Monday, November 22, 2010

RUN: Adventures in Central Park


Why I Hate MTA on the Weekends


Why I Fear Public Transportation


How I Went to Central Park to Jog 4 miles and Got Lost

Okay enough of that.  Ready for my silly little story?  As planned, I woke up Saturday morning ready to tackle 4 miles in Central Park.  I was NERVOUS and EXCITED (yes, I tend to overreact over petite things - makes life more interesting?).  I got up early and got a bagel from Brooklyn Bagel (ironically not in Brooklyn, but in Chelsea) since I knew I'd need some energy and heard that white carbs were better to eat pre-run since they break down so easily.  I woke up extra early to eat since I have a tendency to not run well post-eating.  Anyway, suffice to say, I was READY, y'all.  Then I debated about what to wear.  The forecast called for sunny skies and temps in the lower 50's.  After much debate, I settled on running shorts and long-sleeve cotton tee.  I get SUPER heated when I run so I figured that I'd be fine despite the chilly temp.  Boy, was I wrong!  But more on that later.  First, the commute...

I headed down to the 23rd street stop to hop on the C line and take it all the way up to 72nd street and Central Park West.  When I got down there, I saw that an A train was approaching.  Okay... A train is an express train and therefore doesn't normally stop at 23rd street, but then I heard on the loudspeaker that A trains were making all local stops.  Sweet!  I hopped on and grabbed a seat.  Everything was great until we got to the Columbus Circle stop.  My stop was next - yay!  But the train wasn't slowing down.  In fact, it was speeding up.  And there went 72nd st... then 81st st... then 96th st... then 103 st... then 110th, then 116th, then FINALLY, we stopped at 125th.  Um, seriously?  SERIOUSLY?  This is why I hate taking the subway on the weekends.  So I got out and waited for entirely too long (another thing I hate about weekend subways) for a C train to arrive.  Hopped on the C and got out at 72nd.  FINALLY.

Of course, at this point, I really had to pee.  But there were no restrooms to be found, and I really wanted to get this party started.  Oh, I was also freezing.  I turned on my Garmin and waited for it to find satellites... well it proceeded to find satellites for the next 5 min to no avail.  Argh!  I couldn't wait any longer so I pressed START to start the timer and started running.  About 5 minutes later, my navigation finally kicked in, but at that point, it was totally off in regard to mileage and pace since I made the mistake of starting the timer before the GPS.  Dummy.

I planned to do the 4-mile loop aka the route marked with red dashes in the map above (except for the last bit on the right side).  According to everyone, the loop is easy to follow, and it is very obvious as to where/when you need to turn.  But stupid me... stupid me was not paying attention.  I saw the 102nd street transverse, I know I did.  It wasn't terribly obvious and I don't think it was marked as 102nd St, but I remember passing it thinking, "WHOA that's a big hill - good thing I don't need to turn there!"  Uh huh... stupid.  Because I proceeded to then run up to the very top of the park where there are even bigger hills - hurray!  And because I couldn't remember that I was supposed to turn and not run up to the very top of the Park, I was completely unaware.  Also?  As you can see by the white upper loop in the pic above, it's super twisty turny up there, so I couldn't figure out which way I was going.  I just assumed I would hit 4 miles and find myself exactly where I started.  Nope...

Instead, I ran and ran and then realized that 40 minutes had passed.  I typically run around 10 min miles when I do my long/easy runs at the gym so I figured I should be somewhere near ending my loop.  But it was nowhere to be seen.  In fact, nothing looked remotely familiar.  I decided to run for a little longer in case my pace had just significantly slowed, but finally, around 43 minutes, I decided I was in need of some Gatorade and a friggin' map.  So I stopped, walked up to a vendor and bought a Gatorade and asked him where I was.  84th street.  EIGHTY-FOURTH STREET.  WTH?  I'm supposed to be back on the WEST SIDE of the Park at SEVENTY-SECOND, not on the EAST SIDE at 84th!  I was tres confused.  And FREEZING. 

At this point, I was completely frozen, exhausted, and confused.  I wanted to hail a cab and call it a day, but I knew there was no reason whatsoever to take a cab, so I crossed back to the west side and made my way to the 72nd street stop.  Luckily, a C train was approaching right when I got there - my first bit of good luck all day - yay!

Once I got home, plugged in my Garmin and looked at a map, I realized where I went wrong.  I was on the 6-mile loop, not the 4-miler, and my mileage/pace was all out of whack b/c the GPS didn't kick for several minutes.  Whatevs.  I inhaled some food and took a very, very hot shower.

As for the run itself, well it was fantastic.  Seriously, the Park was GORGEOUS, fall foliage everywhere, and people-watching was so fun!  Runners, bikers, families, couples, friends - everyone was enjoying the Park - it was lovely.  And the 4 miles flew by, even with the hills and completely lack of knowledge as to where the hell I was.  I was in love.  Oh, and yes, I was completely and totally freezing the entire run.  It was windy, and I was in a cotton tee which meant that whatever little I did sweat did nothing but make my shirt very cold and wet, which made for a tres uncomfortable subway ride home. 

So I did what any normal girl would do.  I got home, ate, showered, got dressed and then headed straight to Lululemon where I invested in some running tights and a jacket.  :D 

In other news, according to my Garmin (which I'm going to name btw... any suggestions?), these are my stats:

Distance: 3.47 miles (LIE)
Avg Pace: 12:53/mile or 4.7 mph (LIE)
Max Speed: 9.7 mph (seriously?? that's awesome!)
Calories Burned: 450 cals (LIE... was definitely more which is AWESOME!)
Ascent: 804 feet (um, is that a lot?  b/c it sure does sound like a lot)
Descent: 826 feet

Needless to say, j'adore my Garmin.  I just wish it wouldn't take so darn long to find satellites!!!


Helen said...

Hey Caroline, my name is Helen and I live in north Queensland in Australia and am an avid reader of your blog. I really enjoy reading your 'adventures'! I am a runner myself, just this year i completed my first 10k race - without stopping or walking which was my goal. I am absolutely in love with New York, and cannot wait to go there and see it. As bad of luck you had that day - it sounds like something i would do! i take comfort in being 'human' hearing your account of it! you have inspired me to get back into running and am now thinking about doing a half marathon as well!!
Thank you. All the best for future runs!!

Helen said...

and oh my gosh - i meant to write Carolyn then not Caroline. Extremely sorry :-)

Carolyn said...

Thank you, Helen!! I'm so glad you commented. You should def do a Half - we can commiserate together!!!!!

MoneyMaus said...

Ahhh!! You get BIG PROPS from me, girl! I am not a runner at all, but I totally thinking running around/through Central Park could maybe turn me into one... if I lived in NYC, of course! ;)

TheAnalyst said...

Even with the at-times confusion, your runs seem so glamorous!