I've been feeling so cooped up lately! I spend much of my days inside, between my internship, work, and side work and it's beginning to show in my very fair complexion… Finally, on Saturday, I decided that I couldn't spend another afternoon watching the beautiful sunshine from inside. I had been making my to-do list for the day the night before and I realized that I really didn't have anything going on so, rather than make work for myself, I was going to get out and get moving! My solution? Central Park, of course! It's the ultimate destination for a New Yorker looking to escape and, though it's a bit of a trek for me to get there, I had the afternoon and I was going to run.
I got out of work early on Saturday and picked up a Blueberry Vanilla Cashew KIND bar from the deli before I changed and headed up Fordham Road wearing, not my usual work clothes, but sneakers, shorts, and my version of the classic racerback t-shirt ( courtesy of Pinterest). To get to Central Park, I would have to take the local B train so I changed for that at 145th Street and waited, and waited, and waited, until I finally arrived at 86th Street. This was the nearest entrance to the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir where I had ran way back in October for a Manresa program. I remembered it as a standard running destination, and there was no way I could get lost so it was perfect for that day.
It was a gorgeous day and I could see the sunlight reflecting off the clear reservoir, and I could see trees, and hear birds, and I felt instantly at ease. I hadn't been on a long run in sooo long and I've missed it terribly! Last summer, my friend was training to run Cross Country at UMaine, so we would run together every morning and I've missed that. I run in the mornings sometimes, but there's only so much enjoyment you can get from running around and around campus. A fresh perspective was definitely in order, so I put in my headphones and turned on my "Born to Run" playlist (I'm a huge Springsteen fan, in case you couldn't tell!) and I just took off!
A word of caution to anyone running in Central Park for the first time: everyone's an amateur photographer. Between the reservoir and the Plaza Hotel and the pretty trees, I'm pretty sure I photobombed a TON of pictures but I'll learn how to dodge them eventually! There's a nice gravelly path around the reservoir which is about 1.6 miles per loop so you can get a decent run in without pounding your legs on pavement or trying to forge a path in the trails. I did three laps around which is about 4.7 miles - much longer than I've been running lately so I was excited and I donated to GirlUp via Charity Miles, an app for iPhone that donates money for every mile you run. It was a pretty hot afternoon but I (perhaps oddly) enjoy running in extreme conditions. I mean, I'll run when the temperature is perfect, but I love running in torrential downpours, and freezing days, and the occasional hot day (not too much of a scorcher, though!) because I feel hardcore :)
There's a moment when you're running when you hit your stride, as they say, and you finally figure out what your body is doing. You let go and you're simply moving in a continuous rhythm that is incredibly soothing. I lost myself in my music and the running and it was so beautifully calming and refreshing. I loved it so much, in fact, that I walked another lap around the reservoir to cool off! Actually, I hadn't meant to do it but I got lost in cooling down and Instagramming, that I wound up on the other side and figured I might as well finish it...
I was in desperate need of a Vitamin Water after that so I found the nearest grocery store and I downed a bottle as soon as I could get the cap off (after paying, of course!). Ahhhh- relief! I didn't want to take the local back so I decided, hey, let's walk down to 59 Street and take the express! 30 blocks after a 4.5 mile run? Why not? I actually ended up being enjoyable because the West Side is so chic and quirky at the same time but I was wiped when I finally got to Columbus Circle! Also, I felt very bad for the people standing next to me and around me on the train, but I tried not to think about it...
Needless to say, I slept like a rock that night! It was a beautiful afternoon and an excellent way to recharge and get some sun, the New Yorker way!
Inspired to be,