8/10/11

Run, Awesome! Run!

So you'll note the blog's been a tad sparse in the past few months, and I do apologize to my loyal readers for this. However, I think you'll forgive me when I tell you exactly what I've been preoccupied with.

In junior high, I was one of the kids who would get mini-panic attacks the period before gym on the days that we would have to run the mile (not just a mile, but THE mile). To me, this was one of the most arduous tasks you could ever ask me to complete. So imagine my surprise when I agreed to partake in the NYRR Queens Half Marathon on July 30. This was back in March when I was tired of being cooped up in the gym and I thought a little running around the city could be fun. Plus, some friends had committed to this crazy scheme as well. We established a training plan and more than 175 miles of training runs and several gallons of coconut water later, we were ready to take on Queens.

The night before, we all met up at one of my new go-to pizza/pasta places, Il Forno, in Gramercy. They have an all-you-can-eat pasta special for just $6.99. That's an unheard of deal for NYC, especially since it includes  five different sauces (I love the pesto!) and all different noodle shapes. Also, if you bring in your receipt from last time you visited, they give you an additional 10% off your entire bill. Love it.

There aren't many times in life when you truly deserve all-you-can-eat pasta.
The day of the race, the 7 subway wasn't running in Manhattan, of course, so I woke up extra early (4:30 am to be exact) just to make sure we would get to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in time for the 7 am start. It's not often you see a jam-packed subway so early in the morning, but when we made it on the 7 in Queens, not only was this car filled to the brim, but everyone was in running clothes and full of pre-race excitement.

My pre-race breakfast
8000 people waiting to go to the bathroom before the race
Having never been to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park before, with the exception of a few visits to the Queens Museum of Art, I was excited to check it out. The park was the site of the World's Fair in 1939-1940 and 1964-1965 and was originally home to the offices of the United Nations until 1951 when they moved to Manhattan. The famous Unisphere was built for the 1964-65 World's Fair as a symbol of the fair's theme of unity. The New York State Pavillion and Observation Towers, also built for the 1964-65 World's Fair, still stand in the park as well, although it doesn't seem like the structures are well-maintained anymore. Currently, the park is home to the aforementioned Queens Museum of Art, the New York Hall of Science, the USTA Billie Jean National Tennis Center (where the US Open is held) and it abuts Met's Stadium.

And we're off!
The Famous Unisphere - We ran around it a total of 3 times and the spray from the fountain was most welcome.
The Observation Towers at the New York State Pavillion
The New York State Pavillion
One thing I would not advocate thinking about, if you are in fact thinking about doing a half marathon, is doing a half marathon at the end of July or any time in August. Even with such an early start time, the temperature was higher than it was on any of our other long training runs and it really took a toll on me. Thankfully they had sprinklers and guys with fire hoses about every mile, and water and Gatorade aplenty, but at the end, I felt more beat up than ever. Even so, I finished in a steady 2:16 and I'm very proud of what I accomplished.

Finish Line!
Love my coconut water
One thing I loved about running so much was that it gave me a new way to appreciate the city. I started my short runs in Central Park, and by doing that, I really got a feel for Central Park. I think that New Yorkers who don't run or bike will often walk into that great abyss of a park and very easily get lost. Working my way up to the full 6-mile loop gave me not only endurance, but a glimpse into the only real nature in the city. I can't even tell you how many birds I heard chirping and the sheer abundance of wildflowers in the spring was awe-inspiring.

In addition, we made our way around the city for our longer runs. For the 8-miler, we started at my friend's place in Astoria and ran around the entire perimeter of Roosevelt Island. There's a lighthouse at the tip - who knew! Perhaps my favorite run of all was the 11-miler. I started at 23rd Street and FDR on the east side and was able to go south all the way around the tip of Manhattan and hug the perimeter up to 72nd Street on the west side. Let me just say that I'm in love with Battery Park and all of the waterfront recreation space they have.

Now that I'm done with a time-intensive training schedule, I'd still like to continue running, but I'm looking forward to introducing more variety into my fitness routine. However, when the weather gets a tad cooler again, you'll see me running along the West Side Highway or the Central Park Reservoir. And I'm definitely looking forward to dedicating more time to blogging!

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1 comment:

  1. yay for running! you still need to make it out for the wsyrrc!

    ReplyDelete

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