Spring running. I think I speak for all of us when I say, it’s time to let out a collective sigh of relief. Ahhh.
There, that’s better, isn’t it?
This weekend was absolutely incredible for any runner on the East Coast. How did I kick off the season? Well, for one, I picked up these sick pair of Oakley shades to sport on especially sunny excursions.
Thank you to the kind Oakley employee who helped me customize these sunglasses to have a matte frame and fire lenses. You tolerated my insanity well.
Anyway, this weekend was about accomplishment, and I’m not just talking about Michigan’s big win over Syracuse on Saturday (go blue!).
On Saturday, I woke up with the itch — the desire to cover new territory. I haven’t felt that way in months, not since the last time the sun made it pleasant to be outdoors.
I’ve been incredibly careful these days about my shin, and so I knew I’d have to limit myself to 5 miles on Saturday morning. Typically, this wouldn’t be a problem. But when you want to explore a new route, it’s nearly impossible to do so without logging higher mileage than you otherwise would.
The solution: Noah and I mapped out a run that would take us over the Williamsburg Bridge and into Brooklyn. From there, we would walk around, soak in the spring air, and enjoy the swarms of hipsters emerging from hibernation.
I’d been wanting to run one of the lower Manhattan bridges for quite some time now. I’ve run Queensboro more than I can count on one hand; it’s proximity to my apartment makes it an easy morning decision when I’m looking to log just about 6.
Of course, the Brooklyn Bridge would have been ideal. I have an entire season to get me up and over the iconic structure though, so there’s no need to push my body physically just yet. It is, after all, significantly farther downtown.
The East River was amazing on Saturday morning — cold, but with a warm, delicious sun. With the start of spring, there were more runners lining the pathway along the East River than I’ve seen in so long.
I felt generally strong as we made our way down south although, admittedly, it was a slow, slow run. It had to be though. I’ve been running a ton lately — much more frequently than I’ve allowed myself to since my last injury, and there are still numerous little overuse issues I’m totally scared to reignite.
Like piriformis syndrome.
My hip and glutes have definitely been an issue lately, but I’ve been making a real effort to nip each flare up in the bud (butt?) before allowing it to take over. Yoga poses and mid-run stretches are some of the ways I’ve been paying extra attention to my body. (If you’re someone with piriformis syndrome or tight IT bands, stay tuned for tomorrow, when I outline my three favorite positions for targeting the areas when on the go.)
By the time we hit the entrance to the Williamsburg Bridge (which requires that you head away from the river and toward the Lower East Side), I was beyond excited to conquer this new terrain. The incline wasn’t too bad at all either — both steady and gradual, challenging yet approachable.
A few of the factors I loved about the Wiliamsburg Bridge run:
- Space. Unlike the Queensboro Bridge, Williamsburg offers wide pathways and beautiful views.
- Separation. The pathways split for bikers and pedestrians, eliminating the need to dodge moving objects.
- Geography. The entrance into Williamsburg is far nicer than that into Queens. That’s just a simple fact. Sorry my Queens-dwelling friends.
Once we crossed the threshold into the hipster command center, it was just a few more blocks until we heard Noah’s phone chime in. We had covered 5 miles — just like that! — and so, given my personal promise, we called it quits shortly after.
Coincidentally, we happen to be just around the corner from Smorgasbord, a parking lot full of local food vendors that’s teeming with OMG-so-delicious eats (including this amazingly nostalgic artisanal homemade three-berry Pop Tart. I repeat, a homemade three-berry Pop Tart.
Anywho, the rest of the weekend was more of the same. I filled my days with healthy salads (as part of my spring shape-up)…
…and too much beer (sorry spring, I had a Michigan game to watch!).
Hope your weekends were as sunny and run-filled as mine! Stay tuned this week for mid-run stretches for piriformis sufferers and two awesome recipes I tried out as part of my attempt to wind down on Sunday.
- What’s your favorite spring workout accessory? Do you wear sunglasses while running?
- Are you a fan of running over bridges?