I had the idea on Sunday to run back from my friend's home in Brooklyn. He has a beautiful big house in Crown Heights near Eastern Parkway, just far enough out that a run from his place felt like a legitimate challenge. The bigger challenge, for me, was figuring out a reasonable route through the borough, across one of the bridges, and north by northwest to 84th and Central Park West in Manhattan. Google Maps recommended a route to Queens, across the Queensboro bridge (ahem, the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge), and through Central Park to 84th. That was pretty daunting, especially with the standard Google Maps warning: Use caution – This route may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths. I decided to run up Bedford to the Williamsburg bridge, across to the lower east side, and then attempt to piece together a northerly course taking advantage of green lights and clear intersections.
Running through Brooklyn was enjoyable: I ran in the contested Bedford Avenue bike lane through the Satmar Hasidic community of Williamsburg, skirting the hipster enclaves before finding the bike approach to the Williamsburg bridge. It seems there is a separate pedestrian/running approach to the bridge, but as it was a quiet Monday afternoon, I wasn't really in anyone's way and didn't get shouted at for running in a bike lane. I'm pretty sure the climb up the bridge contributed to the tightness in my calf. The views from the middle of the span were pretty impressive and I should have stopped midway to enjoy the view and stretch.
Once over the bridge, I zagged my way west (making sure to run past my former grad school building, now a demolition zone, on 13th and 5th) to Eighth Avenue. I used the cleared bike lane on Eighth as far as I could, and then dodged pedestrians on the sidewalk until I reached the park. Once on Central Park West, I shuffled my way up to 84th and struggled to get my watch to respond in the cold so I could shut off the GPS. Turns out touch sensitive bezels do not like prolonged exposure to 25 degrees. Who would have guessed?
Today, my calf is still quite stiff. Stiff enough that I am a little bit worried about the Manhattan Half Marathon in eleven days. I dug out my foam roller and will work on the muscle and tendon with that. Hopefully I can find something that loosens it and allows me to keep running at my training pace. I'm willing to take breaks when I have to, but I certainly don't enjoy it, especially so close to an event in which I have (had?) a real chance of performing at a peak level.
I had the opportunity to do a five-mile recovery run in Central Park this afternoon with a friend; we kept it nice and easy and I periodically tested out the calf to see how it was responding. Three hours later and it doesn't seem worse than yesterday evening (or this morning). That seems like a good sign. I'll take tomorrow off altogether, stretch and stretch some more, and maybe say a few magic incantations over the affected area.