It’s My Birthday! (Announcing: Laura’s Birthday Fun Run!)

As I obnoxiously screamed to anyone and everyone last year after a champagne brunch, “IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!” :)

Last night, I hit the gym and was totally euphoric about how well I did (I was motivated!)… but then I crashed big time. Perhaps we can blame it on low blood sugar (I lifted hard and then had a snafu with my dinner order that made me wait longer than I would have liked to refuel), but I found myself really sad that I was alone in a hotel room and not really looking forward to my birthday. In the past few years, I’ve been really lucky that my birthday has fallen on a weekend; this year I’m traveling for work on my birthday, and when I went to sleep, I thought it was going to be really tough. I’m going to be having a party back at home in NYC on Saturday to celebrate, but I was still disappointed that nothing would really be happening on my actual birthday. Partially my fault since I hadn’t planned anything, but there wasn’t really anything about the day that I was really looking forward to, since there wasn’t much I wanted to plan when all of my friends and family are a thousand miles away.

But then! I woke up to text messages and Facebook wall posts of people wishing me happy birthday from afar. (And I do mean afar – some of the first messages were those from my cousins in Warsaw!) My mom sent me a Starbucks eGift Card to “start my day with a treat”, and things just kept trending up from there. It wasn’t anything elaborate, but there is nothing to make you feel more loved than getting tons of little messages all offering up best wishes. I even got an invite from the two friends I do have in Dallas to come out for drinks tomorrow night! All in all, I was absolutely overwhelmed by all the people who took time out of their day to say happy birthday, which was just such an unexpected surprise. For any “real life” friends reading this, you all are so sweet and amazing! Thank you for making my day incredibly special :)

And as far as my birthday party this weekend? I’ve actually come up with a pretty grand plan that I’m quite excited about. One of my Athleta goals for the year was to run a marathon every month – until July turned up some problems. I was originally considering either the Around the Lake Race, but it sold out before I made up my mind to register. I also considered the San Francisco Marathon the same weekend – but I just found out that I need to be in Miami for work that same day (yup, on a Sunday). Problem was, every other weekend in July is already booked – friends coming to visit, my own birthday party, a baby shower, and a bridesmaid dress shopping excursion. I considered just skipping a marathon in July, since I’ve run more than one marathon in other months and I’d still average out to twelve this year, but that wasn’t really in the spirit of my goal. What to do when there’s no good marathon to run? I decided to create my own!

In fact, after my friend Theodora chastised me with “what’s another 0.8 when you’re already doing 26.2?”, I decided to upgrade from a regular marathon to one mile per year – 27 miles total. I know that anything over 26.2 miles is technically an ultra, but I don’t really feel right calling it that when it’s basically just a marathon course on which you don’t take the tangents. Instead, let’s just call it “Laura’s Birthday Fun Run.”

And fun it will be! I’ve designed a pretty neat course that takes me through all my favorite parts of the city to run – up through Riverside Park, around Central Park, through South Street Seaport, around Battery Park, around the World Trade Center, and back along the Hudson River and the piers/grassy areas where I love to lounge on summer weekends. I think I may be the only one doing all 27 miles, but a lot of my friends are training for marathons, so they’re going to meet me at various points in the course to run the miles with me. I can’t think of a better way to spend my birthday! (Oh yeah, and finally breaking my “no beer” policy for the first time in over a month to enjoy some cold ones at my favorite beer bar in the city.)

So, NYC readers, who wants to come out and join the fun? I’ll be kicking it off bright and early at 7am on Saturday morning at Pedal NYC, and should finish up sometime around 11/11:30am, which will give me just enough time to shower and hustle on down to Rattle N Hum by 1pm. Drop me an email (laura at 50by25 dot com) if you can join for any/all of the miles, or just stop by for a drink in the afternoon! I can’t wait to celebrate with all my friends, new and old :)

The Official Route:
Start at Pedal NYC (61st and West End)
Head to river via 72nd St dog run and head north to Boat Basin (mile 1)
Continue north along the river, passing mile 1, and exit to Riverside Park
Continue up Riverside Park to exit at 110th St (mile 3)
Head East on 110th St and turn south onto Central Park West
Continue to 100th St, passing mile 4, and enter the park
Head south on the main loop toward 86th Street transverse (mile 5)
Continue south toward Tavern on the Green and NYC Marathon finish line (mile 6)
Circle the south end of the park and continue north on the main loop toward 72nd Street, passing mile 7
Continue north to pass the Met (mile 8)
At the Engineer’s Gate, enter the reservoir loop and head counterclockwise along the main path to mile 9 at 91st St
Exit to the main loop, this time heading north toward Harlem
Go up and around the Harlem Hills, passing mile 10, then head down the east side of the main loop to pass mile 11 at 102nd St
Continue down the main loop toward the Met (mile 12)
Continue down the main loop toward the southeast corner of the park. Exit the main loop via East Drive (mile 13)
Zigzag as necessary to 1st Ave, passing mile 14
Head down 1st Ave to pass the UN, and exit to the East River bike path at 42nd Street (mile 15)
Stay on the bikepath down the entire length of Manhattan until South Street Seaport, passing miles 16-19
Turn west onto Beekman and then take a quick left onto Water Street
Continue south on Water Street until Battery Park / South Ferry (mile 20)
Follow Battery Place to the Esplanade around World Fi, and head north through World Fi Plaza (mile 21)
Continue to the northwest tip of the park, turn right to get to West Street, and then turn left to head north along the Hudson River, passing miles 22-23
Head left to pass Chelsea Piers (mile 24)
Keep heading north to pass the Intrepid (mile 25)
Continue along the river past Laura’s apartment (mile 26)
At Pier 1 Cafe, turn right for one final uphill to get back to Riverside Boulevard, then turn right on Riverside to get back to 62nd Street
Finish in the park in front of Pedal NYC (mile 27)


  1. I love that you took me up on my challenge of an extra .8…and that I’m not also running 27 on Saturday :) Still deciding which part to join, but I’ll be there, obviously!

  2. I’ll be there!!

  3. Happy Birthday!! Hope you have a great run – wish I could run that with you but I’ll be doing the Jamestown Half Marathon in Rhode Island. Next time!

  4. I’ll be running with you for the first 6 miles! Can’t wait! Happy Birthday! =)

  5. thats so freaking cool! Wish i was in NYC to run with you!!! <3 I'll log 8 of my own down here in Annapolis in spirit :)

  6. I’ve got 11 to run this weekend and would love to join! Not sure at which point though…possibly will meet you on the UES, maybe when you hit 102nd on the east side.

  7. Wish I could join for the run, but my heat tolerance is so low I need to get out super early to avoid a total “I CAN’T DO THIS IT’S TOO HOT” breakdown. But I actually have brunch plans at Rattle N Hum tomorrow afternoon, so I’ll be sure to stop by and say hi if we’re there around the same time!

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