This past Sunday, I had a 2:30 zone 2 with 3 minute surges every 20 minutes and 3 minute finishing surge. Being that I live in the burbs, there is still a good deal of snow on the side of roads. Couple that with cars parked on the streets and I am left with running in the middle of the street. I really didn't feel like dodging cars for 2:30 so I headed into NYC for a run in Central Park. Since I don't live in the city, running in Central Park is a treat. Even though I was running alone, I never felt lonely. There were so many other runners out, that's not something I'm used to seeing on the local streets of Bergen County. If I'm lucky, I'll see 4, maybe 5, other runners during my long run.
Sunday's run reminded me how tough a place Central Park is to run. The hills are unforgiving and will eat you up if you're ready for them. To switch things up, I ran the first loop counter-clockwise, the second loop clock-wise, and the last loop (which wasn't a full loop) counter-clockwise. To me, running clockwise always felt easier. Harlem Hill is still there but you run down Cat Hill and the West Side hills are not as daunting. The counter-clockwise loop goes up Cat Hill, Harlem Hill, and, in my opinion, the West Side hills seem harder.
I was very pleased with the way the run turned out. I hit the starting point (West 91st St.) for 3rd time at 2:24. My legs were screaming and would not keep going. I could feel my form breaking down so I called it quits right then and there rather than pushing on for another 6 minutes. I ran 17.32 miles in 2:24:33 (8:21/mile). I'm not used to running this many miles 4 months before my marathon, but Coach Jeff has big plans for me at the Vermont City Marathon. I promise there will be more on this later.