The Gloves Are Coming Off

No, literally. I mean it. I removed my gloves on both Saturday and Sunday’s runs, and it was glorious.

Running throughout the polar vortex was, well, nearly impossible. I managed to sneak a few in here and there on mornings when the temperature spiked (I use that term lightly) to above 20 degrees (and that’s with the without the wind chill). But for the most part, the last few weeks have been filled with yoga and living room workouts, as I’ve confined myself to the great indoors. Cabin fever was imminent.

You can imagine what a relief it was on Friday when, for the first time in days, I was able to wake up and run as I usually would before work. See, you have to understand — it’s much more than a workout; it’s completely ingrained into my routine. When I don’t run, I’m mean.

But then, it happened. Unlike the rest of January, during which I found myself able to run one morning before then the temperature dropped, once again, to freezemybunsoff cold, the thermometer stuck. Not only that, but it was — dare I say — warm?! 40 degrees and sunny in early February; I practically considered wearing a bikini. But then I decided, no Stacy, New Yorkers don’t need to see that. Best just wear a light jacket and get on with your morning run instead.

Better than a bikini, midway through both weekend morning runs, the gloves came off. Literally. I know it seems dumb and menial, but the feeling of fresh air on your finger tips as the wind rushes past you is something you quickly realize that we take for granted. It opens the senses, even if you didn’t know how suffocated your hands were before.

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Saturday’s run took me to Central Park. Around 10am, I met my cousin at the Apple store on 5th Avenue, and from there we wove in and out of the southern pathways before heading up Cat Hill, along the reservoir, and up to around 102nd Street (not gonna lie; I didn’t mean to run that far north).

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While the path along the reservoir was almost clear enough to run, it was still partially icy. Good for one runner. Bad for two people running side-by-side. Still, I was pretty happy to have checked out the gorgeous views and frozen waters before making our way back to the asphalt.

By the time we got near the top of the park, my hip was starting to bother me. I took it as a sign that my body was done for the day, and instead of going all the way back home, I ended my morning at the Fairway on the Upper East Side, where I stocked up on fresh veggies and food for the week.

Run? Check. Groceries? Check. Two birds, one stone? Awesome. Oh, how I love efficiency.

On Sunday, I switched it up. I woke up super early and couldn’t go back to sleep, so after FaceTiming with my nephew…

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…I got dressed and left my apartment, leaving a jet lagged Noah fast asleep in bed.

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Sunday’s run took me in the complete opposite direction so I could spend my morning on The High Line and West Side Highway.

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It was quiet. And warm. And sunny. And tranquil – words that you can not often use to describe Manhattan, so when you can, it feels like a privilege — a secret that no one else knows about. On Sunday, I — along with all my fellow runners on the Hudson — were the keepers of that knowledge.

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On top of two nice, uncrushed weekend runs, I also made an effort to cook myself a healthy dinner on Saturday rather than indulging in restaurant food. Since Noah was gone all week, I had made plans practically every day to keep myself occupied which, as we all know, means reservations and takeout — not many home cooked meals.

The goal was to keep it light. Blanched green beans.

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Radicchio, tomato, avocado and heart of palm salad.

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Multigrain bread (assuming you know what this looks like).

Jumbo shrimp sauteed in white wine, salt, pepper, thyme, garlic powder, a tiny bit of olive oil, fresh basil and leftover pesto. Typically, I’d add butter, but the point of Saturday was to cook a simple, heart-healthy meal. Butter, begone.

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When put together, it was actually kind of pretty.

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Of course, while nutrition was on the mind, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t end my meal with something sweet. That’s where Noah comes into the picture. He brought back three different duty-free sized boxes of KitKats from his trip to Japan (bless his soul).

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On the dessert menu was strawberry, wasabi or green tea KitKats. Obviously, I chose to turn that “or” into “and” and to taste test all three.

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My wedding is just two months away now, and so I’m definitely trying to be mindful of good, real ingredients and daily workouts. But I also need to be realistic. A KitKat (or five) won’t kill me. Sugar, despite what my aesthetician told me the other day, is fine. Bread is a non-negotiable.

As with the rest of my life, whether wedding planning or half marathon training, it’s all about moderation. And when it comes to healthy mindsets — I’m pretty sure that’s as good as it gets.

Have you been enjoying the warmer temperatures? What’s are the first changes that you notice in your workouts as the winter melts away?

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