Miles in the Big Apple

Another month has flown by and my short term goals haven’t made quite the same progress.  Part of the problem was a superb holiday to my favourite place in the World, New York City; but it didn’t stop me from racking up a few miles.

After a busy year of running I set myself a few off-season goals and while things were going nicely, recent progress has stumbled somewhat:

  1. I’ve surprised myself how easily I’ve switched off from pace but sticking to the low heart rate for 80% of the time has been hard work.
  2. My old reading habits have returned so “The Chimp Paradox” is still only part read but I have picked it up again since finishing work for Christmas.
  3. A simple strength workout I’d pulled together was almost becoming routine until the holiday – but I’ve not done it since my last blog four weeks ago!
  4. I’ve missed my goal date of starting a training plan for the Carterton 10k but I’ve found the race is a couple of weeks later this year so I’ve got a couple of weeks to get a plan sorted.

I’m still heading in the right direction so I don’t feel too bad for things slipping behind my self imposed schedule.  I’ve still been running and with a renewed vigour.  Heading to New York always gets my running mojo up.

Whilst most of the streets aren’t suited to running – with crowded sidewalks and traffic lights every few hundred yards – there are some truly awe-inspiring places to run.  This holiday I revisited two of my favourite spots and had an interesting opportunity to run somewhere new.

Central Park is a comparative oasis of calm in the hubbub of the rest of Manhattan.  I should imagine almost every tourist sets foot in it to some degree but I wonder how many get all the way to it’s northernmost point. Mrs W and I hopped on the subway and headed uptown to Columbus Circle.

A 10km loop inside Central Park
A 10km loop inside Central Park

A road winds round the entire park and not only has cycle lanes but has a running lane too so there’s no worry about road crossing or having to fight with pedestrians, cyclist or cars.  It’s conveniently just about 10km round and pleasantly undulating to provide a little variety and challenge.

I ran the loop on our last visit to the Big Apple and fancied doing it again. I had to control my urge to race my previous attempt, opting to focus on my heartrate-related goal. I couldn’t control my urge to selfie though!

The Manhattan skyline peaking above the trees of Central Patk
The Manhattan skyline peaking above the trees of Central Park
The Guggenheim - one of my favourite buildings in the world
The Guggenheim – one of my favourite buildings in the world
Looking across the reservoir to Midtown Manhattan
Looking across the reservoir to Midtown Manhattan

While I tackled the whole loop, Mrs W went for her own running adventure, exploring the many paths inside the park. When we met back up she proclaimed it was her most exciting run ever.

My second familiar run route didn’t need a subway ride. Just one block away was the Hudson riverside.

Like Central Park, the riverside benefits from no crossroads. There are a few vehicle entrances to some of the piers but they are quiet and easily navigated.

An out-and-back down the Hudson River
An out-and-back down the Hudson River

It was a damp morning and the mist hung in the air, hiding most of the view of New Jersey across the river. It also shrunk the city by shrouding everything above 20-odd storeys high. I know that’ll still sound tall to anyone in the UK but so much of New York is taller than that.

The remains of one of the old piers
The remains of one of the old piers
Disappearing into the mist is the World Trade Freedom Tower
Disappearing into the mist is the World Trade Freedom Tower

Whilst not as many runners as Central Park, there was always a runner or two in view heading up and down the waterside.

I opted to run downtown, knowing I could just about get down to Battery Park and back in around an hour, even at a low heartrate.

Despite the mist, it was unseasonably warm. Though I was glad for my Ashmei jacket which helped keep the mizzle at bay – it was that fine rain that soaks you through!

A big apple in the Big Apple
A big apple in the Big Apple

I love running on holiday and I’ve already mentioned how much I love running in New York but I was especially excited about this trip as I had managed to arrange a run with a difference.

For me, becoming a regular runner coincided with becoming a Twitter user.  The running community on Twitter is huge and I have been fortunate to have contact with and meet up with many interesting people and brands, not to mention winning lots of running gear.

A few weeks prior to this NYC trip I saw a tweet from an account I’d recently started following:

This tweet caught my eye!
This tweet from Bibswitch caught my eye!

 

Given that I was heading to New York later that month I couldn’t help but want to find this rooftop track and give it a crack.  And I’m pleased to say, with Edina’s help at Bibswitch I was able to get access to it.

Take the corners too fast and it's a long way down!
Take the corners too fast and it’s a long way down!

The Equinox Sports Club Upper West Side branch is home to this sky-high running track; a 250(ish) metre track sited 5 storeys up amongst the New York City skyline.  This was a great opportunity to have some fun with some speed work whilst on holiday.

Having to hug the shape of the city block means the corners are extremely tight so I opted to use the two long sides for some decent stride work and the short sides gave me just enough rest to hit the next effort hard!

Fresh air and no pedestrians to contend with!
Fresh air and no pedestrians to contend with!

Unsurprisingly, given the time of day, time of year and air temperature getting close to freezing, I had the track to myself which gave me the opportunity to take some photographs.  And some more selfies.  New York brings the selfie out in me!

Mirrors to see round the track corners!
Mirrors to see round the track corners!

 

Not many running tracks have this scenery
Not many running tracks have this scenery

So I finished another holiday in New York having squeezed in 3 great runs to add to the 50 miles we covered sightseeing.  There’s no excuse for not running on holiday – let the scenery inspire you.

Now I need to get back to those off-season goals!

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