Night Running Deserves a Quiet Night (and a Destination)

Thanks for the inspiration, REM.

Manhattan was anything but quiet on Tuesday night, when I decided to focus on efficiency by skipping my morning run and, rather than taking the subway to the UES for an evening engagement, doing a little night running instead. The route: 11th and University to around 80th and York. It was pretty straight forward, packing in (about) four commuter-filled miles that were made all the more fun by a backpack of clothing and boots bouncing up and down on my shoulders.

Like I said last week after my unforgettable moonlit Valentine’s Day run, I have got to get out more at night. There are few images that can beat an early morning sunrise (even though the sun isn’t so much rising this time of year – it’s mostly risen), but I’m thinking this glittery snapshot is one of them.

Tuesday’s run wasn’t as effortless as my previous evening jaunt. It was my 6th day out of 7 running; my 7th day in a row doing some form of physical activity; and to be honest, I was super cranky after staring at a computer for 8+ hours. Fortunately, I had a tangible reason to run: to get my hands on these ginormous, delicious cheeks.

Whether or not there’s an awesome happy nephew at the end of your run or not, when it comes to picking a destination to run to and pumping your legs until you get there, I am always for it. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it’s also one of the most useful. Without a destination, it can be easy to turn around at any given moment and head back home – especially after a long day at the office. With a destination, there’s a reason to keep moving forward, even if it’s a mental struggle.

Running to somebody’s house – whether a friend’s or family’s – is always a good idea, as long as they don’t mind lending you a towel and a bit of bodywash afterward. All it takes is a bit of foresight. Pack a running backpack (they’re actually really comfy if you get the right one), and throw in a change of clothing. Don’t forget an extra pair of undergarments (rookie mistake) or deodorant.

Not only did Tuesday night’s run enable me to squeeze in a quick workout before being offered wine and buttery crab cakes (thanks, brother), but like I always say,  it’s way quicker – and cheaper – than taking public transportation. (Don’t think it’s quicker? Then you’ve never gotten stuck on the 4/5/6 in rush hour.)

Overall, while beautiful and warm outside, the run was a bit strange. I felt strong yet tired. I felt energized yet sluggish. I felt accomplished yet ready to crash onto my brother’s couch. These are the disillusions of someone who has spent too many days in a row working their body to the limit, which brings me to Wednesday: a day of rest, work and dinner with a close friend who I don’t get to see enough.

My biggest concern right now, besides my tense back muscles and my knee which feels like it could snap at any moment, is to regain my strength for Thursday morning’s activities – another early run with a not-so-new-anymore running friend. I can’t say I’m happy about the fact that I didn’t break a sweat (unless you count walking up the stairs at the office), but there’s a tiny rational part of me that also knows its those “rest” days that make “run” days that much more successful. At least, that’s what I’m hoping.

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