Saturday, January 19, 2013

Central Park Workout With Sarah

Fri AM: 4 miles
PM: 10 miles w/Jay in Central Park

Sat AM: 3.5 mile w/u
Target: 3 miles @6-6:10; 1 mile @7ish; 2 miles @5:50-6; 1 mile @7ish; 1 mile @5:40-50
Actual: 3 miles @17:35; 2 miles @11:37; 1 mile @5:40ish
2 mile c/d
Total: 13.5-14 miles

For a rare treat, I'm spending an entire weekend in New York doing absolutely nothing work-related. I'm sure Betsy invited me to her baby shower hoping I would just send an elaborate and expensive gift without actually showing up, but (un)lucky for her all it took was the promise of a few good group runs, quality time with my favorite news producer and a $48 fare on Jet Blue (helloooo, Popcorners) to seal the deal: NYC, here I come!

Friday was an absolute blast. I arrived at Jay's just in time to make us late to meet Jerry's Kids (an Oklahoma-to-NYC transplant) for a run in Central Park. Fortunately we bumped into him midway through and shortly thereafter stumbled upon a solid and previously undiscovered bathroom location, making the run a win on all counts. Upon returning to Jay's, we were so cold--yet so thirsty--that we were forced to double-fist wine and coffee (with Bailey's) while waiting for Jordan to arrive and discussing Facebook etiquette nuances, the details of which are unprintable here at Jay's behest. After taking turns reveling in what is "probably the best shower in New York City," the three of us headed out to eat, drink and be merry with friends for the remainder of the evening.

Saturday morning, at the leisurely hour of 9:30, a group assembled at Columbus Circle with varying agendas in mind. The entourage I'd envisioned for Sarah's workout somehow dwindled down to myself, her and Jordan (always the queenmaker, never the...queen?), and despite some mid-week bravado our enthusiasm was greatly diminished due to, well, apathy. And also the ridiculous wind. We'd previously discussed starting the first, relatively slow interval in the park and then meandering down to the West Side Highway for a completely flat second half, but the promise of a 25-mph headwind quickly dissuaded us. Instead we would take on the undulating terrain of the park, hopefully avoiding the brunt of the wind. To give us a nice boost out of the gate, we set out down a generous downhill with the wind at our backs. Hitting six-minute pace should be no problem, we reasoned.

We split 5:40. Whoops.

As Sarah said shortly after her watch beeped, "That was the easiest 5:40 I've run in a while." Sure, but 5:40 wasn't the problem. Everything thereafter was--at least for me. Sarah seemed to have an easy time sticking close to Jordan's heels, but I struggled mightily from there on out. Maybe the previous day's mileage was a little aggressive at this stage in my training, maybe I'm a big baby, or maybe I'm simply just not very fit yet--whatever the reason, I spent the remainder of the workout straining toward the singular objective of not getting dropped, a goal that was met with varying degrees of success. Even omitting the Harlem hills, Central Park is no joke, nor was the wind that still seemed to find us deep within the protection of the Manhattan skyline. By the end of this effort I was frustrated and thoroughly exhausted, but at the same time pleased with my resolve to keep pushing despite getting my doors utterly blown off. I trust the process and am well-acquainted with the work it takes to get back in shape after an extended down period, but that doesn't make it any more pleasant in the moment. Still, it was fun to work out with Sarah and will provide a good excuse to gorge myself on finger sandwiches and chocolate-covered deliciousness at this afternoon's baby festivities.