Rule #1: When Ben tells you he wants to go on a running adventure, remember to eat a big breakfast.
Let me explain a little. Running buddy Ben asked if I was up for a running adventure on Friday, and I had the day off, so why not? Leaving the planning up to him, I had no idea what I was in for until he showed up at my door on Friday morning and explained the plan to me:
5.24 miles in each of the five boroughs of NYC, preferably in the best parks in each borough.
For those of you who are a little more math challenged, that means a marathon. In the five boroughs. It’s almost like a relay meets the NYC marathon. Luckily I’m a rockstar relayer, although at Reach the Beach I had a bit more downtime between legs, a bit more (junk) food, and it wasn’t nearly ninety degrees. Moving on.
We set out from our Upper East Side starting location (known as my apartment) and hopped on the F train to Queens. After a little trip, we hopped off and the running began in the direction of Forest Park. Ben claims to know where he is going (which usually turns out to be false, I’ve learned), so we wandered through the trails until our mileage told us to head back towards the subway. Forest Park is apparently quite large, and we were off the beaten path a bit by running through trails and trails that weren’t necessarily marked and therefore ending randomly. Quite the little gem in the middle of Queens, and there are definitely plenty more trails to explore! (I told Ben that he stole Lam‘s thunder, as I’m sure at some point we would have planned a run there…) However, it was time to move on to the next borough, so we started walking to the subway once Mr. Garmin hit 5.24 miles. With a gallon of water in hand, the hydration began.
5.46 miles in 49:36, avg pace of 9:05
Next up on the plan was Brooklyn, so we took the J and the A until we got close enough to Prospect Park, at which point we started running. I’ve never been to Prospect Park before, although I’ve heard plenty about it. We ran what I imagine is a pretty common loop for runners who live close to the park, and it was quite pretty. At this point it really started to get quite toasty out, and I began asking where the infamous hill that everyone talks about is. With each semi-hill, Ben proclaimed that this was THE hill, only to realize part way up the mini-hills that he was wrong. That’s too bad since I thought I was such a champ! At this point, my legs were definitely feeling the tempo workout from Thursday, although we certainly weren’t setting any speed records on our adventure. I was ever grateful when my watch hit 5.24 miles and we could declare leg two complete! Less exciting was wringing gallons of sweat out of Ben’s shirt…this kid needs some dri-fit…
5.35 miles in 42:53, avg pace of 8:01
to staten island
Before hopping on the subway to head back to Manhattan, we grabbed some fuel in the form of Gatorade and a banana (perfectly ripened, if I must say so myself…). Stepped on the 2 train to Wall St before getting on the ferry to Staten Island. My first trip to Staten Island, woohoo! Let’s just say that my first few miles ran in this new borough were not all that exciting since they were up a MASSIVE hill. Holy goodness, that was not fun. However, at the top of the hill was Silver Lake Park, and that was much more pleasant. The sun was shining and it was still a bit hot out, but my legs felt better on leg three than they did on leg two. The best part was heading back down the massive hill….nothing like downhill to make your legs perk up a bit! Back to the ferry, back to Manhattan.
5.32 miles in 45:33, avg pace of 8:34
Sometime in Brooklyn, we realized that we probably wouldn’t have enough time to hit all the boroughs, as the travel time was taking longer than expected and I had evening plans. At some point we decided to skip the Bronx (okay, I skipped the Bronx, Ben headed up there after we parted ways), and instead of running in Central Park, we scooted right off the ferry and started running up the west side highway. While my legs felt pretty fabulous for the first three miles of this last leg, I was definitely ready to be done for the final two. Two thumbs up for random water fountains along the way…it was HOT out! Ran up the west side highway until 42nd St, where we turned east and headed toward the subway, with the 5.24 mile mark beeping in about a block from the subway.
5.48 miles in 45:31, avg pace of 8:18
Victory!! Slash oh my goodness, that was long. 21 miles on the dot were run. While I probably could have made it through one more borough, I’m not going to lie…I was glad to be done! A shower never felt quite so good…okay, except maybe post-marathon. But this was a close second.
21.62 miles in 3:03:32, avg pace of 8:29
Next time someone asks me how I spend my free time, I’ll tell them running…and they’ll have to believe because it really was an all day affair! It was definitely fun to run in new places and to see parts of the city that I’ve never seen before, but next time I think I’ll eat more than a banana for breakfast.
In other news, I’ve been working allllll weekend! Three nights down, one more to go. I think a combination of the 21 miles (it’s probably a good thing Ben is leaving for the summer, I’m not sure my legs would survive…), the heat, work, and the fact that I’ve been sleeping terribly during the day have left me with absolutely NO energy to run. So I haven’t. And I’m okay with that. I have some time before my next round of marathon training begins, so my legs deserve a little break after all they’ve been through in the past few months.
Now, off to bed before my last twelve hours before heading to Chicago for a long weekend.