Sunday, May 23, 2010

A run down Memory Lane

I'm nearing my 5 year NYC anniversary and my 2 year anniversary of graduation from my Doctorate program at Columbia. Perhaps it was the droves of graduates swathed in Columbia Blue that I saw on Monday, perhaps its the hints of summer in the air, but something has triggered memories of the last 5 yrs in NYC.

Last night's running route seemed like coincidence at the time, but now I'm pretty sure it wasn't. I headed out for a tempo run with the plan of running 5x8" intervals. My running hasn't been feeling spectacular lately, its tough to share my precious running time with swimming/biking.

I started out along Fort Washington Ave, heading south along the route that I walked twice a day in grad school to the CU medical center. Immediately I began to feel a sense of nostalgia as I passed the park and its rowdy teens at 174th, the hustle and bustle of the medical center engulfed me around 170th and spit me out on 165th where I noticed they finished the new Cardiac center (it's beautiful). As a trampled down the hill on 165th I smiled, even as I passed the smelly garbage garage. I've had so many fun runs along this route with so many different friends, at so many different points in my NY life. Sigh.

As I began my first interval, I smiled at a giant St Bernard in the dog park that was curled up with a tiny pug. My first interval was downhill for much of the first half, but I insisted to myself that I wouldn't go out at a pace I couldn't sustain, so I settled around 7:45. The second interval took me along the 125th st Viaduct bridge which has great views of the river, Grant's tomb and it overlooks fairway. Memories surfaced of winter morning runs with my friends Nancy and Jen where we all wimpered about one frozen side of our faces from the wind. Smile. It was perfect weather tonight. As I ran along past Grant's tomb I took a swig of water in Sakura Park which is very beautiful in the spring because of its cherry blossoms. I take my kid's team here for relays, lots of silly memories there. I took a turn up Broadway and made my way to 125th st. I love running in Harlem, its so diverse and exciting. I find that a lot of people don't run there because its "Harlem" and "sketchy" but I love it there and I'm happy to run there, even alone. I made my way back towards the river, this time underneath the Viaduct bridge which is truly spectacular from underneath. It is a pretty amazing piece of work with its swooping arches and massive, grey steel beams. They've really put a lot of work into the greenway path in Harlem, and it looks beautiful. I cruised (7:20's pace now!) past the wastewater treatment plant near Fairway and thought "Matt had better bring my Dump Runners Club headband to VT next month. If you're not familiar with DRC, check it out here, you get a DRC headband for sending Matt your photo near a dump or similar facility. I took my photo this past winter, brrrr it was a nasty day. I again relished in the soft, mid 60's breeze.

As I hit the stretch along the base of Riverbank State Park I remembered the time I was finishing a 16 miler and a good-looking guy on a bike rode past and gave me a big smile, it made me smile and helped me pick up my head for the rest of the run home. I headed up Riverside park at 145th St and began to worry about my stomach, it wasn't feeling too hot on my 2:00 recovery, but it felt better when I was running fast. The stretch of RSP from 145th to the GWB is so familiar to me that I could run it with my eyes closed. I cruised along, thinking about my many evening runs here during PT school that were lively and fun because of the thousands of families picnicing. We sure do love our parks in NYC. As I finished off my 4th interval, I began to really worry about my stomach... I stopped for a minute and then managed to walk a little and finally jog the rest of the way to the bathroom at 165th, whew- thank you Parks Dept. It was open, clean and well stocked- a rarity in NYC parks.

My final interval would take me home from the low-lying Riverside Park under the gorgeous GWB all the way up to home, the highest natural point in Manhattan. It was a series of 6 or 7 steep hills punctuated by short flats, but all so familiar that they felt like home. I was thrilled with the effort, 7.54 mi in 1:03 with intervals at 7:30 pace! I'm pumped for Saturday (though I have no plans to really race) at the Brooklyn Half Mary. Any thoughts of a previous running funk melted away on the streets of Harlem. Welcome back legs, welcome back.


  1. Ahhh... the 5 x 8 minute workout. One of my favorites. Not really! I found that workout to be one of the hardest Jeff assigned. Sounds like yours went well.

  2. This was a great read Aimster. Made me smile.

    I've been to Sakura Park once last year before the start of the Escape NY bike ride. AWESOME!!!!

  3. Nice run! Glad you mentioned Sakura Park, I run by there all the time (mostly on the other side of Grant's Memorial) and didn't know that was it's name.

  4. 噴泉的高度,不會超過它的源頭。一個人的事業也是如此,它的成就絕不會超過自己的信念。.............................................