Two weeks ago, I ran the Fred Lebow half marathon in Central Park. I had been freaking out about the cold temperature as I hadn’t done much outdoor running this winter so far. Luckily, the sun came out and for the first time in seemingly weeks, the temperature was above freezing. It was actually rather perfect weather, though I did get a bit sniffly.
I’m not sure why I keep running in Central Park. While the scenery is wonderful, my only experiences here are hitting the unexpected hill in last spring’s Manhattan half, nearly getting killed several times by bicyclists after 20 miles of training runs last fall, and the never ending hill inclines at the end of the New York City Marathon. At this race though, I actually enjoyed it and while I didn’t set a PR, came within 2 minutes of my staggering PR last year.
There was no medal at the end which was a bit disappointing, but the positive feeling after a long winter and a break after the marathon, along with the unique Lebow hat, a cycling style bright yellow number, made this a memorable race. It was also one of the best organized ones with no wait for bib pickup, plenty of space for warming up at the start, and well organized corals.
My hill training really paid off on the somehow only uphill climbs of the park where I felt like I flew past many other runners. Best of all, our dog Hershey made it out, and not only cheered me on, but tried to take off and follow me on the run when I went past.
Of course, no race is complete without a celebratory meal and drink after. Food came courtesy of the funky little Freeman’s in Chelsea Market downtown. The fried chicken and waffle was perfect for a little post race recovery though the heaping portion was definitely a positive calorie net after the run. They didn’t serve beer on Sundays, so instead I got a pick me up from the always incredible Blue Bottle coffee nearby. I don’t know what they put into their lattes, but they are always incredible and leave me wanting more.
Fred would have been proud of the huge crowd that made it out to celebrate his legacy as essentially the creator of the modern day NYC marathon. It was also the perfect excuse to get outside on a nice day and stretch the legs after a long winter. Great success for the first running of the event.