What Makes This Run Different From All Other Runs?

3 days, 3 great runs. That’s how the story went on Friday (6 miles), Saturday (7 miles) and Sunday (8 miles).

After a night out on the town, Friday’s run was surprisingly glorious – and longer than expected. 6 miles down, and I was ready to get my matzoh on at my parent’s house.

My Long Island runs are very much hit or miss. For one, I’m usually alone and forget my headphones, leaving me to run without music in the silence of the suburbs.

So when my cousin and recent running buddy joined me on Long Island (we were both home in our respective parents’ houses for the Passover festivities), and asked me to run, I was all for it. I’m never all that inclined to run too far in the suburbs since there isn’t much to keep me occupied, but with my cousin’s company, I knew I’d be able to build upon my standard 5-mile loop.

On Saturday morning, after a solid 10 hours of interruption-free sleep (somehow, from the 11th floor of my building, the traffic still sounds like it’s about 3-feet from my bed), I woke up with a huge grin on my face. I was seriously excited to gear up and get out there, and because it was Saturday, I took the opportunity to eat a small but substantial breakfast in order to fuel my body for a nice extended run: homemade French toast for Noah and oatmeal with maple syrup and a side of fruit for me. Soon after, Noah started blasting this awesome Madeon remix of Martin Solveig’s The Night Out, and we were ready to get our run on.

My cousin, DAM, and I established a meeting point between our respective houses. Noah agreed to run with me to meet her just about 1.5 miles from my house. Once we met, Noah broke off from us so that he could pick up his speed while DAM and I set out at a slow – okay, a very slow – and steady pace.

I’d offer a map to describe our route turn by turn, street by street, but unless you grew up in my hometown, it probably won’t mean much, so I’ll just sum it up. All in all, we squeezed out a little more than 7 miles (though DAM went on to run 2 or 3 more for an all-star total of between 9 and 10).

What made Saturday’s run different from all other runs? Well, besides making a stopover at grandma and grandpa’s house (the suburban version of a “water station”), not much, actually, except that, instead of weaving in and out of commuters and tourists, we made our way past an abundance of observant Jews walking to temple. I’m not so sure they approved of what we were doing, but no matter. Beyond my bat mitzvah, I don’t really partake in any religious traditions unless it involves a fork and knife.

I ended the morning at my family’s chocolate store, saying a quick hello to my dad (and grabbing a dark chocolate covered almond or 20), before going back to my parent’s house to shower and hang on the couch. After Passover dinner, I went back to the city, where I planned to go out with friends. Reality: Noah and I walked into our apartment, poured a glass of wine, sat on the couch, and didn’t get up. Instead, we rented the strangest movie of all time, Drive, through which we discovered the best new running song during the opening credits: Nightcall by Kavinsky. We passed out by 11.

Do the math people; that’s another 9+ hour night of sleep. Naturally, when Noah and I woke up on sunny Sunday morning, we were itching to get outside again.

It really must be Passover, because Sunday was definitely different from all other days. Noah actually agreed to run with me despite the fact that I’m significantly slower than he is.

I had been wanting to hit up the West Side Highway above 40th Street for quite some time now, but my affinities for Central Park typically lure me away from any new adventures. With no particular plans, Sunday seemed like the perfect day to cover new territory. My only requirement was that Noah had to promise he’d start the run slowly, enabling me to find a comfortable pace without getting winded early on.

Because I ordinarily run straight to Central Park, I always forget how long it takes to run from the East to the West side of Manhattan. Then again, it’s a little incredible that it’s even possible to get across the entire city by foot in under 20 minutes.

The official report: Despite the aggressive wind, I loved the Upper West Side run – almost as much as I do the lower segment of the path. We made our way past The Intrepid and giant cruise ships, staring at awesome fighter jets and families getting ready to go on vacation. Eventually, we hit the part of the path where, as Noah promised, it got especially beautiful. Maybe it was the weather, but it really did.

I guess I hadn’t realized that it wasn’t all that necessary to run very far north in order to catch amazing views of the George Washington Bridge. It may have been far in the distance, but it was nevertheless great eye candy for about a mile and a half.

Something I also enjoyed about this route was that many of the paths were made of wood. While concrete can be tough on the knees, and I have trouble finding my bearings on dirt paths, the boardwalks offered a really nice middle ground that I hadn’t experienced before. Perhaps I need to incorporate wooden pathways into my routes more often, though I’m not that familiar with too many others in Manhattan.

The views were phenomenal from start to finish – like a true New York morning. At one point near Riverside Park, we veered left onto a pier – something I always do when running on the water – after which we continued north for another half-mile or so before crossing over the highway and making our way to Central Park.

The plan for the final leg of our 8-mile run was to cut through Central Park on the way home. In the future, if and when I have to plan a longer run, I’m definitely incorporating the West Side pathways into my route before or after a lap around Central Park. On Sunday, however, whatever distance we had covered up until that point of the morning was more than enough, and so we weaved through the park’s dirt paths…

…ended up back on the main loop…

…and finished our run at the Starbucks near our apartment with two thirst-quenching green iced teas.

We then followed that up at brunch, ordering mint lemonade slushies laced with prosecco.

Yes, this weekend was incredibly relaxing, healthy (day drinking is healthy, right?) and refreshing – a much needed feeling of relief after a few mind-numbing weeks. But that’s the easy part – running often does fill me with a renewed sense of calm. The challenge, of course, will be to make it last. Bring it, real life.

Here’s to a happy, healthy week of work, running, and hopefully a happy hour or 3.


3 thoughts on “What Makes This Run Different From All Other Runs?

  1. I’ve been reading your blog for a little while and I just wanted to thank you. I’m a newbie runner and I so admire your enthusiasm for your running. It’s something I’m working hard on since I’m still working on making running a part of my life. So thanks for your blog. You inspire me.

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