Tuesday, March 25, 2014

That Time I Ran Alone...For Over 3 Hours.

I woke up on Sunday morning with the second-to-last of my loooong long runs for Boston Marathon training facing me. I had figured out a group that I could try to join in with for "8-13 miles" (such a big difference between those things!) and woke up with plenty of time to get to the West Side and join them.

But then I realized something.

Ok, fine. Not entirely accurate in the macro sense. But that morning I was not in the mood for pleasantries and get-to-know-yous. I wasn't in the mood to smile when I felt like having neutral-face. I wasn't in the mood to be around anyone but myself.

And so, I set off to conquer 19 miles on my own. As someone who has never gone more than 16 solo (and that was rough!) it was a bit of a daunting task.

I programmed in about 3 hours of NPR podcasts and reports onto my iPhone and, now appropriately nerded out, began my little journey around the isle of Manhattan.

To break up the time and have a "task at hand" (other than, you know, the running), I decided to observe my surroundings as much as I could. I captured some of my favorite sights from my jaunt which began at my apartment on the Upper East Side.

I ran down 1st Avenue and then cut over to the water in the 30s.

East River park, looking north

I ran south along the east side of the island and then ran across the Manhattan Bridge into Brooklyn.

I kind of love how grimy and non-touristy this bridge it.

East River

The Manhattan Bridge path. Very few people see this view of this well-traveled bridge.

And battled the brisk (still winter-feeling) air back to Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge.
Approaching the bridge. 
Looking back

 Back on the Island, I headed over to the South Street Seaport.

And continued to make my way down south, around the tip of Manhattan, and up the west side.

Colgate clock in Jersey City

I entered Central Park at Columbus Circle.

And finished my last 1.5 miles comfortably, alone, in Central Park.

19 miles ending on Cat Hill? Don't mind if I do.... 

The run was tough, but not as tough as I expected it to be. Between NPR, the scenery, and all the crazy thoughts that ran through my head, I truly never bored. There's a lot that can go on in this little brain of mine when left to its own devices -- it's actually quite terrifying. To be honest, at some point I may have figured out how to work through tough issues such as nuclear fusion or the Middle East Crisis or during my 3+ hours of solo MeriG thinking time. But who can remember these details now.

I did want to stop around mile 13 when I was just "not feeling it." So I actually did for a few minutes. I stopped. I breathed. I took a sip. And then I said to myself, do you really want to spend $30 on a cab home at this point? And the answer was a decided no. Might as well just run there.

During this lonesome run I only had to worry about myself (my favorite motto). When I was thirsty? I drank. Cramping or sore? Didn't hesitate to stop and stretch. When I had to use a restroom? I did so. Running with a group has its perks for sure. But running at your own pace without having to worry or accommodate anyone else? Well that certainly has its own Pro list as well.

Forrest Gump: When I got tired, I slept. When I got hungry, I ate. When I had to go, you know, I went. Elderly Southern Woman on Park Bench: And so, you just ran? Forrest Gump: Yeah. 

Boston Marathon training has been a series of firsts and superlatives for me. Longest treadmill run. Coldest run. First run with a new group. And this longest solo run means as much to me as those if not more. This was all me, and it felt great to know that I could do it.

To quote the poet Jason DeRulo:

I then got the greatest surprise when I arrived home and found out that I had officially reached my $10,000 fundraising goal for Dana-Farber. It was an amazing moment, full of complete shock, awe and gratitude. More on this later.

Screen shot!

Only Archie remained unimpressed.

* * * * * * * * * *

I am running the Boston Marathon in 26 days with the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge! I have raised an astounding $10,050 towards my goal of $10,000+! Find our more or donate here: http://www.runDFMC.org/2014/merig


  1. that archie, always thinking he's better than us.