Almost abroad

by • February 27, 2017 • Highlights, Running wildComments (0)865

Going to Europe? Schedule a layover in the Big Apple

If you run New York City’s Central Park, be on the lookout for the famed cougar. Courtesy Mike Halko.

If you run New York City’s Central Park, be on the lookout for the famed cougar. Courtesy Mike Halko.

Whenever traveling abroad, there is the very real issue of jet lag, and no matter how carefully you plan, the change in time zones can play a number on your internal clock.
That’s why I suggest scheduling a stopover in New York City to recalibrate your body and mind before embarking on that “Bucket List” trip to Europe.
After a full day of flying to the East Coast and a four-hour time zone change, you will be ready to get some exercise beyond the narrow aisle of your plane.
So listen to Lady Liberty’s words: “Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” and head to Manhattan’s oasis, Central Park, the next morning to reconnect with nature for a run or walk. Designed by landscape architects Fredrick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the 750-acre Central Park is heralded as the genesis for the urban park movement in America. Anchorage has wisely mimicked this trend of offering accessible green spaces for everyone to enjoy.
In Central Park, one can start out easy with the flat 1.5-mile loop around the reservoir or take in more of the sights with a rolling 6-mile jaunt through the park. Remember to keep your eyes peeled for the bronze cougar looming over the road, as you will be easy prey. It’s truly a magical place, where Alice in Wonderland welcomes the Mad Hatter beneath skyscrapers. A slice of Alaska also can be found in Central Park – a statue of Balto, the lead dog from the historic serum run, stands proudly atop a boulder.
Looking for more Distance? The West Side Path along the Hudson River stretches for 15.9 miles. Contemplate the thoughts of “Sully” and his passengers who survived the miraculous water landing as you parallel the river. You’ll be striding through images you’ve seen hundreds of times in films and sitcoms.


New York City’s High Linel Park is a raised 1.5-mile track for walking, which used to be a rail line. Courtesy Mike Halko.

New York City’s High Linel Park is a raised 1.5-mile track for walking, which used to be a rail line. Courtesy Mike Halko.

Cool down or just stretch out your legs with a visit to The High Line Park. It abuts the Chelsea Art District on the west side of Manhattan. This 1.5-mile stroll will not disappoint, as you will be traversing along an elevated rail line turned to a public park thanks to the vision of local residents. It offers an interesting perspective of city life as you walk along, several stories above street level.
Need to justify travel with a race? The New York Road Runners ( hosts numerous events. Just last month, its New Years Midnight 4-Miler brought out 5,000 runners to usher in another year of fitness. Race bibs with #ResolveToRun were worn with goals noted on the reverse side of the bib. Goals give us purpose – record it and own it.
The premier race, of course, is the New York City Marathon, which finishes a short distance from Columbus Circle. In 1970, the inaugural marathon was held completely within the confines of the park – four challenging laps. The race now embraces the entire city thanks to the vision of Fred Lebow. All five boroughs of New York City, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, and Manhattan get to cheer on the nearly 50,000 marathoners from around the world on the first Sunday of November.
After your workout, it will be easy to add another 10,000 steps on your phone or Fit Bit by seeking out a few more sites like Rockefeller Plaza, The Empire State Building, The 9/11 Memorial, the Natural History Museum and Metropolitan Art Museum.
Moving afoot you’ll see firsthand that “The City Doesn’t Sleep,” so why should you? Get out there, experience the pulse of the city, visit Times Square and Broadway and see why Hamilton is all the rage. Or just see or be “Wicked” before you venture overseas.
P.S. A layover in Boston or Philadelphia can provide similar experiences. The idea is to see and experience more with less bodily stress.

— Keep striding and smiling,
Coach Mike

alaska-890581_1280The Alaska Alternative

WHERE: Anchorage Light Speed Planet Walk or Run faster than the speed of light
WHEN: May-September

Start at either the sun on Fifth Avenue behind the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts and head toward Bootleggers Cove and the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail, passing all the planets along the way to Kincaid, where the former planet (now a dwarf star) Pluto resides. The route is built to scale with each step representing 300,000 kilometers or 186,000 miles. Do it in reverse as a space invader. It’s a fun way to pad your running logbook.
INSIDER TIP: Get caffeinated at Kaladi Brothers Coffee Co. near the PAC if starting the journey from the sun. Or plan to eat with earthlings at the Snow City Cafe if departing from the edge of the universe at Kincaid. Walking time is 5.5 hours, and running speed depends on what level of warp speed you are traveling.
INFO: Visit to learn how the Anchorage Rotary worked with Eli Menaker, a Service High School student, to bring this celestial project to life.

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