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Friday started with a fast 10 miles. In the cooler september temperatures I clocked in at a delightful 7:54 pace. I don't expect to run any of my miles in either marathon at that pace, but it felt nice to be able to open it up a bit. Saturday called for 20 miles. My training plan indicates that I am supposed to take the long runs easy. And I do, or at least I try. But they never feel easy. Still, this was a lovely run to wrap up the heart of the training.
I started, like so many runs, in Central Park. I ran down the east side past the statue of Fred Lebow (Fred's Team, obviously), past the reservoir and past the Met museum. On the far side of the museum L. joined me.
She politely waited as I tried to retie my shorts. On long runs I take a few dollars, my subway card, and a bunch of energy gels. The weight starts to add up. Additionally, I brought my phone for picture opportunities. Everything went into the shorts. This failed immediately. With each step my sagging shorts kept flashing the plumber's smile to all the other runners. And while I blog about most everything, I would prefer to keep a bit of privacy, or at least modesty. Fortunately, I was able to tie the shorts into a death grip and amazingly things held. Getting out of the shorts later required serious contortions.
|8am and 10 miles in.|
We ran out of the bottom of the park and over to the westside. We ran past the cruise ships, tennis courts and lines of waiting players. We ran past the half submerged logs of broken piers, helicopters, parks, and glassy buildings that decorate the waterline. As you reach the southern end of the island everything increases in loveliness. I love seeing the Statue of Liberty. It seems like something out of a dream. A phantom of the other New York, the New York of my childhood, the New York that was far away, giant, moving, intimidating, and so very other.
At battery park we hit the 10 mile mark. L went to find the subway. I turned around and headed back. I passed through the tourists, promising myself that someday I would take the time to explore, to really look and learn, to see the sights I've never seen. But not today. I ran on. I ran through the garden of winding paths with serviceberry, snakeroot, solomon's seal, and maidenhair ferns. I ran past the fancy yachts waiting for their day at sea, I ran up and past the towering centers of finance. I kept running. I passed the helicopters, and the tennis courts. I passed the cruise ships and the broken piers. And then I was back in the park.
On the long runs I've been picking up my pace towards the end. I want to train myself on negative splits. I don't want a repeat of last year. Last year, after mile 17 I faded. I couldn't pick up the pace even when only 6 miles out, even at 3 miles. I was done. I want to finish strong. Saturday I was feeling strong. The last mile was an 8:15. We will have to wait and see.
And like that the hard miles are behind me. The training year is growing old. It is time to taper.
While I ease into fewer miles and a bit more time on the couch, I hope you will donate. I have not done a very good job this year and I'm very far behind. But you all have proven yourselves generous beyond measure and I know we can do it one more time. So Donate today!