In a few weeks a few of us from my running team, The Dashing Whippets, will run the Ragnar relay race from Woodstock NY to NYC.
Since several of these legs will take place in the middle of the night, we had planned a few group night runs, both for bonding and to practice running while fatigued. And so last night I did not rush out of work to get in a workout or run. Instead, I worked on some writing, watched some Lost episodes with friends, ate dinner, and then headed home at 11pm. I stood in my bedroom, a half hour away from bed-time, got undressed… and put on running gear.
As Tuesday turned to Wednesday, and most of the city was either drinking, sleeping, or doing other appropriately night-time activities, six of us ran in an almost unrecognizable Central Park. Although we had run those loops hundreds of times over, each, there were moments of confusion in this now black and gray world: east turned to west, transverses morphed into drives, and the dreaded hills sneaked up on us with greater stealth than usual. The park was bright with the flares of street lights, filtered light from adjacent buildings, and the diffuse light of the big city, reflected back to us from the clouds. Two other lone runners, a few bikers, and two couples out for a 1am stroll were our only company, and we indulged in the space, filling up the entire recreation lane and beyond, running six abreast even, without concern. Back on the streets we were no longer alone, the city may not run past midnight, but it is one that does not sleep. Drunk girls with shrieks and slurred words cried “OMG” at us in Valley girl voices, doormen nodded wisely, and delivery men jumped, surprised, from our path. Slowly we dispersed. One of us running home down second avenue, another taking off across the 59th street bridge to Astoria.
7.4 miles later, those of us remaining returned to my apartment, where we said our goodbyes. I went into my bedroom, now an hour and a half after my bedtime, undressed… and showered and went to bed.
I took today’s picture while in the library at Rockefeller, waiting for other editors to arrive to copy-edit the May Natural selections issue.