For those that have had the honor of running with me you know when I do my long runs they are anything but ordinary. Anyone can go run loops of Central Park or run along the West Side Highway. Ha. I go all out in plotting routes to include varying routes and degrees of difficulty. Today as I set my sights on the final 20 miler of 2010 (is it true? No more marathons this year?) it was time to conquer the bridges. As my blog name suggests, this 20 miler set out to conquer the bridges. As an added bonus, the nor’easter left behind some rather gusty, blustery winds. Fortunately for our crew we didn’t have enough time to do my original route to include a loop of Prospect Park too. Oh boy!
Today AC and MP joined me on this journey. It set off innocently enough as we headed east to bridge #1: the Queensboro aka TK’s bridge. We hit every single light on the way to the bridge which made me comment on how I was glad we were reversing the route. As we ran along Central Park South I thought about how I’d feel there in just 22 days! I also noticed the slight incline. Seriously NYC loves to throw in the inclines everywhere.
The whole run my legs seemed effortless to move. After the Queensboro we maneuvered our way through Queens (harder than you think!) and headed onward over the Pulaski and into Brooklyn. The smells of brunch in Greenpoint and Williamsburg made it tough to keep moving on towards our third bridge: Williamsburg. Both AC and MP had never run over it – two cherries were popped, eh;) The wind created some fun spots as it blew you silly and made us look more like cartoon characters trying to run and going nowhere (think Scooby Doo).
Dodging the tourists on the Bowery we headed towards the Manhattan Bridge to go to Brooklyn and returned the favor by taking the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan. The Brooklyn Bridge was a true frogger event between tourons, the Breast Cancer walk and bikes. I nearly took out two or three people with a bike coming close to taking me out. The usual experience midday on a weekend. Note to those looking to run over a bridge to Brooklyn: take the Manhattan if you can, it’s pretty empty.
The last section of the run was the windiest. There was absolutely no protection from the water with the wind directly hitting us for about 10 miles. It was brutal but one of those things you know that will come in handy on race day. I’ve always held onto runs that were tough and make me dig a little deeper. For Boston, it was that brutal February morning I ran 20 on icy roads. As we hit the WSH, I wanted to throw down some MP miles. The last 4 turned into 8:20-8:30 pace (a little slower) but given the wind issues I’ll take it. Legs felt amazing and honestly as I sit here tonight they feel really good.
Here’s the route:
With 3 weeks to go, I have to say I’m encouraged. I think things are coming together at the right time and hopefully this translates to peaking on race day. I feel like something just started to click after that little dry spot. Hard to believe but this is my last 20 miler of 2010 (out of oh so many!). The plan now is to stay healthy, keep the legs fresh, eat sensibly and prepare mentally for November 7th. After 8 encounters with 26.2, the mental aspect is so unbelievably large (this is a post for another day).
Tomorrow I’ll head out for an easy recovery run in the park by my parents’ house where fall foliage is starting to show.
Do you enjoy varying your routes? Even if it’s a short run do you try to mix it up?