Barack almost foiled my running plans last night
I did a pretty good speedy 7-miler last night, but as is the norm for me these days, I almost didn’t go.
On Wednesdays, if my schedule works and am able to leave work exactly at 5, I like to join a running group out of the Running Company’s east side (3rd Ave & 63rd St) store. I’ve run with them for almost a year, and it’s such a great, welcoming group, with runners at all levels. And over the year I’ve gotten to know the staff really well, and I feel like it’s walking into a store of great friends when I go there.
They leave at 6:30, and normally I have no problem getting there on time. However, this Wednesday was a little more exciting than normal. I had to take the cross-town 66th street bus from Lincoln Center, which I normally do, then get off at Madison and walk to the store. This evening, however, I had my head down on the bus, ripping apart my grad school personal statement, and didn’t notice we turned up on Central Park West instead of going through the park, and hit some major traffic. I look up, and saw that we were stuck somewhere in the low 70s, on CPW, with no prospects of moving soon. I ask the guy next to me 1st) If I was on the right bus (I was). Then I asked him where we were crossing through the park. He said 86th because asdfkljerafds was here, but I wasn’t paying attention to what he was saying. Ok. Wait who?? The President. Ohhhhhhh. That changes things. I’ve been stuck on the wrong side of Houston for 45 minutes before because of the Presidential motorcade, and knew that I would never get to RunCo on this bus. I got the driver to let me get off and started my trek across the park. I was at 72nd and CPW and had to get to 63rd and 3rd in about 20 minutes, with flip flops and a skirt on. Speed walking!
Now, in classic Betsy fashion, the first thought was “oh, this walk is enough, I don’t have to/don’t want to go running. I’ll just walk home.” This is pretty typical as of late. I’m very good at convincing myself that I don’t want to go running, and going home would be much better. But, as I was speedwalking through the park, I took note of the countless runners having great runs among the last blossoms of the trees, and tulips, and I wanted desperately to be out with them. The sight of everyone running along shook me out of my “running is horrible” mindset I had put myself in, and put me in the “running is waaay awesome” mindset I needed to be in. I sped up and got to RunCo at about 6:29. I got changed as fast as I could (and got walked in on in the dressing room…second time that’s happened there. Good thing I’m not easily embarrassed) and hit the road with lots of friends and familiar faces. At that moment, there was no where I wanted to be than running with friends through the park on a beautiful spring evening.
This group does three different routes, a 3, 5 and 7-miler all with various paces. I always try to stay with the 7 mile group, who start at 7:45m/m and often go down to 7mm. I’ve once in my life kept up with them the entire time, but normally I lose them pretty quickly on Cat Hill, which is what happened. I kept going on my own though, heading to my favorite place in the world: The Bridle Path. I did the extended bridle path loop up to 102nd and all the way down to the bottom of the park. I got distracted, though, when I was passing engineer’s gate and heard my name. My friend Elizabeth was sitting on a bench enjoying the evening not in running clothes. We had a good catch up, and I kept on my way, running under the cherry blossoms and magnolias.
Overall it was a pretty good run. Not the best, not the worst. My stomach felt a little off towards the end, but that is standard for evening runs for me, and my legs felt pretty good. I did get stuck, however, on the wrong side of Park on the way back. Hi Obama! When the motorcade is approaching, there is no convincing the policeman to please please please just let you sprint across the street? No amount of winks or smiles will let you pass. So I just had to enjoy the moment and try to guess which of the 50 cars the President was in.
Once I got back to the store, I discussed my run with my friends, and everyone seemed to be in good spirits, with similar feelings about having a pretty good run, and just enjoying the lovely evening in general. I then caught up with the manager, who is a friend, and is from the town where my sisters goes to college, where I’ll be visiting in a month, and gave me a list of awesome places to visit and, of course, run. Only runner friends, when visiting hometowns, would write, among a list of bars and ice cream places, spots I need to run. Runner friends are the best. 🙂
Walking home from the store, I thought about how I was so glad I went and didn’t cop out, as I almost did That evening, there was no where I would rather be than running on the Bridle Path, among my fellow runners. Cause everyone knows you always regret a run you didn’t do, but never regret a run you did, especially when you “see” the president. Hi Barack! It’s me, Betsy!