You may have noticed from my recent ranting that I've been letting the NYC heat and humidity get to me. Whilst I still heart NY, I've not been loving what the weather has been doing to my legs or my spirits. Running has become both a challenge and a chore lately, as you may be aware if you follow my training on Daily Mile. It's all felt a bit too 'blah' quite frankly.
But guess what? I think I might just be getting my running mojo back. And it's not just because the heatwave has done a runner. It has a lot to do with this big fella here:
Since first walking over the Brooklyn Bridge back in November last year, I've been itching to run it. Somehow though, there was never the right time or opportunity. The bridge is around 3 miles from my apartment, so I need a good chunk of time (in babysitting hours) available before I can consider running there. Plus, living right next to Prospect Park, it's all too easy to get stuck in the habit of running the park's loop all the time. It's the mecca for Brooklyn based runners after all, so hey, if it ain't broke....
But a few days ago, I found a window. With Poppie at school, my lovely friend Michelle offered to have Jackson over for a play date with her boys, leaving me footloose for a whole 90 minutes (woo hoo!). So off I went - Brooklyn Bridge bound.
It was pretty hot, but just about bearable, and it wasn't long before I found my way to the pedestrian path leading to the bridge. As the path turned a corner and I got my first view of the bridge I felt like crying. I'd waited so long to do this, that it felt amazing to finally be there. Running over the bridge, my feet rattling its wooden boards with each step, it felt...
Iconic. Elating. Big Time Happy.
And the views...
Well, I'm afraid these pictures don't do them justice.
Before I knew it, I'd run out of bridge and was in Manhattan.
I'd run to flippin' Manhattan!
Now, this was by no stretch the longest run I'd done, but it felt like such an achievement to have got all the way to Manhattan. I kept going, running up Broadway, past Canal Street and all the way to Prince Street in Soho. Feeling very pleased with myself I hopped onto the R train back to Brooklyn to pick up my boy. Well, that was the idea, except for the fact that I got on the uptown train by mistake, ended up at 23rd Street and had to make a mad dash back in time to pick up Jackson, before Michelle had to go out. You see, it had all been going far too smoothly...
Running somewhere new that day really upped my enjoyment factor and helped me get some perspective on what 'distance' really looks like. When you're running the same route around a park, day in, day out, 4.5 miles (the distance I ran that day), is just a basic training run. Running that same distance through city streets, however, makes you realise just how far 4.5 miles actually takes you from your starting point. Saying to yourself, 'I want to go there' and then running to where you want to go, is so much more satisfying than pounding the same old (same old) route.
At the end of the day, I don't know what the future holds for me right now. I don't know how long my family will stay in New York, it's dependent on so many factors. But while we're here, I have some of the most interesting, beautiful and downright iconic city streets and sights right on my doorstep. So I need to make the most of them now, while I can, and not waste the opportunity I have to take them in whilst doing something I love. I need to stop plodding around the (very beautiful, very convenient) park all the time and start running the city I'm so lucky to live in.
A few days later, I took my own advice and ran over the Brooklyn Bridge again, this time crossing Manhattan to the West side and running up the West side Highway pedestrian path. I didn't even know this bit was here:
Pretty, eh? And I got some lovely views of the Hudson.
I made a right when I reached the Meatpacking district and ran along 14th Street until I reached Union Square.
8 miles on the nose. Long run done. And it was kind of perfect for a long run, too. Running the streets, I often had to stop for lights, which gave my legs a little rest (nothing wrong with that when you're running long and easy). Plus, there was so much to see along the way.
So here's the plan. For short runs, tempo runs, speed work: Prospect Park - you are the perfect host. But for long runs...New York City - hold on, cos I'm coming.
What's your favourite city running route?