I wish it had occurred to me, when I first started running over a year ago, to perhaps count the number of loops I did of central park. I realize this is obsessive, and a little strange. I also think it could be a staggeringly high number. But, what is it? 50? 100? 200? More?!
Thinking of it this way, not just “I run in Central Park”, or “I know the whole loop in Central Park”, but “I’ve run the Central Park loop 100 times”, emphasizes how much a part of our lives this place becomes for runners. I have seen it cycle through the seasons since last summer. As summer turned into fall, I remember asking myself whether I would continue to come here, in the cold, on dark winter evenings. Tuesday I found myself in a summery park once again and realized that I had stayed with her all through the changing seasons.
There are things about the winter park I miss. I miss the emptiness, the feeling that only the most dedicated runners were out there with me (and not having the swarms of cyclists in fluorescent spandex). I miss the cool nights, dehydration was never much of a concern.
I also am now glad for the company, and the light. Glad that I can head to the park at 8pm and not worry at all about running alone. And I’m glad, some days, for the warmth– I certainly don’t miss the night that the wind literally froze my butt under my running tights.
So, Tuesday, in the growing warmth, with many runners and cyclists for company, I added another loop to my growing, yet unknown, count. One more notch in a hopefully endless belt of nights spent with NY runners’ most faithful companion.