Today I ran a route that I have been putting off running for weeks, for fear it wouldn’t go so well.
The path is the four-mile center loop of Central Park. It has three significant rolling hills on the west side of the park and one large hill on the east. It takes you past the Reservoir, the Great Lawn, Strawberry Fields, Bethesda Terrace and the back of the Metropolitan Museum, among other quintessential Central Park sites.
I have run this course literally hundreds of times. And I don’t just throw around the word literally, so yes I do mean hundreds of times.
Four miles isn’t long and it isn’t even the longest I’ve run since returning from my injury (which I still struggle with and am treating, by the way).
I think that maybe I was afraid of attempting something that I had done hundreds of times and not succeeding at it.
So today, I ran that old familiar path. Yet, there was nothing familiar about it.
It was 60 degrees outside, overcast, the trees were bare and nothing is yet in bloom. I don’t even know what season this is. My park looked different, as she often does; though, in an unfamiliar way today.
For the first mile or so, I allowed my mind to wander. I had conversations with myself. I dwelled. I dreamed. And in those moments, I felt for the first time in a long time, like myself again. A bit more battered, a bit more bruised, but the old familiar me was peeking through.
As I turned south on to the west side at the end of the 102nd Street Transverse, I took each hill as it came, but noticed myself picking up the pace each time. Me against the hill, and I was winning.
I was working hard, but with an ease about it. And it was then that I noticed that I was doing far more than merely putting one foot in front of the other. I wasn’t training, I was just out for a run, but I was stronger and more determined than ever.
I took to that old familiar path but found a new and somewhat different me.
And whoever this girl was, the old familiar me has nothing on her.
Today’s run: 4 hilly Central Park miles in 35 minutes, even splits, 8:45 pace.