Archive for June 14, 2011

Travel this week takes me briefly to the city that never sleeps. The Big Apple. Gotham. New York, New York. The city so nice they named it twice, and all that.

I love NY. One of my favorite cities to visit and home of one of my all-time favorite venues for an early morning run, Central Park.

Aside from my run across the Golden Gate Bridge, Central Park might be my second favorite place to run anywhere.

I usually stay in Midtown when I am in the city. I make my way up to Central Park South, head uptown along Central Park East and loop the park going counter clockwise.

I mixed things up this morning as the NYC Marathon route covers the final 3.5 miles in central park coming in the opposite direction.

Runners enter the park coming down 5th Avenue heading South, cut into the park at 86th street, travel south to Columbus Circle, make the turn back into the park on Central Park South and hit the finish line at Tavern on the Green.

I like to run sections of a marathon course in advance or at least drive the route, so I know what to expect. The chance to actually run the closing miles was too good to pass up this morning and with Marathon training set to kick off in about 3 weeks, the timing was perfect.

I set my alarm for 5:00 am to get out in the NY streets before traffic started hopped out of bed, got geared up and out the door in 15 minutes. Staying on 92nd and 1st I had about a 3/4 mile run up to 5th avenue which borders the East side of the park.

I ran up 5th Avenue to the 96th street entrance then turned south in the park to run the closing miles of the Marathon course.

Even at this hour, where in Austin I MIGHT see one or two other runners, the park is already packed with runners, peletons of cyclists, dogs being walked and other NYC “randomness”.

My asics where gobbling up the ground as I passed a lot of runners, falling into a pace just over 7:00 minutes per mile.

There are some rolling hills over this part of the course which will surely test my legs at miles 23, 24 and 25 on November 6th. I will need to really hit the hill repeats hard during training to be prepared for this closing stretch. When I left the park briefly at Columbus Circle, I tried to visualize the sights and the sounds I will have pushing me, fueling me and 40,000 other marathoners to the finish.

I passed Tavern on the Green and thought the next time I see you I will be a marathoners again. Perhaps the fastest I have ever been.

I continued on around the park all the way up to the north side, up the hill past the ice skating rink, past the lake and then hit 96th street exiting the park the way I came in.

I ran back over 5th Avenue, Madison Ave, Park Ave, Lexington and finally back over 1st Ave., glancing downtown and uptown, taking in yet another part of the marathon course I will be battling in 5 months.

I hit the hotel in 8.5 miles exactly 1:00:00 hour flat. 7:03 pace. Will that be our goal pace for NYC in November? Quite possibly actually. We are a long way from race day, more than 900 training miles await before we are at the point of dialing in on our goal pace. But 7:03 would be a monster PR.

Sounds pretty good to me.