A New York City Runaround


I flew out to New York late Tuesday night, only in town for a little under 48 hours – just enough for a full slate of work meetings.

I ended up swimming on Wednesday at a place just a few blocks away (though underground some four floors), but Thursday morning I had a bike-run brick on my calendar.  The longer segment of which was the run portion.

Since my brick workout started off with a bike segment, I headed down to the gym at about 6:25AM.  I was actually pretty surprised at how busy it was in there.


At first glance I didn’t see any of the bikes available.  There wasn’t many in the gym, compared to a seemingly infinite amount of treadmills.  However, off at the very end I spotted a bike that was a bit more involved looking than the others.


After poking at it though, it wasn’t too bad at all.  Sometimes the fancier the exercise bikes, the worse they are – but in this case, it was actually fairly functional.

In fact, it gave me everything from wattage (that seemed valid), to cadence and heart rate.  Even more interestingly, I was actually able to ‘shift’ gears.  No, not just change resistance, but literally on the handlebars there were shifters.  Oh, and I could even steer the bike. I guess it was sorta like the Tour de France trainer bikes you’ll see on TV starting in another week, except without the guy wearing the helmet indoors.


Like the CompuTrainer software, it also had a virtual pacer – and like the CompuTrainer that pacer was set based on wattage, not speed.  Wouldn’t have expected that – but quite nice for my purposes.

Had I had more time I would have probably configured a free account so I could have downloaded my workout.  But for the only 30-minute pre-run bike segment, it didn’t seem worth it.


The bike portion of the workout effectively just built in intensity, and before I knew it I was headed back out of the gym and outside.

The hotel I was staying at was only a couple of blocks from Central Park – and one of the main reasons I stay there.  Super-easy access to and from the park for running.  Ironically, as I was standing outside the hotel waiting for satellite reception, a reader came up and asked if I was ‘DCRainmaker’.  Yup, guilty as charged.


With that, I headed on out to start my run, 3-4 blocks later I was entering Central Park:


Immediately upon crossing the street I came upon my first Citibike station of the run.  It was actually about mid-way through the hotel exercise bike workout that I realized it would have been WAY more fun to simply rent a Citibike for the bike portion of my brick.  While certainly not a fancy bike, I probably could have gotten pretty much the same workout on it within the park – and have been way more fun.


Much of the park is closed to drivers, though this time of day did allow drivers through some small sections.  But I didn’t see many cars taking advantage of it (could count them on one hand).  And nothing that seemed to impede any cyclists this morning.


The first 5 minutes of my run was just a build to intensity.  It somewhat short, but serves merely as an introduction to things.  I ran in the same direction as cyclists, and most runners (runners can run either direction).  As usual, there were plenty of people around, and of a wide range of running abilities.

What you don’t necessarily expect however is a group of soldiers marching through on some form of morning PT workout.  This was fairly common to see when I lived in Washington DC, but I hadn’t expected it in NYC.


I was soon beginning my first interval.  Each interval started off with a 7-minute long portion at about a 10K race-pace before shifting in intensity (harder) for 2.5 minutes to about a 5K race pace.


Once that higher intensity section was complete, it was 2.5 minutes of recovery before it began again.

It’s always fun to hear the sound of the aerowheels as they whamp-whamp-whamp from behind you and cruise by.  Plenty of triathletes out this morning.  And, plenty of roadies out as well.


As I made my way down the first major hill of the morning, I saw one of the city pools off to my right.  Somewhat surprisingly it was empty.  I figured by this time of year it would have been filled.


A short bit later I was re-gaining the altitude lost on one of the major ‘climbs’ of the morning.  I’m glad there was a cyclist in this photo doing a standing climb – merely because it then shows that yes, it’s a climb.


By this point I was in my second interval – though still the main 7-minute portion.  It just kinda happened that as I hit the top, I switched into the higher intensity piece.  This was only notable because then it made me look really fast for that split as I descended again.

Otherwise, I just continued my way around:


I made a last-second decision to veer off the roadway and go run around the lake/reservoir instead.


There were plenty of runners out here as well, and provided a nice (albeit somewhat brief) change of scenery.


I eventually veered back to the road though, and finished up my main intervals.  In this case, it was 3xSets, but it was scheduled for 4x.  I just was running out of time before my 8:30AM meeting.  So I wrapped things up with my 4xSprints, essentially just a series of 30-second sprints at a higher intensity.

Upon the completion of each I’d move over to the walking lane, to ensure I was out of the way of other runners.


I soon found myself back at pretty much the same place I entered in.  While I did go past it a few hundred yards, the distance ended out working out pretty much perfectly.


I thought it was interesting that as I left the park there was a family from Germany (or at least, speaking German) running together.  I found it interesting only in that it was clearly the two children plus both parents, all out for a morning run together.  Quite a rarity to see a full family running together.  Neat though.


From there I was out of the park oasis and back into the morning commute rush.  Thankfully I only had to run a few more blocks back to the hotel through it all.


Less than 17 minutes after getting back to the hotel I was walking back across the street and into my meetings.  Pretty solid timing.

And, and of course – during my stay I did get to Katz Deli again.  How could I not?


Thanks for reading – and have a great weekend!


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  1. This is probably a really dumb question, but how do you carry the TS4 while running in a way that you can easily get it out and put it away? (Or am I over thinking this: you just stop and get it out of a Spibelt or the like?) Thanks as always for the awesome content. 🙂

    • I do have a spibelt that I use for longer runs (though I don’t ever stop, I just do it all while running).

      For most runs though, I just hold the camera in my hand.

  2. Chris

    Fantastic article and loved seeing my city featured! We’re in the middle of the cronut craze — perhaps something the Mrs. would enjoy adding to her repertoire?

  3. Gunnar Christensen

    That Hilton is in a great location, but lordy! How about the wait for those elevators when the touristas wake up!

  4. Nathaniel

    No Cronus from Dominique Ansel?

  5. Andre

    Long time lurker, first time poster.
    I really like your site and it’s great to see that you had a good time in CP.
    I was riding at the same time than you since I saw that group of “soldiers” (ROTC it seemed) about 1/4 mile up when I entered on 72nd street on the east side 🙂
    It was a beautiful morning!
    I was running on your home turf (Jardin du Luxembourg last week 🙂

  6. Mark

    But I thought the Citi Bikes were supposed to destroy NYC and, as an extension, Western Civilization as we know it???
    link to frontpagemag.com
    link to gawker.com
    link to nymag.com

  7. Scott

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I just moved from NYC to Atlanta after 5 years and have put in countless miles in CP. Such a great place to run and by far the best thing about NYC.

    • kab

      i moved from nyc to atl several years ago. such a culture shock. i miss my home town, but i’ll be in ga the rest of my life, i’m sure.

  8. Mike

    Ray, your other option was to join a Citibike spin class – link to goo.gl

  9. Damn. Would have loved to know you were coming to NYC. It would have been nice to join up for a run with you. Central Park is my home my away from home

    Hope you enjoyed NYC!!


  10. Monica

    I love NYC and Central Park, Great post.

  11. NYC public pools don’t open full time until the kids are out of school, which I think was either 6/21 (friday) or maybe even later next week, depending on how much time the schools lost to Hurricane Sandy.

    great post! Always nice to see places I recognize (and even for this one, live near) in your travels!

  12. Jan

    I stayed at the same Hilton two years ago. Nice rooms and the best situated hotel for morning run in the Central Park :).

  13. Michele

    Welcome to my backyard. CP is such a great place to run. Biking is great, but only at certain times of the day. Early in the morning is best. Once the tourists come into the park, they have a tendency to aimlessly walk into the bike lanes causing bikers to stop short. I have witnessed way too many accidents like that. Best is 5:30am. All the nicest bikes are out along with some of our local pros. Safe travels.

  14. pablo

    17 minutes? No stretching for you I guess. Amazing efficiency.