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  • Writer's pictureBetsy

Running in Central Park

"I just had one of the best runs of the year!" - First words out of my mouth this morning following a run around and through Central Park.

I felt like I was in a movie.

A beautiful sunrise over Manhattan, Christmas and holiday lights strung along stores, and the hustle and bustle of an ambitious city gave me such an inspiration as we wrap up another year and look to start another one anew.

At one point a very nice gentleman on a bike came up on my shoulder and cheered me on my yelling "great job! Great pace! Nice light stride!" Normally I don't appreciate comments from random strangers while running (or doing anything for that matter), but maybe I was just in a New York State of mind and I felt on top of the world with this encouragement.

Above: Christmas brought unseasonably frigid conditions in the Northeast this year. Temps were in the teens the first day and there was a chilling wind. Wore double wool socks, two shirts, a coat, gloves under mittens, ear warmers plus a hat, and was still frozen. Definitely enjoyed the second day when it was 27 degrees and felt downright balmy in comparison. The first morning, I had a really hard time getting a good pace when the temps were so low. Felt like my body took 6 miles to even slightly "warm up" and by then I was headed back to my hotel. I did manage to do some pick up going up and down the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, however. Felt good to lift the knees and engage the hamstrings and gluteus muscles.

The 27 degree morning I had no trouble negative splitting the run (picking up the pace significantly in the second half - great training for races!

A little about Central Park: 1.317 square miles, the most visited urban park in the US, with 42 million visitors each year, according to Wikipedia, and it is the most filmed location in the world. The park runs 2.5 miles from north to south and 0.5 miles from west to east. Hundreds of organized races are run in the park each year, with the biggest and most famous being the finish of the NYC Marathon every November.

My running route during a quick trip to the city for Christmas started in Time Square, down to Columbus Circle, to the park and around the perimeter gave me a solid 8 - 8.5 miles one day and approximately the same distance the next day with some off shoots in the park and around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir on the Stephanie and Fred Shuman Running Track (a very nice and scenic cinder loop around the water).

My runs took me past several cool attractions like the Central Park Zoo, Strawberry Fields, the Sheep Meadow, and lots of dogs and their people out walking and playing.

Above two photos: entrance to the Central Park Zoo. So much fun for kids and adults of all ages. Lots of indoor activities for frigid days plus lots of amazing animals: a brown bear, sea lions, penguins, red pandas, etc. Highly highly highly recommend!!

If you ever find yourself in New York City for work or pleasure, remember to pack your running shoes and visit Central Park. The experience is life changing!

Happy holidays, FitFooters!!!

:) Betsy

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