We last left off with a rainy day and a long run that was skipped over. Rumor has it that yesterday, which many people had off from work thanks to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, was a lovely day for running. I wouldn’t know since I spent the day at work, but I did learn that Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi (I’ve heard Virginia too) recognize Robert E. Lee’s birthday, which happened to coincide with MLK Day this year. THE IRONY. Apparently they don’t really do much to “celebrate” the birthday, but still strange.
After making time and a half yesterday (thank you, MLK), I have today off! Lucky for me, the lovely weather continued and the sun even came out for a bit. (Maybe the sun was out yesterday, I can’t say I recall.) After some coffee and a banana with peanut butter, plus a few rounds of water because I feel like I’m dehydrated all the time these days, I headed out for a long run (12 miles!). I’m trying to mix up my runs as much as living on a very populated island will let me mix up my runs, so I headed out for a partial counterclockwise loop of Central Park, hitting Harlem Hill for the first time in awhile, then exiting at 96th St to head over to the Hudson. Robyn had planned a run like this on Saturday (I was working so I missed it!), and I realized that I’ve never done this before. A very slight change in my normal running routes, but a nice way to not just run loops of Central Park over and over again
I decided to wear my heart rate monitor today, not only because I sometimes wonder what my heart rate is, but mainly because I like to use it to keep myself in check. If I see a certain pace on my watch, I might get upset about it and try to go faster. But if I put my watch on heart rate so I can only see my heart rate, I pay more attention to my effort and adjust based on that. For the most part, I keep my heart rate in the 160’s. I don’t claim to be a heart rate training expert, and I know that this is generally considered too high for long runs, but I’m pretty comfortable at the pace that this gets me.
My Garmin has been a little bit of a pain lately when it comes to finding signal, but it allowed me the opportunity to direct someone toward the nearest vitamin store, which is one step closer to pretending I know my way around the UWS. The loop-ish of Central Park went well, and Harlem Hill wasn’t as bad as I remembered. I crossed the west side at 96th St and got a little lost trying to figure out how to get under the West Side Highway to the Hudson River path. Oops? Heading south, I was happy to be on a flat path instead of the up and down of Central Park…although I can feel my legs get more fatigued without the elevation changes. A girl with long legs, short shorts, and a good pace passed me heading the other way, and I wondered 1) if she was cold and 2) if long legs actually make you run faster. (And can I get some of those? Your legs get longer when you hit 30, right?)
I did some math on the run to figure out when I needed to turn around, realized I did my math wrong, and headed back a smidgen early. (Spoiler alert: Ended up being perfect!) The way back was only about 2.5 miles, but I realized I was getting tired. My heart rate was creeping closer to 170 than I would like, although I can’t say I was running any faster. I was feeling thirsty and wondered if I need to take some water with me, even in these cooler temperatures. I pushed up the hill that leads from the river back up to the street (it’s a doozy, in my mind), and made it back home. Half a block away from home, I realized that I would run 12 miles this week in just about the exact same time as I ran a half marathon a week and a half ago. It always amazes me how different two runs can feel!
Tuesday, January 20 – 12.05 miles in 1:38:24, avg pace of 8:10
Questions: Does anyone wear a heart rate monitor as more of an observational piece rather than adjusting your run based on it? And do you carry water with you in cooler temperatures for longer runs? Inquiring minds…