Sunday, May 8, 2011

To the tip of Manhattan - and Beyond

Before I even departed for today's run, I sat with my laptop and mapped out an approximate 12-mi route. So, I had a vague idea of where I was going, and didn't anticipate getting hopelessly lost. However, once I exited Inwood Hill Park, I didn't recognize anything and wasn't sure where to go. Noticing a sign for 207th St, I decided to improvise and ran east, following 207th St.  I ended up going over the W Fordham Rd Bridge into the Bronx.

Right at the end of the bridge, I heard a loud screeching noise, looked up in surprise and witnessed a car accident.  While I waited at the intersection for the light to change, there was a shirtless guy covered in tattoos doing dips on the side of the road; he took a break, walked up to me and asked if I ran very far.  I mumbled a yes as I dashed across the street, running away from the tattooed guy, partially out of fear, but mostly from a desire to keep my heart rate up. I had no idea where I was going and proceeded to get temporarily lost in the Bronx. Thank god for the iphone and Google Maps - it saved me! If it weren't for Google Maps, I swear I would spend 95% of my life being lost somewhere.  Thanks to the iphone, I found my way back into Manhattan via the Washington Bridge, which dumped me onto 181st Street.

It was time to head back home. My friend from CT was driving to the city and would be arriving in about an hour - I still had to run home, shower and change! But, he was stuck in traffic, so I had an unexpected extra hour or so to run.  I briefly considered adding the GW bridge to my route, then decided against it.  Then I changed my mind. Literally at a standstill on a street corner, I stood there trying to make up my mind where to go. After at good couple of minutes, and changing my mind about another 20 times, I finally talked myself into running the bridge - after all it only added 3 miles onto my route. Just another 4.5 miles and I'd be home free. 

Earlier into the run, my toes started jamming up against front of shoes - HARD. My feet were in so much pain after just a few miles. Every single time I stopped running, my toes started throbbing and I literally cried out in pain.... The pain subsided while I ran, so the only thing to do was keep running.  Only once I got home and checked my old sneakers, I realized that I bought my brand new running sneakers 2 sizes too small.  Two sizes! No wonder my toes hurt so much. Guess it's been so long since I bought New Balance sneakers, that I completely forgot what size I am!!!  This is such a bummer.  Not even sure if I can return them at this point... there aren't ANY NB stores left in NYC, and the sneakers have already been used anyway... and running shoes are not cheap! 

All in all, I was outside for nearly 3 hours. I ran through two states, two NYC boroughs, over 3 bridges. Ran to the tip of Manhattan and back.  Went down the Greenway, through Inwood Hill Park, got somewhat lost in the Bronx, and finished with a great tempo pace on the GW bridge, and along Riverside on the way home.  This run wasn't for time, distance, or pace. I was actually disappointed with my time... Sure, I wanted to get in a bare minimum of 8 miles as a "long" run before Brooklyn. I left the apt thinking, "I will do at least 8 miles. If I am feeling up to it - and if I have the time - I might go for 12 miles." Since I actually ended up doing 14 miles, the run was a huge success (if you base on mileage alone). However, it took me 2.5 hours to cover those 14 miles in perfectly clear conditions. Why? because I stopped constantly. I was enjoying myself so much that I pulled out my phone every chance I got and snapped pictures of the views. I paused to admire the scenery whenever I felt moved to appreciate the nature around me.  I stopped countless times to consult the map on my phone, figure out where I was, and determine how to get where I was going. Accounting for all the times I stopped along the way, I'm confident that my pace was pretty decent, so I'm not worried.  I love leisurely long runs. All in all, I had a blast. 

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