By the end of this year, New York will have played host to 50 million tourists…a record for the history books. Of those tourists, only 11.5 million will visit my beloved Central Park. [source] My first encounter with Central Park was as a tourist, and it was an unforgettable experience. To come to NYC and miss it would be a sin!
I don’t know how I’d survive the hustle & bustle of this city without having The Park in my front yard. Since moving here more than 8 years ago, not a week has gone by that I haven’t spent significant time in these 843 acres of hilly, lush greenery. It was here that I became a runner, struggling to simply make it around the Reservoir’s 1.6 miles without stopping. I ran my first half marathon here, and have watched as hundreds of thousands have crossed finish line of the NYC Marathon at Tavern on the Green.
Today, like every Sunday morning, I planned my morning “long run” in the Park over a leisurely breakfast. Sometimes I choose to do hill sprints here in the Harlem Hills. Or I’ll do the 6-mile loop, dreading my least favorite cat hill. When I run the reservoir, I take it twice, doing sprints every 4-6 lampposts to make the run faster and more efficient. When I’m with my running partner, we have her toddler in the stroller and I beg to push. The added weight makes my legs sore for the next few days, not to mention my shoulders and triceps!
Every season, the Park has it’s surprises. Summer morning runners are eager to get it in before the sunny heat and humidity set in. Crisp fall days are great for speed and purpose heading into marathon season…even the cold winter evenings are quiet, snowy and magical. Spring, my favorite time of year, is full of hope and flowers playing peek-a-boo. I can’t wait!