I ran my farthest run on Saturday- 6 miles! I was really excited to tackle this run, because it’s the first time I’ve been able to do the Central Park loop. I’ve done the 5 mile loop before, but it really felt good to run the full loop. I was a little apprehensive passing by the exit for the 5 mile loop, knowing that I was going past the point of no return (cue the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack…). It really was an odd experience. I’d never been to that portion of the park before. It was very serene and I don’t think I had to dodge a single strolling tourist. But I did encounter two new challenges in that mile: rain and a never ending hill. Honestly, I think those two challenges cancelled each other out. Running uphill is hard, and I think if I didn’t have the rain to distract me I would’ve focused all my energy on the hill that seemed to go on forever. So instead I focused on the rain. I made the decision to embrace the rain and enjoy it. It cooled me down and turned out to be a wonderful distraction.
Aside from the hill, it was a fairly easy run. I think that I’ve figured out that running outdoors comes much easier to me than running on a treadmill. Every time I run on a treadmill I seem to struggle. I focus solely on the time remaining, how long I’ve run and how fast I’m running. It feels like a chore- it’s not much fun. When I run outdoors, especially in Central Park, I feel like I could almost keep running- past whatever mile mark I’m supposed to hit. I people watch. I race past people. I try to keep up with others. I get inspired by other runners. I feel like I’m part of a community. It’s leaps and bounds more enjoyable than running on a treadmill in a windowless, stuffy, smelly, Manhattan gym. So I’ve made the decision not to let rain ruin my runs any longer. A rainy run outdoors is more rewarding and enjoyable to me than a run on a treadmill. Take that Mother Nature!