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Choose Your Own Adventure: Bridge Running

March 26, 2012

Songs stuck in my head during this run:

West Coast by Coconut Records
In da Club by 50 Cent (no clue where that one came from)
Cry When You Get Older by Robyn

I finally got my bum down to the Williamsburg Bridge last Saturday, and it made me one happy runner. I headed out for a see-how-far-I-wanted-to-run run, which included my favorite thing about New York City running: bridges.

When I say it was a see-how-far-I-wanted-to-run run, I mean that I had an out after about 11 miles and could keep going up to 15 (or longer, if I felt like it). My goal was to run 13, but I hadn’t run anything longer than 10 in 3 weeks, and didn’t want to push too hard with the distance, but I also wanted to see what distance I could get to. As I said back in January (I think), even though I’m only training for a half, I want to get up to regular long runs of about 15 miles to help build a strong, solid base for my fall races plans. Therefore, I’m working towards going above my goal race distance, but not going too far. So this week…11 to 15 miles…whatever my legs were up to!

I headed out with a basic plan, but left the exact route to be decided at the moment. As someone who runs way too often on the same routes in Central Park, it was nice to have a run that was a bit more unpredictable. After standing at my corner for way too long waiting for satellite (worst thing about my stupid Garmin. That and the fact that it hates me and refuses to give me accurate splits anymore), I started running south down York till I hit the end—what is that…53rd?—and turned onto 1st ave where I continued until 34th to could cut over to the East River Path. I ran down with path with pretty solid splits, staying in the 8:20 range, and enjoying the weather. I was in a long sleeve and shorts, and got pretty warm quickly, especially when I was in the sun along the River. I didn’t have any water with me, as I didn’t think it was warm enough (it was about 50 degrees when I left my apartment) to need it, but was sweating up a storm, and wanted some. I held off but got a small bottle a few miles later, right before I headed across the bridge.

I ran down the East River Path, past Houston, into the land of where I used to run almost every single day when I lived in Alphabet City—I really miss running regularly down there. I was deciding between running down to the Brooklyn Bridge and running back to the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn, or do the opposite, and decided to start at the Williamsburg Bridge. I felt so happy to start running it—it is such an ideal bridge to run. A big, wide path with plenty of room so the runners and bikers don’t start glaring at each other because they’re invading the other’s space (like on the Queensboro Bridge), lots of pedestrians, runners and bikers to people watch, great views all around, and never crowded (I’m looking at you, Brooklyn Bridge) Yup, it’s still my favorite. But, I remember it being steeper and harder and feeling like it went on forever. Not this time—it felt fairly short and not too hard. I think it’s my constant running the Queensboro…now THAT is a bridge that I swear goes on forever (especially Queens to Manhattan), and is pretty steep. This morning, the Williamsburg almost felt like a walk in the park.

Once I hit Brooklyn, my goal was to mosey my way over to Dumbo, using whatever streets I came across. I have a general sense of where I’m going and know Brooklyn well, but never know the names of the streets. So…I ran some streets in Brooklyn, around Williamsburg and the Navy Yard and wound up in Dumbo (I could upload my Garmin data, but that would mean it cooperating with me, and that’s not happening). I had thought I was going to run the Brooklyn Bridge back, but realized it was after 9, and any day that the weather is fairly nice, it is a smart idea to avoid running the Brooklyn Bridge between the hours of 9am and 9pm. Tourists galore, that don’t respect runners or bikers. Therefore, I ran the Manhattan Bridge back into Manhattan, which was much less crowded, save for the occasional club kid having a photo shoot (there were two of these. Hmm). By this point I hit 11 miles, and was honestly feeling a little tired, and decided to top it off when I reached 13. I ended up running up to Union Square and calling it a day right as my Garmin beeped 13.2. I would have probably been disappointed if I stopped at anything shorter than 13, but 15 would have been too much. I actually stayed in Union Square to buy some produce at the Farmers Market (yay for always bringing cash with me on my run), and hopped on the First Avenue bus uptown.

I came home, foam rolled (no, I didn’t. I should have), and skyped with this fellow.

We're singing Old MacDonald. That's why my mouth is wide open. He's really good (and freaking adorable) and E-I-E-I-O.

He can say my name now. Bessy. We’re working on it.

All in all, it was a great run, and nice to get out of the Central Park routine, and plan a run by ear, as I was running. Where my feet wanted to go Saturday, that’s where I went.

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