When I said “I’m back in business!”, I meant it! Yesterday on Halloween I joggled 23 miles(37 km) in 4 hours from lower Westchester county to the southern tip of Manhattan in Battery park, 16 days after donating a pint of blood. This involved running the entire 13.5 mile(21.7 km) length of Manhattan island, almost entirely along the Hudson river bike/pedestrian path which runs along the West Side Highway. This is the farthest south I’ve ever run, so I ended up taking the train back home. The other 9.5 miles of my journey come from running through the suburbs of Westchester and the Bronx, and the occasional westward run out onto the docks on the west side(the run south wasn’t a straight line). The path is mostly flat, except in northern Manhattan where it is hilly in some parts.
The orange line going south was my path. I started out using the Putnam trail until I got to route 9(in the Bronx).
I’ve been wanting to run the entire length of Manhattan island for years now. I kept putting it off, but now it feels great that I was able to accomplish this – while juggling almost the entire time. Somewhere near west Harlem, the path is blocked off due to some construction, so I had to make a detour onto some side streets. I was prepared for this since I read about it on an online cycling site. Fortunately, this detour onto the mean streets was only a few blocks.
Along the way, many other runners and walkers asked if I was ready for sunday or if I was going to do this during the NYC Marathon, which is on sunday, november 3rd. I said no, and mentioned I did the Yonkers Marathon about a month ago. While I do not qualify for the NYC Marathon, even if I did I still wouldn’t run it because of how expensive it is.
I did drop the balls a bunch of times, but I think no more than 8, and always while doing tricks. These school kids taking a Halloween day school-trip along the Hudson path loved the joggling! Since it was Halloween, I often saw demons, zombies, vampires, ghouls, lawyers(the scariest of them all!) and other scary, interesting creatures both along the path and out on the city streets. It was hilarious how so many zombies and vampires on the loose of the streets of New York City would look at me all perplexed as I joggled past. I considered wearing a devil or zombie costume while running, but I freak out people enough as it is.
Although I have run and walked the Hudson river path before, I never covered a significant distance. It was so intimidating, seeing these skyscrapers in the far distance to the south in lower Manhattan and thinking to myself that I have to run past them. Ordinarily, when running in the suburbs or rural areas, I can’t see landmarks I will have to pass or make my turn-back point 12 miles in the distance(except for big hills or mountains). This was especially the case with the nearly completed Freedom Tower, which was built on the World Trade Center site. I felt thrilled when I finally ran past it. It was also inspiring how the city bounced back after the horrific tragedy on september 11th.
It felt fantastic running along a large body of water for once. The mighty Hudson is a real river, unlike the Bronx “river” I usually run along, which is more like a stream. It was a cloudy day and there was a sweet breeze coming off the Hudson that kept me cool. At one point, I think it was at mile 14, it started raining for a few minutes and I got very wet. I don’t think I hit the wall, though I was kind of tired by mile 18.
If it wasn’t for the crowds and busy streets in the Bronx, in upper Manhattan, and also in lower Manhattan(had to make another detour near the Freedom Tower to make my way to Battery park), I probably would have completed this run at least 15 minutes faster. I was reduced to walking in some crowded areas, and sometimes slow running without juggling, not to mention all the times I had to stop because of the heavy traffic. On the Hudson path from Washington Heights to about 14th street though, there were hardly any major interruptions. I was wearing my vegan T-shirt on this run.
All in all, a great experience!
I hope everyone is doing great and hope you all had a great Halloween! And to everyone running the NYC Marathon or any other races, I wish you the best of luck!
The Statue of Liberty, as seen from Battery park