Friday: Run 1 out of 3
Tank top. Long sleeve shirt. Hoodie (with said hood wrapped tightly over my head). Purple fleece leggings, not removed from my wardrobe since the snowy Manhattan Half Marathon of last year (which, coincidentally, was this weekend). If I didn’t know any better, I’d say I looked like a wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube man.
Last week, Manhattan was a tundra. But by Friday, I had accepted that four days of strength training indoors from a yoga mat in front of The Today Show was getting old. And so I sucked it up, enrobed my body in layers of gear, and convinced myself that it was somehow a good idea to run.
It was far too cold for exposed skin, and so because I had misplaced my earbuds which fit comfortably into my 180s, I instead wore a basic headband and abandoned any hopes of listening to music. New York City was just 16 degrees. Pretending to be intelligent, I made an attainable goal of just three miles (up to the bottom of Central Park and home; no more, no less). With that, I got my frightened butt out the door, hands tucked neatly into my sleeves.
The blast of frigid air that struck me upon opening the apartment door was actually kind of jarring. No matter how much you prepare yourself for these moments, it’s hard to actually imagine your skin instantly turning to ice — which, I assure you, it most certainly did.
I wouldn’t describe the first mile-and-a-half up to the park as pleasant, exactly, but — as is often the case with particularly cold winter runs — it was doable. I managed. And by the time I hit the half-way point for the morning, my body was beginning to cooperate. My fingers and toes were still numb, but at least the rest of my body was beginning to heat up.
I felt more or less satisfied (re: like a badass) for even attempting to log a few miles on Friday — even if, to the touch, it seemed as though someone had stuck me in a freezer overnight. As always, Friday morning runs make the start of the weekend that much better; bring on the wine, bring on the cheese, bring on the food and sleep.
Saturday: Run 2 out of 3
On Saturday morning, after guzzling approximately one bottle of Pinot Noir by myself over the course of the previous evening (while playing Bananagrams at that!)…
…I woke up feeling surprisingly energetic and, even more surprisingly, like I wanted to run.
My only apprehension on Saturday morning, aside from the sub 20-degree temperature, was the residual snowfall from Friday night, which according to my runtastic Twitter feed had ostensibly turned to ice. I’m not the most balanced of human beings, but decided that it’d be worth it in the end; I’d just have to look down for the duration of my run and beware of any lingering slippery patches and swaths of inconspicuous black ice.
(Look out below: treacherous pathways abound!)
Tank top. Long sleeve shirt. Hooded fleece (hood wrapped tightly over my head). Purple fleece leggings, which I grabbed straight from the laundry bin (and damn proud of it). Ski socks. Yep, I was ready for round two, and I’d be damned it my toes froze again. Hey — running isn’t glamorous.
Case in point: Ugly Race Pics.
Saturday’s run was sooooo much better than Friday’s. A few reasons:
1. I wasn’t hungover. But my best runs do tend to happen after drinking more than I should have the night before. Explanation still pending.
2. I didn’t bring my phone. I somewhat regretted this while running around the lower loop of Central Park, since the photos would have made for great blogging material. But it’s tough to hold anything under such cold circumstances, and I figured it was more important to be able to ball up my fingers for warmth than to show evidence of my excursion. Snow melting all around me, Central Park was beautiful, and so you’ll just have to take my word. As for me, I made sure to click, and take a mental picture.
3. No music. The only song I listened to was the blissful sound of silence — and I don’t mean Simon and Garfunkel’s version. Well, it was at least relatively silent. This is New York City, after all. I used my quiet time to contemplate things of unimportance, like what I want to do with the rest of my life and, of course, what should I eat when I get home?
By the time I got to Central Park, the roads had been substantially salted, and so I was unafraid of slipping on ice. Just as I realized this, a salt truck went by me as though I were just another car parked on the side of the road and literally pelted me with high quality NaCl. It was just what I needed while sweating out last night’s bottle of red.
I have to say, in spite of the conditions and excess layers of clothing, I felt pretty great over the course of that five-mile run. The distance, while not anything to write home about, has been somewhat of a challenge lately as I’ve struggled to get out of bed before work, and it felt liberating to get to choose where I wanted to go and when.
But as all weekends go, this one came to an end as well. There were “banana split” breakfasts (made with a split banana (duh), fruit, granola and dried cranberries)…
…there was wine…
…there were homemade cookies (straight out of the package, but whatever)…
(See that white splotch? That’s a cookies ‘n’ cream Hershey kiss. Melted right on top, for the win.)
…and there was so, so, so much sleep. Like, OMG I haven’t felt this rested in more than a week.
You know what else there was? Wait for it.
Sunday: Run 3 out of 3
On Sunday, I finally ran more than five miles! Ok, so it was just six or so. But it was holy toledo more than five miles!
Since I’ve been a bit of a wimp lately, I enlisted the help of my cousin’s company, as her conversations can get me through approximately ten million miles (approximately). We met at the 72nd Street entrance, me clad in as many layers as the previous days, including the same purple fleece leggings (don’t judge) and the addition of my Michigan gear (go blue!).
The morning took us around the reservoir — a personal favorite. It was beautiful and icy…
…and filled with great chatter.
Six miles later, we ended at the grocery store, where I stocked up on a healthy veggies for the week from Agata and Valentina. Immediately, upon stopping, I could feel it in my legs, as my muscles began to tighten up — and fast! Man, did that feel good. It felt so, so, so, so good.
So there you have it. Three days, a few runs, and all of a sudden, January is coming to an end. It’s been a hectic, confusing, challenging, frustrating and overall crazy month. As long as I know that, then I still have the ability to run it all out, and I can at least look forward to what’s to come — no matter the temperature.
Your turn! How was your weekend? Did you brave the weather and run, or play the wimp card and keep it indoors? What was the best thing you ate and drank? Long run? Short run? Go!