The Having Had Run

As we churn through winter, enduring chill and gloom, no one will fault you for using the cold and darkness as an excuse not to get out there on the streets for a workout. Just this week, when my watch alarm vibrated me awake at 5:45am, I had a headful of rationalizations about how it would be all right to skip a session that morning and sleep in. But I dug deep and buried those voices, and then dragged myself out of bed.

Thirty minutes later I was running circles around McCarren Park track with the North Brooklyn Runners regular Thursday morning track crew. Yes, it was dark. Yes, I was very snotty and a bit overheated (having not paid a lick of attention to the advice from the Runners World what-to-wear calculator). Yes, I was feeling a certain level of discomfort on the second lap of the third 1000 at 5K pace.

But I was also sharing the moment with a pal who is both hella funny and a bit faster than me and that kept me from having any time or headspace to feel sorry for myself and slow down. (That’s one of the big advantages of finding a group to work out with; you’ll almost always discover yourself falling into step with someone else running at just the right pace to keep you honest.)

Last Sunday, as the storm swept in, getting out the door for a run was kind of the opposite situation. I had to stop myself several times from donning my togs and heading out, because I knew that running in extreme weather is one of my all-time favorite things, and I wanted to let the weather get as hairy as possible. Often when a storm hits I will go up on the Williamsburg Bridge to be that much close to all the action in the clouds. I finally unleashed myself into the wintry mix at what seemed from my window to be when things were looking their awfulest—and had a great outing, slip-sliding my way across the icy surface of the bridge and back, exchanging hoots and hand slaps with the three or four other runners who were also enjoying the action. But with both outings, as different as they were, the end result was the same: the run itself was not only more rewarding and a bit different than I expected, but the happily worn out and jazzed up feeling coming home after having had run made all the craziness all the more worthwhile . . .