An Amazing (ly Un-hungover) Run Through Central Park

There’s no doubt that I could have used another hour of sleep this morning when my alarm clock went off at 6:30. Part of me just wanted a pinch more “me time” that didn’t involve doing something productive (i.e. working, running or writing), but fortunately, after catching a glimpse of the sunrise, I had the inspiration I needed to slowly remove the covers.

I didn’t run on Wednesday, as promised. Actually, I didn’t do much of anything besides work, work, work and reward my ambitious efforts with one delicious glass of Malbec. I know. One glass? You’ve come a long way since Ann Arbor, Stacy. But this is something that running can do to you. After all, drinking half a bottle of wine doesn’t exactly give you the motivation to peel yourself off the mattress (though that doesn’t mean I haven’t done it a billion times before).

I’ve really come to enjoy my Thursday morning runs with company, even though it means setting the alarm for 30 minutes earlier than I usually would. Actually, I’ve come to enjoy them so much that I’ve given up a whole glass and a half of wine. (Hello, adulthood, nice to meet you too.)

The elements were against me before Thursday morning’s run even began. My back was still in quite a bit of pain from running with boots and a down jacket stuffed in a small backpack for 4 miles (lesson learned: wear moccasins to work on night run days). I had an uncomfortable welt on the inside of my lip (bad habit: I chew the inside of my cheek in times of stress). And my outfit was so colorful that I looked as though I got blasted with a game of SpinArt (it’s laundry day).

That’s the great thing about running though: whether good or bad, by the end of it, you’ve somewhat reset yourself on a mental level. So long, frustrations. Hello, blank canvas.

Just as I have for the past 3 weeks, Thursday’s run was done in tandem with a fellow runner who happens to conveniently live just a hop, skip and a sprint (I was behind schedule this morning) away. We met at our usual spot around 7am before heading uptown, weaving our way through the streets of midtown until we hit the bottom entrance of Central Park, right around 59th and 5th, where the awkward tire sculpture resides.

I was really grateful to get in a solid 5 mile run today, and I think having someone to do it with helped to get me out of my recent funk. If you remember, over the weekend, I was winded and slow; and Tuesday night left me achy and whatnot. Running with a partner on Thursday morning though, I found myself more focused on how absolutely beautiful it was outside for a February morning, chatting about this and that instead of letting my head get the best of me. In fact, for the first time, um, ever, I actually thought that a marathon might not be so out of the question. Maybe.

I’m not sure why the idea of a marathon scares the living bejesus out of me. I know that if I set my mind to it, I can definitely do it. I can crush it even. Smash that marathon to smithereens. But I also know that taking on such a time consuming task would take serious commitment, and during a period in my life when I can’t even commit to leaving the office in time to meet friends for drinks, I’m not so sure I can commit to serious training runs either. And that’s the last thing I want to do. Half-assing my first marathon is definitely not an option. I only go big.

I’m hoping that, for the first time in several weeks, I can squeeze in a long run on Saturday or Sunday. It’s my first full weekend in Manhattan in a while, and I’m kind of excited to take full advantage of the paths I’ve missed over the last month, especially on these warm winter days.ย 

I’m not so much concerned with speed or time in particular; I just want to go out there and have fun, and to enjoy a few moments in the running arena I love so much.

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