The best runs — the best workouts, for that matter — are often the ones that surprise us. Wednesday’s run was just that — a lovely, much needed surprise that left me smiling all day long.
On Wednesday morning, I was thrown slightly out of my routine. You see, living just 6 blocks from the office, I haven’t had to commute to work in over a year now. For me, that means I get to run any time between 7 and 8 in the morning, leaving me with plenty of room to shower, blow dry my hair (if I’m not feeling lazy; rare) and get to my desk with a few minutes to spare.
My company, PHD, offers a wonderful annual initiative called Big Hug in which employees are grouped off into teams and given the opportunity to spend a half- or full-day volunteering in some capacity around the city and in the outer boroughs. Last year, I helped to spruce up the East River by mulching and weeding (it’s as unglamorous as it sounds). This year though, my team took a different approach, opting to assist four-year-old kids in Bed-Stuy as they filled out their ABC scrap books. It was an incredible morning, and ultimately made me really think twice about how I search for fulfillment and how I spend my days.
At any rate, we had to be out in Brooklyn by 8:45 the latest, which meant I needed to actually be out my apartment door by 8am — some days, that’s 10-15 minutes before I’m even done with my run.
My alarm went off at 6:27 on Wednesday morning. I had mentally prepared myself the night before for an earlier-than-usual workout by insisting that I wouldn’t press snooze. Still, I was doubtful that I would actually pop out of bed with as much pep and cheer as I had hoped and imagined.
Fortunately, 3 glasses of wine on Tuesday night somehow had the opposite effect as it should have. Rather than hungover, I woke up with more energy than I would on 10 hours of sleep and a dinner of tea and salad. Go figure.
Even though I was ready to run at 6:45, realistically, I knew I didn’t have more than 45 minutes to run, unless I really wanted to rush to get ready afterward. Because of that, I avoided Central Park — or even running in the direction of my morning home away from home — altogether. I didn’t want to tempt myself. At this point, I simply know better.
Instead, I headed south with a goal of running to Gramercy Park, east to Union Square, potentially further south to Washington Square Park depending on timing, and back up to my apartment through Flatiron and Madison Square Park. That route would have taken me between 3 and 4 miles; perfectly acceptable for an abridged morning run.
Then, I saw this sunrise teasing me from the distance.
And so, I ran toward the beautiful sunrise.
When I got to the river, I couldn’t help but stop, take some photos, breathe in the morning air, and enjoy the moment.
After several minutes of staring into the distance in total awe, I got running again — but not without stopping every few hundred feet or so to reflect in the reflecting sun.
By the time my run was over, I had probably run no more than 3 miles. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but then again, you can’t plan for some moments in life. Sometimes, you just have to appreciate what you’re given at any moment. This just happened to be one of them.