I’ve been to New York City many times and my favourite place in the city is easily Central Park. The calmness of the park is such a stark contrast to the busyness of the city. Every time I have been to NYC I have wanted nothing more than to be able to explore Central Park, but I never really have been able to until this past weekend!
Last Thursday I jumped into the car with Michelle, Cathy and Carmy and we headed to NYC for the weekend (HUGE recap coming soon!). Because I’ve been there quite a few times, I really didn’t care where we went. My one request was that I please get to run in Central Park for my long run.
On Sunday morning, after not enough hours of sleep, Michelle and I left the house at 6:30 am. We ran across the Queensboro Bridge, across 60th street and into Central Park. I was instantly struck by the massive amount of runners out–I’ve been in races with less people!
Michelle picked up her pace after about 5k and I latched onto a group of 3 other runners who were keeping a nice steady slowish pace. They weren’t speaking any English and possibly thought I was crazy (the woman kept looking at me sideways!), but I stuck with them for 3k and they got me up the hill!
I continued around the Park and noted over and over again how many hills there were. If anyone ever tells you NYC is flat–they’re lying! I can’t imagine ending the NYC Marathon on the hills of Central Park!
As I ran I saw a dad holding his coffee mug walking with his three young kids. I saw a group of four young fathers pushing their babies in strollers and walking their dogs at the same time. I saw teens with long legs running faster than I could ever dream of, elderly couples walking hand in hand and groups of friends chatting as they completed their long runs together.
I completed 15k and met up with Cathy and Carmy for a second loop around the Park and the last part of my run. I stole almost all of Cathy’s powergels because I was starving! I kept thinking about how much I just wanted to eat a bagel while I was running! I filled up my Nathan handheld 4 extra times as I ran as well.
As we ran and chatted I managed to finish my 25 kilometres in one piece. I was exhausted (as evidenced by the way I cried many tears after I finished…sorry guys!), but was so glad that I finished. I couldn’t have done it alone and am so grateful for the encouragement of my friends who got me out the door, instructed me to drink more water, gave me their fuel and told me how great I was doing. Love you, guys!
This was the longest distance I have ever run and was also the first time I didn’t run with music because I didn’t bring my headphones. If there is ever a place to run with no music it is definitely Central Park. There is so much beauty to look at; so many other runners to be inspired by; so many people to smile at and so many hills to concentrate on! No music required. I love you, Central Park!