Go Ahead And Have Some Fun On The Run

Greetings from NYC!  We are back for another session of sports classes in the park and it feels great to be here.  The air is crisp, there are leaves on the ground, and the sun is shining.  After a flight cancellation yesterday morning I made it to New York just in time to join my husband for a pre-kindergarten flag football class.  Fortunately this is just about where my skill set lies with football, at the pre-kindergarten level.  But it was a great reminder of just how fun it is to work with children and sports.

After our class I rolled my luggage for 20 blocks to our new, miniature, pad for the next few weeks.  Of course the first thing I did was throw on some running clothes and take off.  I started out running up the East River and then took a turn west until I made it to the top of Central Park.  I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go for the run but I had 9 miles in mind.  So I headed down the west side of the park.

If you have never run in Central Park before, let me tell you that it is hilly.  And if you have ever run in Chicago, it isn’t hilly.  Last time I was in New York was in the spring and I was injured.  So it has been a long time since I ran any of these hills.  I decided to take it easy but as I started running I felt great!  In fact, I was beginning to feel like my old running self.  As I approached my first major uphill portion of the park I fell into a nice pace and began to pass a guy.  He was a strong runner but I felt like my pace was definitely stronger.  I could have kept going but I felt good where I was and I was breathing at a nice even rate.

Pictures don't do bobcat hill justice.

Pictures don’t do Bobcat Hill justice.

(Come to think of it, Piratebobcat should have a statue there for sure!)

As I passed him, he did that annoying thing that all drivers do in the passing lane and sped up.  So I pushed it a bit and made it around him.  About a half mile later he came flying by me and then settled in just in front of me.  I looked at my watch and I was running a nice even 8:00min/mile on the hills and that was a great pace for me to finally be back to.  So I relaxed and let him stay in front and tried to ignore him.  But I could sense that he was occasionally checking to see where I was in his “rear view mirror.”

He wasn’t being a jerk, or trying to race.  In fact, it was a silent acknowledgement from both of us that we were running strong and keeping each other at a good steady speed.  I stayed behind and occasionally got closer and he would push a bit more to keep his lead.

Of course, for the first time in years one of my shoes (that I double knotted) came undone.  I had to stop and a part of me was worried that he would gain a larger gap and perhaps he might turn to think that he had left me in his dust!  But I darted ahead and ended up close to where I had been.

Somewhere on the Upper East Side of the city he slowed and came to a finish but as he did he turned and gave me a nod and a wave. I waved back and continued on my way back to where I had started.  It was a really nice feeling.  It was a pleasant reminder that as a whole most of us in the running community are really great people and despite the fact that we want to be in front come race day, we also have a great ability to cheer each other on and hope for the best.

I have no idea who that guy was and I am pretty sure he doesn’t read this blog.  But his friendly nod, and helpful push on that run meant a lot to me.  I finally ran at a pace near what I was doing last year at the peak of my marathon training.  I felt like myself as my legs burned on those hills.  I felt like a running badass!  And honestly, we all should feel like running badasses at many points in our training.

It was a great reminder that we don’t have to always race to enjoy what running has to offer.  Whether it is a group run, or speed work, or doing fartleks; it is important to find a way to get back to what it really is that we love about this sport.  Find a way to do a run where you just enjoy the essence of the run.

Now those are some pretty cool superheroes.

Now those are some pretty cool superheroes.

On a side note, I have randomly signed up for my first race since a 15K I did last summer.  I did it on a whim because my husband and his student Zach are running the Boston 13.1 for Team Momentum this weekend.  Since I am going to be there to cheer them and everyone else from Team Momentum on, I thought it would be fun to go ahead and run the half myself.  I am looking forward to joining a race again for myself and hopefully just running it for the love of running and not trying to kill myself.

This weekend I will desperately try to find the fun in just being on the course of a race and not racing! I hope you are finding the fun in your run too!

15 thoughts on “Go Ahead And Have Some Fun On The Run

  1. Running with a random stranger can be fun.
    Lately I have been finding a lot of joy in my running. Two weekends in a row I have run 21 mile long runs. I looked forward to them and they felt great. Not easy, but I felt great.
    Tuesday night I had another great run. The first part was with my club and one runner. The last half was just me and the road.

  2. I had a similar experience last weekend on a trail. I actually ran with some random person for about 4 miles and chatted. It was a great experience and a reminder of the openness of the running community.

  3. I love playing little games with other runners on the path. Like sometimes, it is just awe that they are hauling ass. Sometimes, I want to catch up with them. Just the other day, I was out for a shake out and someone passed me (just as I got a bug in my eye, so I had to stop) going the other way (they were walking) and asked how far I was going that day, and then as I went off we both wished each other a good day. Love that.
    I miss the hills of CP. I didn’t ever get really hurt (aside from a bout of Peroneal Tendonitis) until I came to Chicago!

  4. ok, all runners are still passing me so I have a ways to go, lol! I did have a cyclist join me on one of my rides one time and that was cool. We chatted as he helped bring me back into the city. 21 miles, jeez. I’m up to 10k but that doesn’t even compare. You all amaze me. 🙂

  5. Such a great prospective on your run! Makes me want to head out and run right now. I usually don’t have the pleasure of keeping an 8:00 minute mile pace but in this circumstance it really doesn’t matter! Just enjoying a run can sometimes get lost inbetween the PR’s, GPS, and self inflicted pressure. As I approach my half in another week I am looking forward to a pretty morning to go for a run!

  6. i love the idea of all runners being “on the same team” and encouraging each other along, whether we do so in an overt way or in a little head nod of a “you’re doing a great job” way. i’m still struggling with ridiculously painful legs and having a hard time hitting over 6 miles lately…they’re too sore to even start running, and are giving out (aka i’m falling, no bueno!). hope you have fun in NYC!

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