Monday, October 31, 2011

Run 22 Central Park and Urbanathlon

I wanted to do a nice long, un-interrupt run to prepare for my upcoming race, so I decided to hit Central Park.  This is will probably not be my last run in Central Park.  I started off with a plan to run 10 miles.  I took off.  The first mile seemed long.  After that the next few went pretty well.  It was nice to see more runners than smokers.  There were a lot of other people out for a little exercise.  Usually I'm running alone. Not many people choice to run the crowded streets of NYC.  So running next to and with people was a bit usual for me.  It sure does feel good to pass people and it feels pretty darn crappy when some one else zooms past you.  I guess I have a bit of a competitive nature.  When I was about 5 miles into the run I heard a group of guys quickly approaching.  They were moving quickly and looked like pretty serious runners.  I wasn't very excited to have them pass me.  I decided to let them pass, but then try and keep up with them.  So after they passed I picked up the pace and stayed with them.  I was impressed with my ability to keep up, but even then some super human ran up and passed all of us.  I'm afraid there's always gonna be some one faster than me.  I followed the guys for about 3/4 of a mile and then they stopped.  I wanted them to keep pushing me.  As I continued with out them, I hit a huge wall.  I slowed down and wanted to stop, but I fought the feeling and after about a half mile I was feeling good again.  Things went smoothly until I hit 8 miles.  I started to get tired and my knee started to hurt.  It sure would have been easy to stop there, but luckily determination won and I finished the 10 miles.  

The next day I was a little sore, but felt comfortable that I would be ok running the race on Saturday! 

Central Park is such an important part of NYC.  I don't spend a lot of time in Central Park, but the time I have spent there is a valuable part of my NYC experience. Central park consists of 250 acres of lawns, 24,000 trees, 150 acres of lakes and streams and 130 acres of woodlands, 9,000 benches, 26 ballfields and 21 playgrounds, 36 bridges, 52  fountains, monuments, and sculptures.  38 million people visit the park each year.  Here's a few of my favorite pictures I've taken in Central Park. 

After my long Central Park run, I was going to take it easy before the race, do a few short jogs, but nothing hard core.  A busy week caught up to me, with work, Halloween, hosting a party, race planning, etc and I didn't squeeze in any more before it was race day! 

The alarm went off at 5:15 am.  If you know me, I'm more likely to see 5 am if I'm still up from the night before, not because I'm getting up.  I had all of my running clothes and everything I needed for the race laid out the night before.  Had a quick protein shake and cookie for breakfast.  (I'm sure any running expect would suggest eating cookies for breakfast the morning of the race.)  I headed over to Citi-field in Flushing Queens.  It was dark, cold and wet.  I got there before the sunrise and hoping it would be a nice one, since I was up to see it anyway.  Too bad the storm clouds completely blocked it.  I was nervous and excited.  But I had a dilemma.  It was sprinkling and cold, so I had no idea what to wear for the actually race.  I had a long sleeve running shirt, a thermal shirt and a water proof jacket.  I needed to figure out which combination of the three I should wear.  Right before the race, it started to rain pretty heavily, should I wear the jacket? I wasn't really planning to.  I decided to go with the shirt and thermal, ditching the jacket, which ended up being a good choice, despite the rain and freezing temp I was pretty comfortable through out the race.  
Before I knew the air gun went off and I was racing.  I started at a nice even pace, a comfortable one that I knew I could run at for a long time.  Before I got to the first obstacle course I saw some one drop out, limping and in pain.  I felt sorry for him, but maliciously thought, "looks like I'm doing better than him."  We got to the first obstacle and my first Urbanathlon instantly became my first Tough Mudder too.  The rain had the ground a muddy mess and all the people who had already climbed over obstacle one, covered everything else with mud. The obstacles proved to be much easier and shorter than I had expected, I found myself wishing they were harder.  I was booking it along, skipping hydration stations, passing a good amount of people, especially on the obstacles.  Every now and then some one would pass me and it would drive me crazy.  
When I got to the stair climb I knew I was over 2/3 done.  At that point I knew I was fine and decided to step it up.  I cruised throughout the stair climb and ran harder and faster the rest of the race.  Crossing the finish line a happy camper, proud with what I had done.  

I completed the 9.5 miles and 8 obstacle courses in 1 hour and 23 minutes.  The results were posted today and here's where I ended up. I was 274 of 1,894 runners.  I was 41/348 in my age category.  I now wish I would have started at a quicker pace.  The race was broken down into three legs.  Each leg I improved my standing.  Leg one I was in 433rd place, leg two I was in 284th place, leg three I was in 176th place.  They also had a separate ranking for the stair climb, I was 156th.   Not to shabby for a first attempt.  
Shortly after the race it started snowing.  It's been snowing/raining/sleeting for the past few days and I've been sore, which are both great excuses not to run.  Hopefully tomorrow I head out again.  I'm worried about being able to run a lot this winter.  We'll see what happens.  

(Central Park run)
Time: 6pm
Distance: 10 miles
Time: 1:23:58
Music: random

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Run 21

I totally messed up my first run in those weird streets with names below the ones with numbers.  Unfamiliar  territory isn't easy.  On my jogs so far I have been running from the Hudson River straight across a street to the East River.  Every once in a while, I'd have to take a detour and go around the block, that was annoying, but nothing compare to what I face now, lol.  My run plan used to consist of two or three street numbers, like today I'm going to run 12, 13, and 14th streets.  Below 14th street, the new routes will consist of bends and turns and names and getting lost.  This is the route I had planned to run today:

Confusing Hudson Street and Greenwich Avenue this is what I ended up running:

I'm sure I'll figure out a better system soon, wish me luck!

Time: 1 pm
Distance: 5.4 miles
Time: 45:35 Minutes
Music: Zanna Don't, the musical

Friday, October 21, 2011

Run 20

It's getting cold. I've been excited about how much territory I'm covering.  My NYC map is starting to look very colorful. Today I was sad that soon it maybe too cold to run outside, I don't want to stop, but I don't want to freeze either.
Today I ran the east side of 8-11 streets.  I am getting very close to running out of numbers. The streets no longer run in a straight line either.  I used to just run, but now I'm going to need to plan out my path before I take off.  One week until I run the Urbanathlon!!  

Time: 1:30pm
Distance: 6.58 miles
Time: 1:00:08
Music: Chely Wright

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Run 19

This isn't working.  Another run today and nothing to blog.  I was a beautiful day.  The air was clean and crisp after yesterday's rain.  Nice blue sky with quick moving white fluffy clouds.  The problem today was that the main vehicle of this blog is to run. But all of the items and ideas I had to blog about need photographs to go along with them.  I want to share what I see and many times I can't do that in words.  If I'm stopping to take photographs all over the place, then I'm no longer running.  Hmmm, now we have a dilemma.   I ran by any old broken guitar on the street. Who cares right, more trash.  But with my camera I may have been able to capture the beauty I saw, and the story it told.   After turning around I should have passed it again, but it was already gone.  Like in life and NYC some times you have a very limited amount of time to take advantage of some thing.  
So if I figure out how to keep running and take picture, I'll let you know, in the mean time I'll do my best to give you interesting posts.

Time: noon
Distance: 7.88 miles
Time: 1:11:27
Music: Passion

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Run 18

Not much to say today, did a quick run, wasn't feel very good, felt like I had a cold coming on, but also got a flu shot the day before, maybe just a side effect??  No great insight or discoveries.  It's getting colder, wetter and pretty soon the streets are gonna get really unfamiliar and start having names instead of numbers.  Things could get interesting pretty quickly.  I think I'm gonna get lost! 

Time: 7pm
Distance: 5.4 miles
Time: 51:18 Minutes
Music: I forget again...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Run 17

I started to run out of time day, my to-do list was sitting there, not getting done and I didn't have much time before I had to head to work.  So I headed out quickly to do a run.  I ran 50th and 51st streets.  So far I have not been able to cross FRD Drive to actually get to the edge of the east river.  Well, that ended to today, at the end of 51st street there was a really cute, park and bridge that crossed over FDR Dr.

Towards the end of the run the wind was really starting to pick up.  Trying to be as observant as possible I noticed a little something blowing towards me.  I looked down and it was a small, red foam clown nose.  All I could think about was I hope the rest of the clown was ok and in one piece and hopefully he has a spare nose!  

Time: 1:30 pm
Distance: 5.01 Miles
Time: 47:28 Minutes
Music: Adele

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Run 16 Parking

Today I took off with the intention run 6 miles, but with my new found distance ability I didn't stop there, I ended up running over 8 miles.  I ran 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st streets.  As I run around NYC, I some times think about what it's like to live here.  How are daily lives are different from other people in other cities.  How my life has changed in the different locations.  Here's one example.  I grew up in Arizona, where there was plenty of space.   Plenty of space means plenty of parking.  Paying for parking was not something I was used to.  As the years and locations went by, I have gotten use to the idea.   But I still cringe when I see what people pay for parking in NYC.  We are talking and arm and leg here!! 

There's one place near Time Square that charges $11.83 per HALF hour (yes, 30 minutes)  and then there is a 18.375% sales tax on top of that.  If you were to go to a 2 hour movie, that would be about $56.  Not to mention the valet is gonna expect a tip on top of that.  Now you understand why I buy a $104/month subway card and travel that way.  

Trying to park on the street is just as big as a catastrophe.  Finding a spot, parallel parking, the meters cost 50 cents per 10 minutes and the biggest headache of all is trying to decipher all of the signs, to see if you can legal park there.   While researching this post I found a pretty neat web site, called Primo Spot
( From the website or your mobile device you can log into your location and find available street parking, garages, pricing, and the funnest feature (in my opinion) a view of all the parking signs that apply to that area.  Check it out.  

For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, I've been talking some pictures of parking signs and lots to share with you.  I Hope you enjoy. 

Time: 2 pm
Distance: 1:20:32
Time: 8.57 miles
Music: Miranda Lambert

Monday, October 10, 2011

Run 15

So a few days ago I decided to push myself on the pace, today I decided to try and do a long run and push myself on distance.  I usually run about 4 to 4.5 miles.  I had plenty of time and it was another really nice day, so why not run as far as I can. There's always little experiences that happen only in New York.  My run today started with one of those, shortly after I started I could hear an accordion playing.  I looked around to try and figure out where it was coming from.  I spotted a guy sitting 3 or 4 stories up, on his fire escape practicing away.  It was one of those scenes that could be the opening scene to a movie or novel,  
"With the unseasonably warm autumn sun blazing high above Pavel sits on his 3rd story NYC fire escape practicing his accordion.  We pan out to the bustling street below, where...."  These little experiences are the ones that make you take a step back and say, "I live in New York City".  With everyday life quickly passing by some times we forget that.  

I also noticed all the sudden that everyone around me was looking up into the sky.  So I peeked to see what the attraction was and a sky-writer was writing a message in the sky.  I didn't hang around to see what it said, but it was fun anyway.

So I ran down 25th and 24th streets, after that I wanted to stop, because that is as far as I normally run, but like I said I wanted to try and push my distance today, so I was gonna try and do one more street or even 2 if I could make it.  So 23rd street was completed and I put my mind to it and decided I wasn't gonna stop until after 22nd street was checked off the list too.  As the run went along, I'll have to admit it was harder to pay attention to my surroundings.  I was just determined to run.  At the end of the day I ran 8.41 miles. Pretty much twice as far as I usually run.  You may be wondering how much slower my average pace was.  To my surprise it was 9:04/mile, which is right in the same ball park I've been running.  Not to shabby I'd have to admit.  

So now I guess I need to start running three streets per run instead of two.  Time permitting, that is my new goal.  

Time: 4pm
Distance: 8.41 miles
Time: 1:16:17
Music: Spring Awakening

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Run 14 Beautiful day!

I have no big epiphany again today, but what I can tell you is that it was a beautiful day.  The weather was perfect, the sun was shining, the temperature was ideal, and I had good luck with traffic lights.  It was my first run with my new running shoes.  The night before I had cleaned and organized, so I was ready to conquer the world.  During my run I couldn't help but be up beat.  I had a good out look.  I was feeling healthy and strong.  The creative juices were flowing.  I was coming up with ideas left and right.  Everything thing just seemed to be falling into place, all the elements were in line and I think it was one of my favorite/best runs so far.  To top it all off, at the end my numbers were great too.  It was my fastest pace yet (8:40/mile) and one of my longest runs.  Like I said, Today is a beautiful day!  

Get out there and exercise, do what ever you enjoy, just do something.  

Time: 2pm
Distance: 4.6 miles
Time: 39:56
Music: Lady Antebellum, new album, Own the night 

Run 13

It looks like all of my good traffic light karma was used up yesterday, because today I was stopped at just about every light.  Today I ran 28th and 29th streets.  It was a good run.  I didn't have too many thoughts, other than being excited for registering for my first race.  I will be running Men's Health Urbanathlon on Oct 29.   It is a 9 mile race with 7 different obstacle courses through out the race, including barricades, tire field, cargo nets, marine hurdles, stair climb, parallel bars, monkey bars, NYC taxi and buses to climb over and jeeps to climb through.  I saw it advertised a while ago and have been thinking of doing it, but thought it might be too long and hard.  I guess it gives me added motivation to run more during October, other than the last of the good weather.   It just seemed to make sense.  Wish me luck!! 

Time: 9pm
Distance: 4.51 miles
Time: 41:35
Music: I forgot, lol

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Run 12

Time is always an issue.  Where does it go? How do we get more of it?  How can we use it wisely?  Even though I am enjoying running and enjoying this blog, I have to be careful not to let it take up too much time.  I have so many things I want and need to do, the list is endless.  As my running locations get further away from my house, it takes even more time to do a run.  It takes about 20 minutes to get to and from my starting/ending point, possibly longer as I get further away.  It then takes me about 45 minutes to run.  Then it takes another 30-60 minutes to blog depending on the complexity of the post.  That starts to add up to a lot of time.  So my goal today was to run faster.  First of all, I didn't have very much time to go running and secondly I want to push myself.  Most of my jogs have been about 45 minutes long at a pace of 9:30/mile.  I've been on enough runs to try and improve those numbers, so my goal tonight was to have a pace under 9 min/mile, which means my run should be less time.  

Since I was short on time, I started running the opposite direction, since it was closer to my house.  I ran 48th and 49th streets.  Earlier in the day I had went shopping for new fall weather work out clothes.  I also bought an ionic knee strap.  After I run about 3 miles my knees start to get sore, nothing major, I'm just not as young as I used to be.  So with my new clothes, knee strap and time goal I took off.  Luckily I had very few obstacles.  Both streets pretty much went straight through and I had good luck at the traffic lights.  Some times our minds are tricked.  My knee didn't bother me at all.  Whether the strap actually worked, or it was just a mental thing, who knows, but I can run faster and farther with it on.  

So as I completed the run I was pretty pleased with the results.  I ended up running 4.16 miles in 37:31 minutes, which is a pace of exactly 9 minutes/mile.  I wanted to be under 9, but I can't complain about 9.  :)

Time: 9:30 PM
Distance: 4.16 miles
Time: 37:31 Minutes
Music: Jewel (yes, this will be a reoccurring theme)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Run 11

Quick and easy today, I was easily able to find my route, no obstacles, no delays, no profound insight, just a quick run down 30st and 31st streets. I threatened to rain on me and I ran past a trapeze school.  One thing I need to figure out, is that my routes are starting to get further away from my house, getting to my starting point is going to start getting more difficult.

Time: 3pm
Distance: 4.33 miles
Time: 42:26 Minutes
Music: Avril Lavigne