10K and a 4M with NYRR

I’d been eyeing the New York Road Runners’ Spring Classic but thought it was too far a distance, until a friend asked if I’d run walk it with her. On Wednesday. The run was Saturday. I figured that worse comes to worse I’d walk it. I’ve certainly walked the Central Park Loop many times. I kept reading about the course and the hills, I was already worried about Cat Hill but I decided it couldn’t hurt to try. With a course like the Central Park loop, it’s not as if you can get swept and there are plenty of vendors to buy water if the stations had closed. So with that, my only goal was to finish the 10K loop and enjoy it.

 

coming up Cat Hill between miles 4 and 5 of the Central Park Spring Classic 10K

And I mostly did. The Harlem Hills were not fun, and I was seriously dragging by the time Cat Hill came between miles four and five. I walked when I needed to, and especially through the water stations as I can’t drink and run. Having my water bottle with me was a good idea because it was easier to sip from a cup and then pour it into my bottle and save it for later in the run.

The volunteers were great, as were those fans on the course and the runners who’d finished early and were headed out. I was zapped by the end and couldn’t summon any oomph even when the finish line was in sight. But I finished and I wasn’t last. I knew I wouldn’t really be able to compare my times to my 5K in Riverside since Central Park is much hillier, but it felt good to run in much better weather and to realize that I could do a 10K even if it wasn’t a good 10K. It was a fun race day atmosphere and I pretty much turned it into a personal fun run. Yes, this was from the person who not long ago never intended to enter a race.

I had today’s four miler on the books even before last week’s 10K. It was actually what had me worried about Cat Hill, but I knew it would be a fun run. As the weather dawned cold and rainy – but not as cold as Penguin (best baseline ever)! – I grew hesitant. Would I really get out of bed and do this? Would I enjoy it? Would Cat Hill kill me?

Signs of Spring during the Run to Breathe

I would, I did. It didn’t.

It was odd facing Cat Hill within the first mile and having last week’s home stretch be barely into the race, but it felt like I hit the halfway point fairly quickly once I got into gear. I was pleasantly surprised by my first mile time and was happy to still be perky when I made my second left and headed on to West Drive. Only walks were through water stations, yes, I made it up Cat Hill without walking. I think not running yesterday was smart. Only pauses were to stretch calves on the hills. They were really the only thing that hurt, but we’ll see what tomorrow brings.

In contrast to last week and surprisingly since I didn’t have walk breaks, I felt like I still had something in the tank today. At 3.5 miles I ran faster and felt like I could have gone more as the #RunToBreathe was winding down and the finish line/festival was in sight. I’m hoping for some good finish line photos as I was a happy ham. Runkeeper also tells me this was a personal best for a 5K at 42:30. I’ll take it.

It took me almost 10m, 9m51 seconds to cross the start line so I wasn’t worried when the clock at the finish said said 10:05. I knew I’d finished in under an hour. I didn’t have a goal time, but that was a nice feeling. I haven’t really concentrated on speed, but I made the decision to do so after the 10K as I don’t have a desire to run any longer distance at this stage. I’m going to try to run outside during the week if I can – it’s just much more pleasant than the Dreadmill, even with my new headphones. We shall see. Still enjoying it while it lasts and continuing to raise money for Joyful Heart.

my inner Japan, 2016

You can take the girl out of Japan, but you can’t take the Japan out of the girl. Specifically, the love of cherry blossoms ingrained in me in April 2002 in Himeji and then again during April 2006 in Hiroshima.

This El Nino’ed winter meant an early and short peak for this year’s blossoms. I was hoping to get to Brooklyn Botanic Garden this weekend because I don’t think the blossoms will last until Sakura Matsuri later this month, but it’s supposed to snow. Oh Mother Nature. So much for some April steps.

These are the last few weeks, mostly in Central Park, and a mad cap dash through the Park today before they all freeze tomorrow.

But it didn’t feel like 5 miles

Since I got my iPhone in December, I’ve fallen back into shutterbug mode. I’ve discovered Instagram and generally enjoyed exploring Manhattan with my camera. Most of these had been on my way to or from somewhere, or walking home from work through the park on a gorgeous, early spring day. What I hadn’t done was dedicate a day to taking pictures like I used to do while in Spain. That changed yesterday

As any of you who know me know, I have no sense of direction. Up and down? I’m OK with those. Right, left, east, west? Not so much. I usually do OK within the park and after having accidentally re-found Cherry Hill on Friday night when it too late/dark to get a good picture, I had a general course planned for Saturday morning. I just didn’t realize how long it was.I entered the park at E. 86th and headed north along the reservoir. The east side of the reservoir had the sakura in peak whereas they are totally gone on the west side. Odd. From the south end of the reservoir I dropped down toward the Delacorte and new-to-me deck over the Turtle Pond via the great lawn and some amazing cherry, plum and magnolia trees. It’s amazing how many more turles you can see when the brush is cut back. I wanted to go up to the top of Belvedere Castle but the crowds were too big so I headed east around the Turtle Pond to the Poland/King Jagiello statue where I just s at and people watched for a bit. It was a gorgeous, warm-for-March spring day but a little too cool in the shade so I kept walking again after too long.

At the top of the hill to the south of King Jagiello I found another wonderful tree where I probably stopped and took photos for 20 minutes. Photos, yes. These were 20 or so of my best from yesterday but I took 248 in a matter of four plus hours. Yep, Shutterbug Cari is alive and well. From there, cut down through the crowds by the Boathouse and Bethesda Terrace to cherry hill. Surprisingly after the blossoms by King Jagiello and the ones I’d seen earlier in the week near the Pilgrim statue, where I returned on my way out of the park, the blossoms on cherry hill weren’t as magical. I still enjoyed the view of the Lake and the people watching.

By this point, my achilles were starting to hurt (fit flops and hills in the park don’t mix) so I decided to head out and make my way to the gym … but then I found the pilgrim blossoms even closer to peak than earlier in the week and an hour was gone to taking pics. Those trees are where the majority of the pics above are from – and they’re what spurred me to figure out how to edit photos on my computer and upgrade flickr so I could post them. WOW. These are by far the best sakura I’ve ever seen outside of Himeji or Hiroshima. The perfect climax to a great day.

I was floored when I tracked my route in MapMyFitness and realized it was more than five miles. Followed that with seven miles at the gym. A productive day in many ways.