As most runners can probably tell you, discomfort is simply part of the game. If they don’t feel that way, I’d love to know their secret sauce.
(This is the face of discomfort, if you couldn’t tell.)
That’s not to say that running is supposed to be uncomfortable; there are merely, naturally, uncomfortable situations. The cold, biting weather falls under that umbrella. So do runs number 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 in a row during any given week.
Fridays run brought just that: discomfort.
By the time I got out the door that morning, it had been only an hour or two since the snow/rain/sleet had stopped falling in New York City. For those of you that forgot about the bad weather or don’t have the privilege of living on the east coast, we were pretty much slammed with snow and freezing rain from around midnight on Wednesday, and it didn’t stop until 6 am on Friday morning.
While the weather was able to keep me indoors on both Wednesday and Thursday — obviously because I wasn’t about to run during a storm — by Friday, I was desperate to be surrounded by fresh air; to feel my body cruising along the streets of Manhattan; to feel the sense of self-satisfaction that only running, for me, can provide.
So off I went into the slushy streets, supposedly ready for what was in store.
All it took was three blocks before though before I began telling myself to turn this bus around. Among the elements that had me considering the big DNF:
- Slushy corners meant that I spent nearly all morning wading in deep pools of freezing water, or at least about every 20 ft. or so.
- Residual snow falling from building awnings had me thinking, what if an icicle is up there, just waiting to slice open my face?
- Car splatter. Cars, taxis and trucks specifically, really have no regard for the people who are compromised by their tire spray.
- Ice patches were everywhere, so every few blocks, I’d have to stop and walk. Caution is so important when running after a snow storm. Without it, I’d even go as far to say don’t bother. Stay inside.
So yea, I wanted to quit during the entire front half of my post-storm adventure. A funny thing happened though on Friday morning’s run. Although I knew I wanted to quit — to turn around and just admit that I’d made a poor choice — I couldn’t actually get myself to stop. Every time I got to the next corner, I would tell myself: Just one more block. That’s it. I’ll turn around up ahead.
Before I knew it, I approached the 72nd Street entrance of Central Park, the untouched snow from within its bounds luring me past the threshold. Suddenly, I realized that I was running the lower loop, like any winter morning, like any spring morning, like any summer morning, like any fall morning. I was there, dealing with the discomfort of it all.
A smile crept onto my face. Of course, Central Park looked so different when blanketed in powdery white snow — a type of beauty that’s practically impossible to ignore.
By Saturday, I was craving something different. That’s when Noah and I got tricked into taking a hot yoga class at Studio 360 in Murray Hill (though, admittedly, it was more warm than hot — which in this cold winter air, and after weeks of cold snowy runs, was actually kind of nice).
Given the strength and determination that went into both Friday and Saturday’s workouts, I woke up on Sunday happy to call it a day — to give my body a rest. After all, what’s better than a lazy day on the couch?
As Noah and I sat watching TV in our apartment, contemplating what to do — mimosas? breakfast? nap?! — we made a rare and adult decision. Rather than laze around the apartment, we’d set off on a short — but better than nothing — type of run. So much for our attempt to sit still.
Sunday’s excursion took us from our apartment in Murray Hill along the East River heading north. We kept our run short and sweet, just as we had planned, and turned around just as we hit 90th street. We then ended up at Agata and Valentina — a short, family-owned Italian Market on the Upper East Side with killer ravioli — to pick up fresh ingredients for the week. From there, we treated ourselves to a cab back home, where our couch was awaiting patiently.
Sunday’s run was particularly cold, and while the temperature was definitely warmer than it has been recently, the wind was particularly harsh. Within just a few blocks, my fingers had frozen to the bone. It wasn’t long before it crossed my mind. We’ve made a huge mistake. Should’ve just kept put on the couch.
Also unsurprising as the bone-chilling air is how accomplished I felt once the run was over. We easily could have declared Sunday a “rest day” and enjoyed hours upon hours on the couch. Even now, I wouldn’t have regretted it. Sometimes, relaxation is as necessary as an hour-long session of sweat.
But as with most runs, most workouts, most uncomfortable moments in life, you deal with it, and before you know it, it’s over. It’s during those moments that I’m taken back to the mantra in Eat and Run, Scott Jurek’s acclaimed memoir.
Sometimes, you just do things.