Ah, another week means I’ve already started to crave another lovely weekend. Luckily, it’s a short week, so at least I have that to look forward to. Tomorrow is my Friday. Which makes today my Thursday. I’ll definitely cheers to that.
You’ve likely already read the title, and so I might as well cut to the chase. I spent Saturday slightly hungover and adamant not to run after spending Friday night with an old friend from out of town. Visitors should really come with a warning stamped on their foreheads. WILL DRINK ONE TOO MANY GLASSES OF WINE WHILE LAUGHING UNCONTROLLABLY AND CATCHING UP ON GOSSIP. At least I can say that the splitting headache was somewhat worth it. I got to catch up with my oldest friends.
But then Sunday morning came, and Noah and I woke up to a text from a mutual friend. He wanted to run. And he wanted to run far.
I wanted to fall back asleep, like, forever.
Now, I should take a moment here to preface the rest of the blog post with a concession. Sunday’s run was between 7 and 8 miles, which to many is hardly a warm-up. But, for those of you that are new here, and to the rest who probably forgot, from September until recently, I’ve made a conscious effort to avoid any run that was longer than 5 miles. Previous shin pain after 4 half marathons spooked me. I was frightened that I had fractured my shin, and too scared once it began to feel better (after months and months, at that) to revert to a place of pain. Since last fall, more than 6 miles seemed like a marathon.
The bright side of all of this is that I’ve felt generally good since taking a bit of time off — or at least scaling back in distance. Besides toe tendinitis, my body has felt solid. Even better, I haven’t been afraid to run.
Like I said, Sunday was the first time I surpassed the 7-mile mark in quite some time — and it felt freaking awesome. From our apartment in Murray Hill, Noah and I ran over to the East River and down toward 14th street, which is just around the place where the path thins out. That’s where we linked up with Tim and kept going from there.
I’ll admit that my original intention was to cut off the run at the bridge, turn around, and head back home. This would have been a total of 5.5 miles, which would definitely suffice.
We were feeling good though, and the weather was absolutely perfect. The sun was beating down, but the cool breeze along the water made the summer afternoon semi-tolerable. So when Tim suggested we march on, we did, continuing downtown toward the Manhattan Bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge, the South Street Seaport (where we stopped to buy a round of water) and the ferry. Man, I thought. Am I really doing this? Shut up brain. Just run.
The only downside to this awesome weekend run was the traffic incurred throughout. The East River tends to be bone dry compared to the west side of the city, mainly because it’s a lot less pretty and there are far more hooligans. Given how tough it was to weave through the tourists between the South Street Seaport and, well, most of the Hudson River, I’d take a less-groomed pathway any day. Anyway, the East River isn’t that bad. They’ve made a ton of improvements in recent years that make it pleasant to trot along for most of the run. Yes, there are still a few dirty, smelly parts. But that’s just inspiration to run faster, right? This is New York City, after all. No one lives here for the stench.
While the foot traffic around Battery Park City was definitely a doozy, it was nevertheless fun to change up the views. Lady Liberty is always a sight for sore eyes. I’ve been a New Yorker my entire life, but sometimes, I swear I forget that she lives in my backyard.
Another neighbor I didn’t know about? On Sunday, I learned that there’s a turkey who likes in Battery Park City named Zelda who wandered down from the Bronx and now resides among the residents of Manhattan. No really. I’m not kidding, and I didn’t just take a blogging break to slip myself some hallucinogenic drug. There’s a turkey. Her name is Zelda. She survived Sandy along with the rest of us. And I saw her.
If you don’t believe me, Wikipedia that fun fact.
(See that big ball of feathers? That’s Zelda.)
I have to say, for having not run more than 6 miles or so in months and months and months, I felt pretty solid for the duration of Sunday’s run — that, with a splitting headache from a weekend of too much fun.
And then, somewhere around mile 7, it happened: the dull, icky ache that typically signifies you’ve gone too far — or just far enough, if you’re able to listen to your body and stop right there. It was my knees, which is funny because I’ve never had a problem with that particular part of my body before. I wasn’t — and I’m not — too worried though. I’m 99% sure it was just the result of 7 miles on pavement. Whose knees wouldn’t start screaming after that?
After a brief walking break…
…because I had a destination in mind — Westville for lunch — that was about a mile away, I kept going. I did, however, take it down a notch, slowing my pace. I finished up the final mile, but I definitely did so in a highly conscious way.
And then, about an hour and 20 minutes later, I was done — almost as quickly as I started. I was hot. There was salt and sweat glued to my face and arms. And I was ready to shower and plop on the couch. So instead of eating at Westville, I ordered my usual (arugula and parmesan salad with a side of parmesan artichokes) along with a side of tofu (protein was needed, stat!) and hopped in a cab back home. No need to subject the nice people on the subway to what I imagine was not the best body odor.
The rest of the day was much of the same, except for one very notable thing — I felt happier and prouder than I had following a run in quite a while, and it wasn’t just because of the distance, rather I really went with what I was feeling and listened to myself. It was as intuitive as a run could get, which brought me a sense of euphoria that’s managed to linger all week long. Well, so far.
Here’s to the weekend. DC, I’m comin’ for you.
- What emotion do YOU feel after a long, SMART run?