Monday, February 4, 2008

Fun & Running in the Big Apple

My oldest daughter turned 11 last month, and her birthday present was a weekend in New York City. She had previously lamented the deprivation she's suffered in her decade-plus, noting that she'd never been to NYC, or to Disney World, or on a cruise. Yes, my wife and I are terrible parents and should be reported to the appropriate authorities. We left the little kids with our wonderful nanny, and "painted the town" last weekend.

The drive down was treacherous, with freezing rain and a near-miss accident in Connecticut making it a stressful ride. Once we arrived safely in NYC, though, it was a wonderfully overstimulating weekend. We stayed right next to Grand Central Station, in the middle of everything. We had a delicious Indian meal in the East Village on Friday night, toured some edgy, funky sjops, did lots of other window shopping (and some real shopping, too), toured Ellis Island, did FAO Schwarz, went to the Central Park Zoo, saw Mamma Mia, went the Met, ate bagels and lox and otherwise soaked in all that New York energy. We rode the subway more than we took cabs, and it was a great, easy & cheap way to get around.

For my part, I was able to run 5 miles at the hotel gym on Saturday, nice & easy, using my heart rate monitor to keep it a true recovery run, despite the guy who got on to the treadmill next to me and started flying through sub-7:00 miles like it was nothing. On Sunday, I followed my Runner's World forum-mate squirrel's suggestion and ran along the East River (a total of about 14 miles), down past the Staten Island Ferry past Battery Park and back. It was a nice morning, cool & sunny, and one highlight was the many older Asian men & women shuffling along in big, baggy sweatsuits. I also saw plenty of hard core runners: men & women: with & without dogs; decked out in tech gear & minimalist; fast & slow. I took it pretty easy myself, but it was great to the see some of the city that way for the first time, in a manner so different from my usual running landscape. I haven't checked the Garmin yet, but I suspect that there will be some anomolous results, since it reported everything from 4:00+-mile pace to 13:00+. I think I ran most of the distance at about 8:45 pace, which is a little over a minute faster than my next goal marathon pace (MP). With a half-marathon race scheduled next Sunday, we'll see whether I'm where I'd like to be at this point in my training (not that I know where that is, but I hope it's faster than where I've been before).

This is Week #3 of the Pfitzinger (and Douglas) plan. Tomorrow is my first lactate threshold (LT) run in this training cycle, 8 miles total, with 4 at LT pace. Given the sloppy weather forecast, we're likely talking treadmill (yuck!) in order to get it done at the "right" paces.


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