Hill -

Cat Hill
Here kitty, kitty!
Soon enough we were 1 mile in

Mile 1


It was a cold morning and was going to rain later in the day. Even though it wasn't raining yet, it had rained the night before and the nice thing about rain is it makes all the colors in nature so much more vibrant and lush. Isn't this gorgeous?

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a little blurry but so pretty
I continued running. And battling my allergies. My eyes didn't stop tearing the whole time.

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omg that old man is no joke! I finally passed him - see him in the far right above. Take that, Old Man!
And it's Mile Marker 2. Or, because of when I ran on New Year's Eve, what will forever be remembered as the "Champagne Station" area.

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half way done!

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Running on the painted lines. As usual.
Wait - what happened here?

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OMG THAT OLD MAN IS AHEAD OF ME AGAIN!

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MUST. BEAT. THE OLD MAN!
Oh hey, it's that building on Central Park West that I like!

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As I approached Mile Marker 3, that wild little kid flew past me and hit me, arms flailing. Thanks, kid!

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By this time, more people were entering the park for good times. I saw a father enter with his kids and just thought it was precious -

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I thought this was adorable, seeing these two in the park together
And then I saw this cluster of orange vests I knew we were at that turn - the 4 mile course in Central Park is that predictable by now - the turn that meant the finish line was not far away!

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boy am I glad to see you!
As I raced to the finish line, I heard my name. And I'm not gonna lie - it was awesome!! I looked to my left and saw that I had my own little cheering section, shouting "Sheryl!!" It was part of the Black Girls Run! team. I think more of them were on the right, too, but I ran past before I could look in that direction.

my own cheering section!!!
I love you ladies! This might be favorite sprint to the finish line ever!
And right ahead, there it is!
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crossing the finish line
Normally after I cross, I head straight for the water, bagels & fruit. But this time I wanted to hang out and wait for Jen and Josephine; because for once I could be there for someone else that finished!

I stood at the finish line and listened to the music and the announcer. I loved watching everyone approach and cross the finish line, even the people I didn't know. This turned out to be one of my favorite memories of the day...

Some crossed alone. Some crossed looking tired or slightly injured. Some crossed in matching outfits. Some crossed smiling. Some crossed with friends. Some crossed with victory arms. But they all crossed and it was beautiful to watch. I forgot how good it feels to watch other runners because I really only do it at the marathon. It was inspirational and motivating and if I hadn't been waiting for  Jen & Josephine, I would have missed it.

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a team of happy runners approaches
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that guy on the right is my favorite Brightroom photographer. I see him so often, I say hi to him now. He was at the Brooklyn Bun last week, in fact.
The announcer called out this guy. I forget his name but I remember hearing his age: 79. Very, very impressive. And even more impressive that 1) he finished only 11 minutes after me! 2) He was smiling and gave a thumbs up!

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You go, Mr 79 year old!
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These ladies crossed together, hand in hand
 Around this time, I saw the turquoise blue sweater approaching. Jen was about to finish! My original plan was to photograph her crossing, but I got so inspired watching everyone else run and cross that I wanted to cross again, with her. So I ran up about 100 yards and jumped back onto the course. I grabbed her hand and we ran over the finish line together. I think it was even more fun for me than when I crossed the finish line myself. Unfortunately I don't have any photos of it but my favorite Brightroom guy got it!

Then we stood and waited for Josephine. When Jen saw her coming, she did the same thing - getting back on the course and finishing with her . What a magical moment!!

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Jen & Josephine about to cross the finish line
Oh, and if you're wondering, I didn't see The Old Man finish. I think I finished before him but I might not have...

Now that we were all done, it was finally time for bagels & fruit!

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I'm always sure to thank the bagel volunteers. I had a cinnamon raisin!
After that we wandered around by the bandshell where all the tables were set up. We stopped to get photos in front of the NYRR background which has changed. It used to be white. Jen did a series of HILARIOUS poses.

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You work, girl!
Take one guess who requested a Rockette's kickline?

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I always wanted to be a Rockette!
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Josephine, Jen and Me. With a bagel in my mouth. As usual.
While hanging out and scoring free samples, who should I run into but Marcus! He had run today too. I didn't even realize he'd be there, but always a pleasure to see this handsome face!

Marcus & me


UntitledThen I had to say good bye and get on with my day. On my way out of the park, I thought the flowers were just too beautiful to pass up. That, with the black lampposts and the statue in the background - just gorgeous! I love Central Park!



I had to cut across 72nd St to get to the west side of the park. That meant I was back on the course, but going the opposite way we had run. And it also meant I was crossing through the finish line, which wasn't fully dismantled yet!

crossing the finish line - in the wrong direction & on my bike

On my way out of the park, I saw some Parks employees mounted on horses. They're beautiful, but I hope these horses are treated fairly!

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From there I went to visit my Dad at work. There are no photos. I know you're disappointed!

After visiting my Dad, I rode south through Times Square. Normally not my favorite route due to traffic/tourist congestion but I figured it was early enough on a Sunday that it should be fairly light. Not to mention, riding a bike down Broadway into Times Square really is a magnificent experience.

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very few people were out! it was early and cold and damp, after all.
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Yes, that's me under there. I'm cold!

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I literally rode down the center of Broadway. Between the cars. Not the smartest decision ever but very fun.

Hotel New Yorker
one of my favorite deco buildings.
I turned east on 28th Street, which, for some reason, was littered with palm trees of all things. Not something you see in NYC everyday.

Palm Trees on 28th St


I continued east on 28th passing one of my favorite restaurants. For name & color if nothing else (I never actually ate here)
Curry in a hurry
Curry in a Hurry on Lex at 28th
Then it began raining, so I didn't take many photos of my ride home. Only a couple on the Williamsburg Bridge -

I know :(

These women ran fast enough up the hill that I didn't catch up with them until the middle of the span -

it took from the base of the Manhattan side to the middle of the bridge to catch up to these 2 runners!


I headed straight for my favorite vegan bakery/cafe, Champs, in Williamsburg!

vegan cinnamon sugar donut!
I had a cinnamon sugar vegan donut from Dun-Well Doughnuts & coffee with soy. yay!
I warmed up with the coffee and let that icing melt in my mouth (that donut was amazeballs) but then I needed to get home. I needed a shower desperately and had so much to do that day. But when I unlocked my bike from Champs I quickly realized I had a rear flat. So I had to walk her over half a mile to B's and have them fix it. Despite that minor inconvenience, on my way home, I was able to appreciate what an awesome day I had. I was SO thankful I made the effort to get out of bed and get to the run. Everything worked out and I had a fantastic day! I saw so many people I know, visited my Dad and completed one of my 9 runs for the year. Thanks again to Ethan for giving me the virtual nudge I needed or I might not have made it there at all. :)

Oh, but before I go, I have to say a very special Happy Birthday to Amanda! It was her birthday on Sunday and I spent some time on that very rainy night with her. Happy Birthday, Panda!!!

American Gothic, Brooklyn vegan style
Robbie & Amanda in a Brooklyn vegan version of American Gothic

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Amanda & Robbie recreate a cute photo she has from a birthday of years past with her brother

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How adorable is she in her Birthday Girl tiara? <3 you Panda!

23 comments:

  1. There is a man that is at 90% of the races I do and I do a lot....47 in the past 11 months to be exact lol and he is 93! YES NINETY THREE, he is slow and steady but I tear up every single time I <3 him so much! He gets such an ovation when he finishes, every one seems to stop and just bask in how awesome he is!

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  2. Sheryl, first you're awesome! Second, you captured that morning perfectly! I never feel settled until I'm there and moving. You proved Sunday that it is possible to look great, do what you love, and still have time to hit the snooze button! I'm SO happy we were able to catch each other before the start. I'm a bit jealous now that I didn't get many pics. I absolutely loved the fact that you came back to cross the finish with me. Meant soo much! What a fabulous moment!! You rock! I'll see ya at work ;) -Jen

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    1. I don't know why I thought you abbrevieated with 2 ns but I went and fixed it to 1 n. So glad I made it to the park!!

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  3. Congratulations on your run! My sister works in NYC and she is battling terrible allergies right now too.

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  4. I stayed near Curry in a Hurry last year! lol I actually shopped at the Spice Corner at Lexington and 29th!

    Great job pushing yourself to get out there and do the run. I've had a few moments this week where I didn't want to do the work but am glad later that I did. - Cindy E.

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  5. Thanks a lot for this inspiring post Sheryl! I was giving myself plenty of good excuses to avoid going running this morning, but now i just want to get out and do it anyway :-)

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  6. Way to go Sheryl! I was just ahead of you it looks like. I think I saw that little kid in the white shirt. WISH I HAD realized you were there so I could have met you in person! What other NYRR races are you running? Your NJ Fan, Claire

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  7. I love reading your race recaps. Very inspiring. I just started running late last year. I'm doing my second race of the year this weekend. Slow and steady.

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  8. Two comments:

    Isn't the Hotel New Yorker at 8th ave and 34th st? Kitty-corner from MSG and a huge Duane Reade (I know there are Duane Reades everywhere so this doesn't really help describe where it is :)).

    Also, there were palm trees on 28th st (between 6th and 7th, right?) because that is the "flower district". It's dying out, but there are wholesale floral/flower shops all along that street and they usually put things out on the sidewalk, which makes it a pretty block to walk down.

    You're making me miss NY.

    Elise

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    1. You're right, thank you - I removed that note. I have to figure out what that building is now, it was definitely on 7th but you're right - HNY is on 8th. Im an idiot. thanks Elise!!

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    2. You're not an idiot!

      It is probably just an office building. I used to work across from Macy's at 35th and 7th so I'm sure I've walked by that building a million times. But it is a pretty shot and a nice building. It's funny how much you miss in the city by not looking up.

      Elise

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    3. Ps I like that you have a friend you call panda. I have my own panda, but she lives in California now :(

      Elise

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  9. Have been to NYC twice, I highly recommend Curry in a Hurry!!! Love reading your blog and getting experience your quirky life and NYC vicariously.

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  10. Free Bagles! That would make ant race for me! :D

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  11. Awesome recap, Sheryl! It was great seeing you, if only for a moment.

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  12. I miss your posts so much! They always gave me that extra push that I needed to work out and inspired me so much. I know you have a life but I just had to say how much I miss the more frequent ones! This made me smile and want to exercise again!

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  13. Great recap! fun race, glad the rain held off and it was awesome meeting you ;)

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  14. Brilliant and inspiring blog post! :)

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  15. Just wanted to say I really enjoyed reading this post & the pictures! We all have those days where *ugh* we just don't want to exercise/race/move lol. As someone who has never been the NYC it's really cool to look of your pics of the city.

    I'm a longtime reader & I'm sure you hear it all the time, I really enjoy tour blog so thanks for putting in the time & effort to make it what it is :)

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  16. Hi Sheryl....I totally love visiting your blog and reading about your adventures. You really do inspire me. I've been a member of WW Online for about a year now and am down 30 pounds. My goal is 50 pounds by my 50th birthday (which is another 11 months away). And I've recently gotten back into running. I have a 5K next week and I am so excited. Your running posts inspire me the most! Thank you!

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  17. I love this post! So awesome and inspiring!

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  18. Inspirational as always - And beautiful photos! I love the one of the coffee and donut and the one just above it is breathtaking.
    xx

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  19. You go girl. And I always see the same homeless man too when I'm biking over the bridge - and he's always Manhattan bound :-)

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