Friday I was too busy working and getting ready to leave for my trip to go for a run, Saturday and Sunday I was too busy snowboarding down the mountain and too bruised and sore from turning myself into a human crash test dummy. Monday was the drive home, and more legitimate snowboarding recovery. Tuesday I should have run; I probably could have run, but it would have had to be indoors, and I was exhausted from staying up late working the night before. Which is how I found myself today, having not run for 5 days (for you non-runners, this is actually a pretty big deal.) What was amazing, was how it suddenly seemed normal not to run. What’s one more day, I was telling myself, you still can’t turn your head to the right side (crash test dummy), one more day of recovery will do you good.
To maintain my running base, I run 4-5 times a week, 20 miles minimum. I don’t think about it; I don’t wonder if I should; it’s just a fact of my week. Sometimes I question the sanity of this: when it’s raining, snowing, sleeting, or freezing-freezing cold; or when I’m tired, sleep deprived, or really busy at work. What keeps me going are what I call the Reminder Runs. Reminder Runs remind me of why I love this sport and why I still go out, all those other freezing, raining, tired days- when the runs really aren’t that great.
I once went on a NYRR training run in absolute pouring rain, the kind that immediately overwhelms the gutters and has people covering their heads with anything they can get their hands on, while they sprint for cover. Out we went into a deserted Central Park (C.P.). After you are so wet that you can’t get even a little bit wetter, the rain stops mattering so much, and we enjoyed doing intervals on an uncharacteristically empty track. As we recovery jogged out of the park, the sun came out and lit up the Met. with an intense orange light that stood out all the more against the backdrop of dark storm clouds. A rainbow emerged and, with endorphins coursing through my body, I was running towards it and a view that would easily make the cover of any NY tour guide. If I wasn’t a runner I’d never have been there, I’d have been safely tucked inside with everyone else, thinking that going out in this rain was the craziest thing ever- and yet I wouldn’t have traded that moment for all the warmth and comfort in the world. This is why Reminder Runs may be the most important reason why I run, and continue to do so, even on the freezing, tired, rainy days.
Today was a Reminder Run. After thinking that the last thing I felt like doing was running, I headed out. I went to C.P., since I haven’t run there for so long. I wasn’t thinking about the fact that the park might be pretty today, just that I wanted to do a good 6 miles, which can be boring on the East River trail. Then I saw C.P. waiting for me across 5th ave: the trees were snow covered, the roads were clear, and the frozen pond just above the 72nd street transverse was spectacular. Again I found myself saying, if it weren’t for running, I would have missed this- I would have seen the slushy snow on the city streets, and I would never have ended up here, where it is beautiful, and sparkling, and pristine.
My main photo for today I took in the Cafeteria this morning, perhaps to represent how I spent the last 5 days eating way too much instead of running. But I also had to take an iPhone snap of C.P. in the snow. Thank you to running for getting me out of the warm cafeteria and into the snow decorated park, and for reminding me why I love you so.
(6.5 miles, 9.05 mm in the park, stupid knee pain at the 6 mile mark)