Running Down a New Year

New Year's Eve and I have a complicated past. I've had some really amazing ones and some really lackluster ones, and the thought of putting together another plan for another New Year's Eve that would be fun enough to help me keep the FOMO at bay but low-key enough to ensure I wasn't absolutely wrecked the next day. Luckily, Tracy came up with the best idea: Why don't we ring in the new year by running through beautiful Central Park?
The Race Course:
The race took place entirely through Central Park, starting at the transverse around W 75th Street near Strawberry Fields. Honestly, the entire time we spent in the park was well past sundown, and I don't know the park well enough to be more specific about where we ran. The four-mile single-loop course wound up and over hills, deep within and up to the west-most edge of the park, and gave us beautiful views the entire time.

The crowd was electrified. I never expected so many people to be out there spectating, but they were. From the start line party at the dome with the live DJ and all throughout the course, people were packed in there and it was so encouraging and cool to experience. There was seriously not one stretch that I can remember where there wasn't at least a single group of spectators. They were out there shivering and cheering us along, hands out for high-fives along the way.

The race was presented by New York Road Runners, the gigantic state racing association that I really hope to race with again. Nice and clearly marked, self-corralling start line, peppy DJs, and plenty of bagels at the finish line.

The Race Day:
It was kind of a weird day. The plan was to drive in and out of the city, going up and over the river rather than my usual route in that would stick us right in the thick of the Times Square madness. Even with the alternate route, I expected a good deal of traffic going in and out. So imagine my surprise when we absolutely flew into the city, with not even a moment of traffic—even less than I've seen on a regular old Tuesday at the same time. I guess everybody who lives within driving distance knows that the city on NYE is the most not-worth-it thing in the world.

Anyway, so we got into the city with PLENTY of time to spare. Oh and for good measure, the weather was actually season-appropriate at ~35ยบ for the first time in months. We hid out in Magnolia and got out pre-race nutrition in the form of cupcakes and tea while we waited for the party to start.


My Race:
If you follow my Sunday Sweats, you know my knee/IT band has been giving me a lot of trouble over the past few weeks, and I was downright nervous about how it would cooperate. I foam rolled pretty much all day to prepare, wore my knee strap, and hoped for the best. 

At first, Tracy and I had set our sights on a fast race, but the mass of 10,000 runners and my knee problems and the fact that our legs were basically frozen straight by the time we reached the start line all pretty much squashed that pipe dream. At midnight, the competitive runners took off, and we settled in to inch along and watch the first 7 minutes of the awesome fireworks show before crossing the start line and tuning into our race.

Our first mile chimed in at 10:24, but then the crowd started to open up and we could move a little more comfortably. I remember thinking in mile 2 how happy I was to be feeling no pain, to be breathing evenly and feeling light in my legs, and running for the very first time through this city I find so much love and inspiration and adventure in, and have for my whole life. I've known the NYC Marathon had to be on my race list before this run, but running through Central Park made it even clearer how much I want this experience to come to me within the next few years.

We clocked mile 2 in 9:14, thanks in part to a downhill assist. Almost exactly at mile 2.5, I took the step that kicked the pain in. I landed my right foot and winced, then had a mini celebration that I had made it this far without pain. I slowed down some and just kept plugging along toward the finish, keeping my focus on what adjustments I could make and how I could shift my body to make sure I didn't start the new year with a serious injury. 

In the end, of course I wished I hadn't had the pain kick in at all, but I had a great time ringing in the new year doing something I love, with someone I love, in a city I love. Here's to more finish lines, more miles, more smiles, and more fun in 2016.

Final Numbers
4.05 miles, 39:02 (9:38 pace)

Comments

  1. This looked like so much fun! I'm glad your knee didn't give you too much trouble the entire time and you were able to finish and still have a good time. Those cupcakes look sooo good & I'm loving the new years accessories you guys have going on :)

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  2. Looks like a fun race, love the cupcakes for your prerace meal ;)! Glad you were able to finish and the pain wasn't too horrible. Cheers!

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  3. What a great way to ring in the new year! So cool that they had DJs and accessories too! I'm sorry the pain kicked in, but at least you were still able to finish!

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  4. Sounds like a fun way to start the New Year! Sorry your knee still isn't cooperating.

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  5. I love that you guys ran for NYE, so appropriate for you both to ring in the new year with something you love! And being together too!!! Happy 2016!

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  6. I love that you were able to find a fun and totally Alyssa way to celebrate NYE. Also, I want Glow Shoes.

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  7. yay! sorry about the knee pain (i winced as i read it, so it was like i felt your pain kind of almost not really) but i'm glad it was a good race, and here's to many more! i have no doubt you'll one day knock the NYC marathon off your list. and cupcakes! yum.

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  8. Love this and love you and I'm so happy we got to do this together! Thanks for agreeing to spend your New Years Eve and Day doing fitness-y things. I think the Bota Box kept us somewhat in balance though haha! Running on NYE probably sounds like a dorky thing to do but I was also surprised by how many people were out cheering us on. Between that and the fireworks it ended up being a pretty good party, I think!

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  9. This is the absolute BEST way I have ever seen someone ring in the new year! Congrats to both of you. So awesome. I never even heard about this.

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  10. I feel like a New Year's run is a way better way to bring in the new year than sitting at someone's house drinking. I wish they had something like that here. Also, to run in Central Park would be pretty badass.

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  11. Love this. If I'm ever in NYC on NYE I want to run this or at least be a spectator, it seems more fun and less stressful than Times Square. I'm glad you were able to run more than half of the race with no pain!

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