Well, I am home and will post a full report soon. Suffice to say I had a grand 'ole fun time and couldn't have asked for a better race experience.
On August 31st I ran a lesiurely 10.2 miles in Central Park.
The run was part of my current marathon training but I had designed it as a farewell to a place I have spent so much time in the last few years. A full 6 mile loop, 2.5 miles on the Bridle Path, and my "Old Faithful" 1.7 mile lower loop. With every step familiar sites became a fading memory of my mind. The park disappeared behind me and I fought the urge to turn around for one more look.
I have every curve, ascent, and descent etched into my mind. I have seen the seasons change while I was on the run and experienced the changing weather that comes with them. Though I have been a pretty ancillary member the last two years, I met a group of wonderful people in this park and spent many hours chatting away while on the run. With my running club I was able to participate in 200 mile relay races on both coasts of the country in addition to partaking in brunch on both sides of Manhattan. I completed my first 5K and half marathon within Central Park. The soul-revealing last miles and finish of my second marathon were located in Central Park as well.
What will I miss most about Central Park? I will miss the way every hill is rewarded with a smooth sailing descent. I will miss hearing Christmas music at the skating rink as I coast down the hill at the northern edge of the park. I will miss the way running on the Bridle Path makes you forget you are in the middle of a city. I will miss the fire-orange colored trees during Fall. I will miss the icicles by Harlem Hill in the Winter. I will miss the cherry blossoms of Spring. I will miss the fireflies during Summer. I will miss how the ala carte options of loops could be combined to yield any distance I desired. I will miss the glimpses, sounds, and smells of horses that the park afforded me. I will miss hearing the saxophone player under the bridge by Cleopatra's Needle. I will miss the solitude and camaraderie of the early morning and foul-weather runs. I will miss the views of the city above the treeline. I will miss even the bumbling tourists who reminded me that I should treasure the moments I had running circles in the City.
I've calculated that I ran roughly 2,007 miles in Central Park over the last few years.
I will miss my park dearly.