Thursday, June 27, 2013

Trains, Planes & Automobiles - New York or Bust!

I don't always travel, but when I do, I pack my desire to run.  Thus we began our journey to New York City the long way - via Portland, Oregon and Rochester, NY.  Why the circuitous route?  Family stuff yo!  What about the reference to the 1987 John Hughes movie?  Ok yeah, let's start with that:

If I'm going to have a hideous carbon footprint I want it to be on my favorite craft beer serving airline - +Alaska Airlines.  So off we go on a Friday San Jose to Portland, Oregon flight on the nerd-bird.  Between seeing family, friends and sucking down a few too many Stumptown espressos there was time for a 6 mile Saturday morning run to some of my favorite places - Washington Park, the Rose Garden and Forest Park.

Trains?  Yes, there was some of that thanks to Portland's extensive light-rail and streetcar network.  Automobiles?  Sure; here's a two-for.

So after less than 36 hours it was back on a plane for a red-eye to JFK airport outside New York City.  I'm finally in NYC, right?  No, just a place to hold up for 4 hours while we waited for our connecting flight to Rochester.  Ugh, I'm too old for red-eyes - not even a poorly executed latte AND espresso could wipe the fog from my brain.  No run today (Sunday).  Just an afternoon nap and groggy dinner with dad.

Thank goodness for Monday and a good nights sleep.  An easy 7 mile morning run was just what I needed to get back into my training routine.  It was also fun to check out Cobbs Hill Park - site of many of my high school cross country running races and a great place from which to view the Rochester skyline.

On Tuesday I rented a road bike from a former employer Park Ave Bike Shop - an excellent LBS just around the corner from where I went to high school.  The plan was to ride with my former cross country ski mentor Roger Weston.  Now retired, Roger spent over 30 years playing cheerleader-in-chief to local skiers including those who raced for competing schools like me.  Since it was Roger who got me into bike racing (and it being Summer) a long easy bike ride seemed like a great way to catch-up.........until the old bastard put the hammer down!  50 miles, 13 segment top 10's and 1 KOM later Roger finally relented and let us soft pedal home........and I thought the "coach" in him was retired??

Not sure what compelled me to go for a 3 mile run that afternoon.......but I did.  Maybe it was because I'd be on an +Amtrak train all day Wednesday to New York City.  Wait what, why?  Cause I like train travel; it's a great way to see scenic rural New York and we had time......and Internet......and the ability to make phone calls.......and my carbon footprint felt guilty.  Pro tip: try using the +Field Trip app while taking the train.  It's a cool way to explore while you roll along.......and you can't do that on a plane.

Finally - arrived at our New York City pied-à-terre (a.k.a. sister-in-laws apartment).  It was said sister-in-law's 40th birthday so we took her to a fancy restaurant with a view.  I'm glad she's not scared of heights.

Thursday morning and it's surprisingly NOT hot or humid.  Awesome, I head North for a 9 mile out-n-back in Riverside Park to 125th Street.

On Friday I had the opportunity to finally see something I'd been reading about long before it finally got built in 2009 - The High Line.  This former elevated freight rail line has been turned into a mile long park - a rare piece of new green space in the Meatpacking District.  Thanks to the pouring rain the High Line was nearly empty.  Perfect for the tail end of my out-n-back 7 mile morning run.

As a runner you can't visit Manhattan and not run in Central I did that on Saturday.  7.5 mile run around the ye olde perimeter road.  How was I to know the New York Road Runners were putting on a race that same morning - ooops.  No worries, the race was just finishing but I sure did have a lot of company from fellow runners warming down or just wandering around the park.

How many times can I run out-n-back along the Hudson River?  Plenty.  If you're staying on the West side it's your best running option.  Sunday morning was my chance to catch a view of the recently topped off Freedom Tower.  8 mile run down to Houston and back.

Since I'd recently recovered from a sacrum injury I didn't want to run every day.  Hey, there's a gym in this building - sweet!  30 minutes on an elipse machine watch the Real Housewives of Orange County. Heck of a Monday.

What, more trains?  Yup, we took a side trip on Metro-North to visit friends in New Canaan, CT.  I dig Grand Central Terminal and it has a couple good coffee joints too - Irving Farm Coffee and Joe Coffee.

Tuesday?  Yeah, you guessed it - I ran again.  5 rainy miles out-n-back on the Hudson River in my Christian Louboutin's.......errrr, +Salomon Sense Ultra.

#WorkoutWednesday meant a long run since my sacrum was feeling awesome (a.k.a. not broke down).  12 miles out-n-back to the George Washington Bridge at 7:55 pace.  Not fast but since this was my longest run since injuring my sacrum in January I'll take it.

The one thing I didn't do but would have liked to try was the new citibike system.  Unfortunately it was only available to yearly pass holders (for now).  It's a pretty cool system and a lot like what I saw a few years ago in Paris (Velib) and Brussels (Villo).  Welcome to the future New York!

Thursday - our last day in New York.  How about one for the road?  Yeah, another out-n-back along the Hudson River - 7.26 miles, average heart rate 124, 7:30 pace, PTE 2.3.  Took the Subway to LIRR to AirTrain to JFK for the flight home.  Thank goodness it wasn't a red-eye.