Saturday, November 8, 2014

A Run in Central Park

I'm fortunate with my job that I have a massive amount of vacation time -- by massive I mean right now I'm sitting on about seven weeks' worth -- and having that much gives me the chance to travel with Darcy when she goes on trips. She's the Director of Communications for a company that makes restaurant equipment and goes to lots of trade shows.

It's been fun...last year we went to Italy and earlier this year Las Vegas, and Italy is on the calendar for next October, as is Dubai in February. I love to travel and always dreamed of going to far away countries, so I feel very blessed for the chance to do that.

Anyway, we spent the last couple of days in New York, and I have a tangent that I can go off on about something we did yesterday, but I'll save that for later. One of the goals I had for the trip was to go for a run in Central Park. I was last here in 2003 and had an epic run along the West Side Highway (I ran from Midtown to Ground Zero and back) but never made it to the park.

Since this was such a quick trip and we had an early flight out Saturday, my only option was to get up early, so I got out of bed around 6:30. Our hotel was a block away from Rockefeller Center and so I ran to Sixth Avenue and turned north.

The run got off to a great start and it only took me a few minutes to get to the park. As I was waiting to cross the street, another runner came up next to me. I said hello and started to ask him a question about the running routes and he stopped me and said, "This is my first time here, I'm from Italy."

Well, bonjourno! It was fun to cross paths with him. He is from Milan, where we visited last year, and was very nice. The light changed and we went our separate ways.

It was such a glorious morning, while it was a bit chilly at 36 degrees, the sky was crystal clear and the driving winds we had yesterday had settled. Great running weather!

The path was pretty busy for so early on a Saturday. There were actually a lot of serious runners out there who were really hammering a pretty good pace. One of my main goals was to find the finish line of last week's New York City Marathon. I had studied the race map and had a pretty good idea where I was going.

I ran for a little bit and got a pretty obvious sign that I was on the right track!

 What is really interesting is that like most marathons, the finish area looks completely different on the other 364 days of the year than it does on race day. As I was running I tried to picture the scene from when I had watched it on TV last week, thinking about how the road was lined with banners and people.

I ran a little further, looking for more paint on the curb, and .2 later I found what I was looking for!

So there you have it! The finish line to one of the world's biggest and best marathons! It's kind of funny, and the finish line along Columbus Drive in Chicago is marked the same way. Given the race was just last week I wish they had left the finish line on the pavement, which I believe they do in Boston. Race directors, take note!

I ran on a little further and took some more photos, which I'll drop later on my Facebook page. Overall I'm guessing I ran about 3-3 1/2 miles, and I felt pretty good, which I was a bit worried about because I was on my feet a lot the day before and my back and right hip had been sore when I went to bed. It was just a really cool experience, and one I want to do again when we come back and I have a little more time to explore.

So, for the other cool experience: we were in town for an investor conference at the Metropolitan Opera House for Baron Capital, which is a big investor in Darcy's company, Middleby. Her boss (and company CEO) Selim Bassoul is well-known and very popular thanks to the success of the company under his leadership, and he was one of the speakers at the conference.

One of the things the conference is known for is that at the end of the day they bring in a "surprise performer", who plays a concert for the attendees. This year the "surprise" was none other than Paul McCartney! I was stoked because I've been a big fan of his for a long time, especially of the music he made in the 70s with Wings. I'm a lot younger than my sisters and when I hear a Wings song I think about riding around town with my sister Joni and listening to songs like that on the radio or sitting in her room listening to them on 45s. Great memories.

What made it even better was that we were in a box right next to the stage, meaning Sir Paul was about 50 feet from us! He put on a magnificent performance, although I want to see him again because he only played for about 75 minutes, which is typically about half as long as his usual shows. I like live music at clubs, bars and parks but don't really get into bigger shows, but in this case we'll make an exception.

We are actually on the flight home now, so we are leaving New York behind. One thing is for sure, I'm not going to wait 11 years to come back again! :--)

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