The early stages of marathon training doesn't really feel like marathon training. Long runs aren't very long, and it's easy to want to skip the base training and jump into higher mileage. It's no secret that I haven't been running much this year. To date, I've only run 203 miles. (I have however hiked 20 mountains for about 159 miles.) I know I need to log the slow miles to get my body readjusted to running rather than walking, but building a base is a drag.
This past weekend, I went to see my sister & her family in NYC. Initially I wasn't going to make any plans to run. Simply love on my niece & nephew. Then I realized that I would be staying just a half block from Central Park and it seemed silly to not pack my running gear.
I knew that if I waited until the kiddos were taking their afternoon nap, I'd never actually make it out for a run, so I surprised myself by getting up with an alarm at 6am to get out and get it done. ( I am a very much not a morning runner, this is just a sign of how excited I was to play with my niece & nephew)
This run was incredible. I've wandered through central park a few times, went to see Dave Matthews Band play there ages ago, and ran a new years eve race there a few years ago, but running before 7am was a completely different universe. There weren't many people out, but enough to never feel alone. I am not a NYC person by any stretch, but this hour and change was probably my favorite time ever spent in the big apple.
I followed the main loop that follows roughly follows the perimeter of the park. Someday I'll explore more of the trails, but I thought it would be harder for me to figure out my mileage. I always appreciate hills (both up & down) since they spice up the movement and was pleasantly surprised at how hilly it was within the park. At about mile 4, I wasn't feeling great. I figured if I could get to mile 5 I would consider it a success ( although my goal was 7-9 miles)
At about the same time, a hipster girl riding her bike was cheering runners on, it made me smile and distracted me as I watched her bike along encouraging the runners. I reached my cut off street at about 5.2 miles and started was finally in a running groove. I decided to keep going and figured I would aim to complete 6 miles. Aside from feeling hungry (I had only eaten a banana before my run) I still felt great, so I kept going to complete the southern part of the park. When I followed the road back to my street it was just over 7 miles, a solid success. Had I not been so hungry, I would have continued on, but a banana and endorphin can only fuel you for so long.
This run was a huge confidence booster. While my pace wasn't overly impressive, negative splits show that my endurance and fitness are coming back. My final two miles are within the range that I'm hoping to get back into by the end of the month. Maybe base building isn't so bad after all