Just another Saturday morning route worthy of its own post. 5 wolf pack warriors ventured out on a 17 miler route that I designed in an attempt to explore new areas instead of the usual Central Park and Riverside roads. This is why I like this gang; they aren’t afraid to run in the streets for hours. Perhaps they even prefer it like I do. Besides, once your mileage gets to a certain point (like 12 miles or so), there just isn’t enough park to run in unless you like to run in circles. Its great using long runs as a way to explore new worlds (roads) and civilizations (neighborhoods); to boldly go where no runner has gone before…
There is a sense of freedom when running in the streets. The rules for cars and bikes don’t apply. The main rule is to not get hit by a car. I can run through red lights, I have the “right of way” at intersections, I can zig-zag between the sidewalk and street lanes anytime, and even run in the opposing lane. In my opinion, its preferable to run in the opposing lane while on a bike path or really close to the parked cars (without banging car mirrors of course). The sidewalks are never as smooth as the street roads and I don’t like cars creeping up on me from behind. With all this freedom, one must be cautious of their surroundings. If you hear sirens, just get back on the sidewalk. Some cars are not looking out for runners who suddenly appear at intersections; slow down when approaching intersections. Trucks and buses have blind spots so you have to keep an eye on them. You also have to respect dogs (leashed or not) as they will chase you for random reasons, just walk passed them if unsure. You also have to keep an eye out for cracks in the streets and sidewalks that will ruin you if you step into them the wrong way. Most importantly, thumbs up or high-five incoming runners if they are paying attention.
The NYC marathon is the ultimate street running experience, and I can’t wait to finally experience it.
For some strange reason, this turned out to be the most hilliest route ever. Harlem hill and Cat hill in Central Park have nothing on the endless hills we were about to encounter. The plan was to meet at Madison Square Garden at 7AM. I have the worst luck when it comes to the subway. I was 30 minutes late and had to run 25 blocks just to intercept them since the trains wouldn’t move at 59th st. I’m thankful they waited for me. Off we went via the East river for 2.5 scenic miles and crossed the Williamsburg bridge into Brooklyn.
We then went north via Leonard street for another 2.5 miles. The scenic run quickly became a tour of an industrial wasteland. We headed east via Greenpoint Avenue, crossed the John Jay Byrne bridge into Queens, then north via Van Damn street.
Now here was 2 miles that probably won’t happen again. With a pollution smell in the air, we passed by scrap metal and shredding/recycling factories, a waste water treatment plant, and other related buildings. Also, this big tractor came out of nowhere almost running us over. I guess workers are not used to seeing people in this area. I just learned that perhaps the biggest oil spill in United States history occurred right here in Newton Creek in the 1950s. 17-30 million gallons of oil and petroleum products leaked into the soil from crude oil processing facilities over a period of several decades. We ran through this area at a quicker pace to escape the toxins and poison fumes. I wish I had known about this before designing the route. Sorry wolf pack warriors. We at least live to tell the tale.
After we passed Queens Blvd, we headed north via 28th and 35th streets through Astoria; a nice Queens neighborhood. At the north tip of Queens, we simply outlined the west side of Queens keeping the East river to our right. You get nice views of the city from Astoria park. I purposely left the Queensborough bridge for mile 16 to simulate the real NYC marathon.
This bridge is the considered to be the hardest part of the NYC marathon. This bridge always kicks my ass. But this time, after 16 miles, I only took one walk break which is a great improvement from last year. Although this bridge is a tough animal, there is nothing like working your way down the bridge into Manhattan. Overall, the 2/3-athon was a success. No injuries and nobody left behind, even though I couldn’t keep up toward the end and lagged by 30-60 seconds per mile.
Week 11/21 of the training schedule. Half way through! It only gets more intense from here on in.
|Aug 20 Tuesday||6.40||8:51||Just another run in Flushing park before the US Open comes|
|Aug 21 Wednesday||6.11||9:03||2 10Ks back to back took its toll, 2-day break for me.|
|Aug 24 Saturday||17.46||~ 8:45||Check the section above.|
|Aug 26 Monday||6.71||8:56||This was a comfortable pace. I should push for 8:45-8:30 soon.|
|Aug 28 Wednesday||6.40||8:43||Power Run! Would’ve been a consistent 8:30 pace if it wasn’t for traffic.|
Speed Jams (tunes to run that 8 min/mile or less pace):
I’ve been stuck on Trance, Drum&Bass, and Chillout tunes. Mainstream music hasn’t been doing it for me lately. In my opinion, Spotify is the best App for randomly seeking out artists/albums that you never would have heard.