28.79 miles – The most miles I’ve ever run. According to some people, this makes it an “ultra-run” since it is more than a marathon. It took me and the Meet-Up group I ran with 5:37 to complete, but this was due to it being a casual kind of run, not a fierce competition. We also stopped many times to get snacks or water from stores along the route, to take photos, to make jokes, and to make sure the group stayed together. And by chance, we ran into Vincent Chiappetta, co-founder of the NYC Marathon in Van Courtlandt Park! We chatted with him a bit. He’s in great shape, though he told us he is more of a walker than runner these days.
The run started in Bryant Park on 42nd street at 8 AM which is in Midtown Manhattan and very close to Times Square, and ended in Tarrytown, New York. We went north on 6th avenue, through Central Park(first time I joggled through there), then along the Hudson river, then into the Bronx, then crossed into Westchester county and ran north along the Old Croton Aqueduct trail.
It was an amazing group of runners, everyone from the slowest to the fastest was very enthusiastic and supportive. Some onlookers were also very supportive. Helen and Mike who I finished with(only 3 out of the 8 runners who attended completed the entire run) are accomplished ultra-runners, and it felt great running with such accomplished, inspiring people. They offered a lot of great advice, and I could feel their energy as I trailed them by a few feet.
The weather was cold and dry, but it was clear skies through the entire run. I felt the Christmas spirit in the air, which provided a little extra warmth. The Croton trail wasn’t as muddy as I thought it was going to be due to all the recently melted snow and rain. I juggled for maybe 75% to 80% of the time, since I would eat or drink sometimes while running, and some areas were too crowded or rocky. I dropped the balls I think 4 times. I feel a little sore now; I had a little trouble going up and down stairs after the run.
All in all a great experience – it feels great to have broken through another distance barrier. I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!