This is from Saturday, but I didn’t finish writing it until today. Pathetic, I know.
I know people are generally more like “Ah! It’s summer!” but when you’re a winter runner who is used to running in 20-40 degree weather, anything above 60 is tough. I alluded to this last week in my Cooper River Bridge Run report, but now I’d like to go into more details.
I wanted to do 18 miles. My longest run to date was 16 miles, and I walked 20 miles last weekend, so I figured it would be good to try to run 18. I planned out a route that involved running up and down the West Side Highway and then circling Central Park… but it just didn’t happen. It was a gorgeous day. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and half of New York took to the parks to read, play frisbee, and tan. Unfortunately, the sun and I don’t really mix well, and until I get more used to running in warm weather, it’s going to be tough.
When I took off running, I felt great. As I said, it was an absolutely beautiful day. But about when I started heading down the steps from Riverside Blvd to the river path, I started really feeling the sun beating down on me, and it got uncomfortable. I decided to run under the highway rather than right along the river, because the comfort of the shade was worth giving up the really nice view. However, eventually the under-highway bike path ended and I was forced to pound the pavement while the sun pounded down on me.
At 42nd Street, there was a large group protesting the Summer Olympics in China. To be honest, I don’t know much about the politics of it all. However, I hate that athletes who have trained their whole lives for this are kind of having their thunder stolen by protests and boycotts and the like, so I gave them a dirty look as I passed.
When I got to the Runners’ Station just past Chelsea Piers, I was really hot, so thought it would be nice to take a break and chat with whoever was working. Sadly, it was not the original Hot Worker Guy, but there were two other guys working who were pretty cute – Zach and Colin (PLe, I got names this time!). We chatted for a while, and I decided to do one of the shoe trials. After some discussion about my current Asics GT-2110s (Zach said they were popular with the ladies, so I countered that he bring them to the bars and use them as a pickup line), I decided to try the blue ones, which are a fairly neutral shoe (anyone know what these are? I forget the model name. Maybe the Moto?). I wanted the stability shoes, but I figured I’d take the guys’ recommendation.
When I started out running, they felt great – they had a lot more cushion than my sneakers did. Unfortunately, I think it was more that cushiony feeling you get from wearing new shoes, because by the end of my run I didn’t feel the cushioning anymore and they felt as solid as my old shoes. Also, they definitely didn’t give me enough support – my ankles were really rolling, which wasn’t too comfortable by the end of the run. It’s cool to see how much of a difference good shoes can make in your running! I’m definitely going to take advantage of this trial feature in the future so I can test out all the Nike ones. Yes, there may be some bad matches… but if I’m only doing 6 miles or so in them, one inappropriate pair won’t kill me.
From the Runners’ Station, I kept heading south all the way down to Battery Park. Having only run that route in the winter, I had no idea how popular the park was in the summer; for some reason I assumed it was just runners like myself and bikers who went through, and that the Hudson River Park was being revitalized but that it wasn’t popular yet. Not so! It was a beautiful day, and there were a ton of people lying out and sunning themselves in the beautiful and sparkling clean park. There were hot dog vendors, tons of bathing suits and sunglasses, and it seemed like every person I saw had ice cream. Surprisingly, the one time I could have had ice cream and not felt guilty (b/c I was burning so many calories running)… I wasn’t really in the mood for ice cream. What is the world coming to when I’m not interested in ice cream? (Though believe me, I was plenty interested in the three Texas-sized frozen margaritas I had later that night).
When I got down to Battery Park, I found it similarly filled with summery-looking people. However, I also spotted a really hot runner guy with a gorgeous body. Score! I decided to play my own version of Skirt Chasing. I call it “Shirtless Chasing.” I followed Shirtless Runner Guy through Battery Park, which was really pretty, and he headed up toward World Fi along the river. The paths were really pretty, and afforded some shade as well as gorgeous views. SRG was pretty fast, which was great because it made me step up my pace a little bit. Unfortunately, I lost him going around a corner, so I headed through Battery Park City and then eventually back out to my normal route. On the way back uptown, I saw him merge onto my path, but was far enough ahead of me that I unfortunately couldn’t catch up to chase him anymore.
Stopped by the Runners’ Station again and chatted more on my way back uptown, which was fun, even though it probably wasn’t great for my workout to keep stopping for ten minute breaks. I decided I wasn’t going to circle Central Park or even head up around Riverside Park to tack on another few miles – was just too hot and tired. So I took the shortcut to finish home at 12.1 miles – a decent run, but certainly not the long run I had been attempting.
The good news is, it’s almost as far as the Brooklyn Half Marathon in two weeks, so hopefully it got me accustomed to running in (mild) heat so that I’ll do okay then. This weekend I’m alt-traveling to South Florida, so I’m thinking if I run there as well, I’ll really be in good shape. Goal is to drop to 1:55, which is doable if I really push it (though maybe difficult in the heat). The other confounding factor is that I have Slope Day the night before. Perhaps I should drink lots when I’m in Florida too. Hey, it’s “training” for “race conditions” right?