Not long ago, after finishing up my first sweaty spin class, I ran into @RxBethOnTheRun (aka Once in a Mile) and she suggested that we go for a run — if I could wake up early enough to accommodate her schedule. I typically run from 7-8, whereas she prefers a 6:45-7:45 run — not enough of a difference to warrant an excuse. I told her I was totally in.
A few weeks later, we had scheduled our first joint run — over the Queensboro Bridge, no less — and naturally, it turned out to be one of the hottest, sweatiest, nastiest weeks of the season so far. Literally, I walk around with my arms out so that no part of my skin touches another. It’s just that gross outside.
The day before our run date, I received the following text: “Sooo in this kind of weather the QB will likely crush my soul, but I’m still game to run it tomorrow if you are??”
My response? “We’re gonna be so sweaty but I’m totally in. This type of weather warrants motivation.”
Looks like Tuesday’s run was a go.
While, come Tuesday morning, @RxBethOnTheRun and I wound up skipping out on the Queensboro Bridge, we did manage to meet up and run nevertheless. Our route of choice: Central Park. Lower loop. Familiar and far more feasible on a morning when the temperature reads above 70 before the sun peaks above the buildings on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Upon leaving my apartment, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that, while perhaps hotter than Monday’s very sweaty run, the air was so much less humid. This makes a huge difference not only in how much I shvitz but also in how my joints and muscles feel from start to finish. When muggy, I tend to struggle to wake up my body — especially in the morning before I’m properly hydrated or nourished.
Thanks to the slight change in weather, the run up to Central Park was a lot easier than Monday’s. Plus, on top of the improved temperature, there was significantly less foot traffic too, since I left my apartment 15 minutes earlier than I normally would. It’s amazing what a difference that small chunk of time can make during an early morning commute.
The mile-long run to the 59th Street entrance on 5th Avenue flew by as I jammed out to a few of my favorite new tunes of right now. By the time I entered the park and met Beth at the 72nd Street transverse, my body was awake, and I was ready to run.
That’s where things got weird. It’s funny, because when you first start running with someone — especially someone you’ve never run with before — you obviously try to figure out their preferences right off the bat. Are they a talker? What’s their ideal pace? Beth and I had worked out a couple times before Tuesday, tackling TRX and spinning. But running? For us, this was a first.
Of course, given @RxBethOnTheRun‘s track record, what with so many half marathons and an upcoming marathon under her belt, I expected her to crush my speed — and right away, I thought to myself, holy crap, how will I manage to keep up with the pace and the conversation at the same time?
It wasn’t until we made almost one complete lap around the lower loop of Central Park, both of us panting but keeping the conversation going, that we stopped to take a break, realizing that neither of us had intended to maintain such a lofty stride. In a moment of “no you were running too fast / no you were running to fast!” banter, it hit me. Not only had running with a friend on Tuesday helped the morning to race by in a flash, but both of us managed to push ourselves physically without much effort or consideration (unless you count the post-push almost-heave, but I’ll spare you the details of that).
For those of you following along, you’d know that I’ve been making a serious effort over the last few weeks to diversify my daily routes and workouts, whether that means hitting up the High Line, the East River, or the local yoga studio for a stretchy morning flow. Tuesday’s run, which was supposed to take us across the Queensboro Bridge and home, may have forced me to rebel against my personal promise, but thanks to a good conversation and great company, I’d say it was very much worth the slip.
And the result was very sweaty.
In other news, Noah threatened to take away my fiance massage privileges if I don’t start foam rolling my legs more often. Something about, I shouldn’t flinch when he grazes over the IT band with no pressure at all. I obviously haven’t listened though and have focused on getting glittery manicures instead.
After two consecutive runs in Central Park, I was pumped to wake up on Wednesday morning with the prospect of a High Line run. On tired legs, I braved the hot and sticky morning, making it all worth it just to spend a bit of time among this.
I think there really must be something to this whole variety thing. Without jinxing myself or jumping the gun, I’d say I’m starting to like this little thing called running again.