You know those confidence building, smile inducing runs that remind you why you enjoy the act of running so much? As runners, we lace up our shoes not knowing what the miles will bring. Regardless the preparatory measures we take like resting our legs, stretching, foam rolling and getting sleep – sometimes the result is far from perfect. But, those runs that include lots of smiles, flowing conversation with a running buddy and smiles are the ones we savor.
Luckily, for an hour and a half yesterday, I was able to experience one of those near perfect runs.
Originally, Ashley and I were going to run on Friday but we thought the sunshine and warmer temperatures in Saturday’s forecast seemed more appealing than snow, below 30 degree temperatures and wind gusts that greeted us when we each woke up Friday morning. The text message chain that takes place between running partners is hilarious ranging from “but I planned my week around this run” to “won’t the wind and cold just make me stronger.” Luckily, Ashley’s argument that sunshine would be far more enjoyable won and we met yesterday on the Upper East Side at 9:15 ready for a great run.
Before leaving the house I made a pre-run breakfast of coffee, NUUN and peanut butter banana toast using Ezekiel bread, which Kristine introduced me to a few weeks ago.
Our goal for the run was to keep around a 9:10 pace since I’ll need to keep under a 9:09 during the NYC Half if I want to break 1:59:59. Since the first six miles of the NYC Half are in Central Park we figured there was no better place to run than the park. Harlem Hill, Cat Hill and the rolling West Side hills were the perfect way to test my legs and see if Prospect Park, Mile High and Barry’s Bootcamp hill training has worked.
As you can see from our path, we did one loop of Central Park before heading towards the reservoir for a loop and half and finally coming South back towards the Met before finally ending at Butterfield Market. The first few miles flew by even as we continued talking while our legs pushed up Harlem Hills undulating twists and turns. After starting out a bit too fast, we pulled back the pace and settled into goal race pace. The weather was perfectly cool and crisp, the park was filled with runners and we were so busy talking that we both forgot to take fuel.
I love having an end goal in mind during long runs whether it’s a post run bagel, brunch date or smoothie. Knowing that we had delicious smoothies waiting for us when we finished was the extra boost I needed to find a kick in my step for the final half mile.
I woke up this morning feeling the after effects of the hills, pace and run in my hips and IT band – a perfect reminder that today should be all about foam rolling, gentle yoga and rest. Luckily, I am two episodes into Season 1 of House of Cards so there is nothing I’d rather do after church than relax with a few more episodes.
Hope you guys are having great runs, workouts or weekend fun!