New York 20-Miler

Reporting to you from the first class seat of Fung Wah bus (a cheap bus that travels from Chinatown NYC to Chinatown Boston).

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Sadly flights were only cheap going to NYC but coming back I had to settle for good old Chinatown bus service. Perks include no advance ticket purchase required with always a bus available within an hour. Perfect for those lazy family Sundays where you go with the flow. Other perks include a luxury rest stop at a McDonalds where I get to fulfill my monthly fast food requirement. Plus I’m a slight addict to their Mixed Berry smoothie. It can be quite refreshing on those hot packed and full of yelping babies bus rides.

This weekend aside from family time, I forced in a 20 miler. I left my parents’ house at 8:30 AM; earliest I ever left for a run yet. I think it helps that NYC is 12 degrees warmer than Boston. I was planning on having a great tempo run at an average 8 minute pace; however, that did not happen for a mixed amount of reasons. My average pace ended up being 8:45, but it was still a great run. It reminded me of why I love Brooklyn and the diversity of New Yorkers.

Mile 1 was ran through the streets of my parents’ neighborhood before I reached my running path. I think it’s official name might be Shore Parkway but I’ve known it as Caesar’s Bay. The first mile wasn’t fun. Every intersection had a light and angry drivers even at 8:30 on a Saturday morning. I breathed a sigh of relief when I made it to the running trail without getting run over by a car or an old Asian man on a bicycle on the sidewalk.

Mile 2-5.5 sucked. My sigh of relief was quickly interrupted with a slap across my face by the wind. I thought I faced some windy days on my Boston runs. However the wind of my woody runs are nothing compared to running along the shore of the Atlantic ocean. Every second felt like my face was getting beaten. I contemplated going back to the sidewalks of Brooklyn, but I wanted to finish my 20 miles sometime before the sun set and the stop lights and cars would have made that difficult.

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Luckily as I ran along in my fight against the wind I had a few things to keep me company. For one these school of duckies. Another was the image of the Verrazano Bridge. I have lived near this bridge for 10 years. I ran this path probably a total of 3 times (and only more recently since I started this running addiction). However I have walked it hundreds of times; some summers it was a daily ritual with friends, family or boyfriends and dates. I grew up with this path and being on it is always a sentimental moment. I learned how to rollerblade here, ride a bike and even had my first kiss here.

Before I knew it, I was at the end of the trail. okay that’s a lie the wind was making me very aware of each minute I spent running. I checked RunKeeper and saw I only had 5.28 miles down. Blast! 15 to go, this was going to take forever! My mind recoiled.

I took a moment or two at the pier and waved to Manhattan.

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Mile 6-8 flew by! I had turned around and was no longer going against the wind. I picked up speed going at a sub 8 minute pace. I decided to stop at halfway point and instead of going all the way to the start and doing two big loops I broke them up.

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Mile 9-11 was once again against the wind. I ran this way because had I ran all the way to the start I don’t know if I could have mental strength to convince myself to do another straight 5 miles against the wind.

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Mile 12-13 were again fast miles as I ran back towards under the bridge.

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Mile 14-16 were also fast miles heading towards the beginning of my trail. It was past 10am by now and fellow Brooklynites were joining me. You had your regular athletic young adults, the older less fit joggers with their water belts and a few things I don’t see in Boston. I love how so many types of people share and coexist. You have your older Russian and Italian men in their bright windbreaker track suits running along with the slow old Asian ladies and their tai chi and random others just doing their workout without a care of what it looks like.

As I stood at the start of my trail at mile 16 part of me wanted to call it good enough and head home however the more stubborn part reminded me I only had 4 miles left. That’s 3 on the trail and 1 on the streets. The OCD part agreed and so I ran back out for 1.5 miles taking some more face slapping and to wrap it up back home. As I ran through my childhood neighborhood for my last mile I appreciated each street light for an excuse for me to stop every other minute.

How did your run go this weekend?

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