One of the best parts of this weekend was coming home on Sunday after spending a night on Long Island, folding laundry, and discovering this.
Man, I guess I’ve been running a lot lately.
It’s funny, because this winter I struggled more than ever to get my butt out the door and into the cold for a daily morning run. That’s not to say I didn’t. I just allowed myself to wimp out more times than I otherwise would. The me of winter 2012 was way more badass.
I think this “I can’t” or “screw it” mentality has stuck with me emotionally, even if I’ve actually been logging 3-5 mile runs between 4 and 6 (sometimes even 7) days a week. But it wasn’t until Sunday night, when the pile of swishy shorts and pit-stained t-shirts (yea, I said it) kept growing and growing until I truly realized how active I’ve been. And I can’t help but feel really good about that.
As I often do, I kicked the weekend off with a bang: a 5-mile lap around the lower loop of Central Park on Friday morning that left me feeling oh so good. While muggy, Friday’s run was relatively cool. It had rained buckets only the night before, and New York was enjoying a brief wave of post-derecho cool.
The result was unquestionably beautiful, enabling me to focus on simply enjoying the moment I was in. It wasn’t a fast run. And the lingering drizzle was slightly annoying at some points. But, for the most part, I felt calm and at ease as the miles went on, and by the time I hit the home-stretch down 5th Ave., my legs had found an even pace that carried me almost without thinking the rest of the way home.
Then came Friday night, when, perhaps consciously, I ruined all that hard work and fitness fun with an aggressive night on the town.
Manhattan. She’ll do that to you sometimes.
From the moment I opened my eyes on Saturday morning, I knew that a run was out of the question. As someone who looks forward to the weekends just for that reason — for the ability to take leisurely runs that end in mysterious new places, like over the Brooklyn Bridge or a donut shop downtown — it is a terrible feeling to know that you’ve killed the day (along with some brain cells) by merely not practicing moderation and having absolutely zero self-control. But that’s just life. You live and you learn, and sometimes, it takes a head-splitting hangover to do so.
Fortunately, on Saturday afternoon Noah and I took the train out to Long Island, where my mom had lured us back with a worthy offer: lobster.
(This is actually from Sunday’s lunch. Not wanting to waste any of Saturday night’s leftovers, I added small chunks of lobster meat to a bit of remaining rice with sauteed peas, mushrooms and tzatiki sauce. Turned out to be a great combination and way to refuel after a run.)
To be honest, I wasn’t all that upset about skipping out on breaking a sweat Saturday. Lately, I’ve been really trying to incorporate true rest days into my schedule to reinvigorate myself — body and mind — during the other 6 days of the week. Typically, my rest days just naturally fall on Sundays, when I swap my daily morning run to instead run around the city doing errands and preparing for the week. This week, my rest day was the result of poor choices.
Although I wouldn’t exercise in any real sense of the word on Saturday, I did manage to crawl out of that deep, dark hole of a hangover and enjoy the great outdoors. When my dad asked if Noah and I wanted to go fishing, my immediate thought was holy motion sickness, that sounds like the worst idea ever. It didn’t take much coaxing though, and within 15 minutes we were heading down to the dock. After 24 hours of bad decisions, I finally did something right.
It was absolutely breathtaking out on the water, and the sun really helped bring me back to life.
Lucky for me, it was a relatively calm and flat day on the bay…
…and yes, the fish were biting.
I caught fish too.
After going to bed early on Saturday and sleeping off the remnants of Friday, I awoke on Sunday feeling like a totally new person. A new person craving a cheesy egg scramble and a Sunday morning run.
There’s something about Sunday runs that feels more laid back than usual. Maybe it’s the inclination to wake up slowly, make coffee, fry up bacon (for Noah) and read the morning paper. Or maybe, this weekend, it was opening my eyes to the silence of the suburbs. With no cars honking or crazies screaming beneath my window, I almost don’t know what to do.
Running in the suburbs offered a really nice change of pace — and, naturally, scenery. My only complaint would be that the concrete sidewalks are tougher on the knees and shins, and so while it was fine for a 5-miler, I wouldn’t want to run it every day.
It was hard not to reminisce while out there about where I was as a runner only 4 short years ago. On Sunday, Noah and I ran the loop that marked the start of every morning when I first moved back home from college. And things were just so different then. Besides the fact that I was living with my parents, Noah was living in D.C. I hadn’t run a half-marathon. Heck, I hadn’t run more than 6 miles. Ever.
It’s amazing how easy it is to forget — or at least overlook — the progress we’ve made and how far we’ve come. It’s equally amazing though how quickly it all comes back and how it can be triggered by a basic Sunday morning run.
Here’s to a week of healthy choices and limited alcohol. How will you make it count?