Tonight's run was one of those magical [I debated using magical at the risk of sounding cheesier than usual and losing you] nights in Central Park. I didn't happen to have my Garmin or Ipod tracking devices with me and I generally hate running without being able to track my metrics, so I decided to head out for a short 30 minute jog to at least get some miles in. (Plus, it was pretty fitting to run without checking in on any devices after the Born to Run lecture which emphasized focusing purely on the enjoyment of running).
For the first mile or two I was feeling kind of bummed that I didn't have a tracker because lo and behold, I felt like I was actually trotting [to clarify: trotting in the purely running sense of the word :-D] along at a nice clip for once. This doesn't happen to me all that often...I was disappointed to not be recording it to analyze and be excited about later. And then I suddenly realized I was missing how gorgeous the park around me was. The grass was a vibrant green. The runners passing me by [ooh, and even some who I got to pass!! that doesn't happen all the time!!] all seemed to be especially happy, drinking in the perfectly cool temperature. The next thing I knew I was climbing Cat Hill and noticing not how steep it was, but rather that the dogwood trees alongside it were in full blossom and looking like something out of the Impressionist wing at the [nearing] Metropolitan Museum of Art. Wow, maybe Christopher McDougall was onto something in his speech! By the top of Cat Hill I was thinking, "I don't remember feeling this good after that hill in a while!" I immediately thought of a blog post I had read over lunch where Grace wrote about how during her sunset loop through Central Park the hills, "felt kinder than usual..." Maybe she was onto something and I should see if she was write about the Great Hill, too...
Turns out, I couldn't have been happier that Grace's post motivated me to do the full loop. Even once the sun had set, there was something wonderful about running in the perfect temperatured [that should be a word] night, under the lamp light of Central Park, along with some other giddy [trust me, they all were giddy...you'll have to take my word for it] runners.
The full loop and dash back to James's was perfect. There was a mile or so at the end where I grabbed to swigs of water (oh, thank you water fountain master for returning to us our water supply!) to stave off some unsettling feelings of a potentially impending vom-fest, but all in I felt like I had actually completed it in a respectable time - and I had enjoyed nearly every step of the way! Hooray! And when I stopped at James's front door and looked at the ipod's time display? I had been gone for 64 minutes. And when I mapped my run through Nike+? I had gone 6.57 miles (park loop + to and from J's place). Holy moly! 9:44 for that distance is within 15 seconds / mile of my best 10k race time. What a lovely run to put an end to an otherwise Topsy-turvey week!
Tell me if you've been finding the beautiful springtime weather /scenery to be helping your runs! (Unless you live in Florida where there is no springtime, in which case: open essay! ;-))