Abra Goes

on theatre, running, writing, and looking up

First run: Lower Manhattan

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My Saturday plans included reading, writing and possibly watching a movie as I listened to the pouring rain. But when the morning brought instead a bright blue sky, (and warmer temperatures than I’ve noticed yet this year) all plans to stay in were tossed out the open window and Impulse was crowned King for the day: On went my new Mizunos.

This handy site, USA Track & Field, enables runners to map themselves a local route. Simply type in your zip code and dot your intended path. The site measures distance and makes your path look doable and fun- I immediately visualized myself running it and could not talk myself out of this more challenging run. The site’s addictive.

This is the first time I went running in Manhattan, and after 9 years of living here, I saw some of the best views and public spaces I’ve ever stumbled on.

My running buddy, RC, and I started at the Brooklyn Bridge – Manhattan side. My enthusiasm to push past the tourists at the foot of the bridge, up the incline to the first arch caused me to blow my first energy wave as soon as the bridge leveled off. I slowed and slowed and had to stop and stretch when I reached the Brooklyn side.

We doubled back over the bridge, taking the incline slow and grabbing a bottle of water at the end.

At 1.2 miles (there and back), the Brooklyn Bridge is a treat to run on. I’ve always appreciated the walk, but the sense of motion when you’re running the bridge, the two busy lanes of traffic below you, river traffic below and the East River’s continuous breeze, connects you to the city more physically than passing through as a stroller. Everything that’s not moving at at least your speed, tourists & buildings, takes a step into the background and the city’s energy lifts you. (At least in theory, my knees were dragging)

Saturday was not my best running day. We sat on a bench at the tip of Battery Park to take in the view and try to muster enough oomph to finish.

Here’s the route we took:

5 mile lower Manhattan running path

After passing the Staten Island Ferry and Castle Clinton, the path turns North up Manhattan’s West Side towards 14th Street. Initially, you find yourself staring across the Hudson River to Jersey’s waterfront and running past fountains, benches, small parks for children, and a variety of public sculptures – all open to the public, but refreshingly deserted.

The remaining 2 3/4 miles were flat and set away from traffic AND tourists. My legs felt like lead, but at this point there were plenty of other runners and cyclists – the looks of pain on some of their faces reminded me I was in good company, soaking up the good pain with every step.

A series of piers, from Hudson to Canal, to Houston, to the West Village provide plenty of markers to set even the smallest distance goals.

We finished around 3PM, and stretched more than 3Xs our usual. We didn’t time ourselves as we’re both going for endurance over speed right now.

The beauty of this path: You end blocks away from Chelsea Market. There’s not an organic fruit, grain, or veggie you could want that you won’t find available and fresh here. After crawling through the market, we settled on splitting a single whole grain wheat walnut bread twist. Okay, we also grabbed a taste of Pinot Grigio, Champagne, and a red wine at the Wine Vault’s Sunday tasting.

5 miles is longer than my mile usual 3-4 miles. Even after pushing myself ever so slightly, and suffering, I felt entitled to consume anything I wanted. And I wanted fluid of all colors.

Because we left our bags at a friend’s Union Square office, the walk back brought us to Union Square Market, where we helped ourselves to a cup of cold fizzy grape juice and drooled over, but did not indulge in, a cashew butterscotch bar.

Before getting back in to running, beautiful days were overwhelming. There are so many things to do in the city, I always felt like I couldn’t possibly find the best possible way to enjoy the day and the city. With good company, throbbing muscles, and lungs thriving on sun and fresh air, I think I found it.

I’ll definitely take this path again. I can only improve from here.


Written by abragoes

April 7, 2008 at 1:34 am

Posted in NYC, running

Tagged with ,

One Response

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  1. What fun! It’s fun and tiring to do that big long run, isn’t it?

    I’ll be running in NYC on Saturday. Drop me an email if you’d like to join us!

    Jen A. Miller

    April 8, 2008 at 12:45 pm

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