The Unforeseen Need for Speed

Hi from my dad’s chocolate store in 1989. Amazingly enough, if you go there today, it pretty much looks exactly the same.

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Flash forward, Sunday morning. (Saturday’s run was remarkably uneventful, after all.)

Brisk and sunny outside my bedroom windows. Warm and cozy beneath my sheets. As with the nature of my runs lately, I woke up slowly on Sunday morning, neither rushing to get out of bed nor racing to put on my running clothes. After a few episodes of Law & Order (reruns, obvi) and a breakfast of crunchy toasted flax wraps with low-fat veggie cream cheese (a worthy substitute for a morning bagel) and an iced skim chai, Noah sat down to study as I walked into the bedroom and picked out my finest most raggedy running gear. Hey, it’s not a catwalk out there. It’s Central Park.

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While I haven’t completely lost my going-out-mojo, I have been incredibly calmer and more grandma-like in recent months. On Saturday night, after going out to dinner with my parents on Long Island, Noah and I rode the train back into the city where we proceeded to pass out. But not before finishing the last thirty minutes of Contraband. Horrible movie. I still love Marky Mark.

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When I woke up on Sunday morning, I felt incredibly refreshed — that is, after shaking that feeling of boulder-like weight that was keeping me glued to the bed. In that vein, I couldn’t think of a better way to complement my morning than by making the conscious decision to run before picking up last-minute Christmas post-Chanukah gifts and treating myself to a mani/pedi. Seriously, these lazy days are something I could get used to.

Sunday’s run brought with it the unforeseen need for speed. For so long now, I had somewhat accepted the fact that I had slowed my pace significantly, most likely nearly back to where I began. In addition, my mileage has decreased, and while I haven’t sulked over this truth, I have nevertheless accepted that I’ve adapted a slightly more moderate approach to running since my last half marathon back in September.

Of course, much of this was calculated — the slump (and I use this term relatively; I’m still running three to five days a week, between three and five miles at a time) was the result of my need to heal after a recurring leg injury left me frustrated and desperate for health. Yet in times of ease, it becomes equally easy to accept status quo, especially when at least I’m running becomes integrated into a normal train of thought.

Still, I didn’t expect that Sunday would be any different than any of my excursions since the start of fall. Armed with a few new songs I’d been itching to load onto my iPhone…

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…I set out toward Central Park at a normal, warm-up pace, and then quickly found myself accelerating — and smiling while doing it, at that.

After three months of “slow and steady” thinking, there was no way I’d be able to sustain a swift pace for the entire five miles I intended to run; but to my content, I kept it up for about two-and-a-half miles or so, or halfway through the route. Mind you, these measurements are approximations; I obviously wasn’t wearing a watch.

Although speedier than usual — which I could tell by feel — I managed to maintain the go-with-the-flow attitude that’s allowed me to fall back in love with running again after a year of half marathon madness. A few speedy miles into the run, I stopped. I stretched. I enjoyed the sound of Ray LaMontagne blaring through my headphones and breathed in the (relatively clean) park air. Ah, Sunday mornings in Central Park.

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Making a quick stop on my way home…

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…I returned to my apartment refreshed and, more importantly, proud. Topping it all off, I ended my run at Grand Central Market, where I picked up a piece of fresh tuna and veggies for dinner that night.

I proceeded to spend the rest of the day wandering the city, getting the aforementioned manicure and pedicure, reading a — wait for it — book (a rare occurrence given my schedule, I both started and finished Truman Capote’s short story Summer Crossing), and cooking up this delicious, healthful, B12-rich meal.IMG_2907

For dessert? A homemade iced latte using rice milk, non-fat whipped cream, and extra cinnamon — perfect for dipping an Oreo into, which you can bet I did.

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As of today, I’m off to D.C. to spend Christmas with Noah’s family. Given their love of running, I’m sure I’ll be able to squeeze in a few quickies along the canal, where I’m also sure to be winded and cranky like I always am when running in D.C. I still haven’t figured out why.

Then, to North Carolina for New Years. As for the Outer Banks, I can’t tell you whether I’ll actually be able to run or not since I have no idea what the plans are for those few days. All I can tell you is that a pair of sneakers will definitely be coming along for the ride. A computer, on the other hand, will not.

Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and a wonderful New Year to everyone.

  • Do you ever head out with a slower pace in mind and find yourself speeding up naturally?
  • How were your weekends? What are you doing for the holidays? Family? Presents? Running with puppies? Spiked egg nog?
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2 thoughts on “The Unforeseen Need for Speed

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