A Special Snowy Run
This morning I might have just run the most fun run ever.
Okay, that New Years Eve run this year was a blast, and every run at Ragnar was exciting, and those perfect runs in the middle of the summer are awesome, but this one was an experience.
With my current maintenance-mode training, I’m doing one longer run per week, at around 10 miles, but absolutely no more (keeping it slow and steady for now). I emailed Jess to see if she wanted to join me for all or some of my Saturday longer run, and she said yes! Huzzah!
Friday night, I went to bed with a forecast of snow that was supposed to start sometime over night, and hoped to wake up with some flakes on the ground. Growing up in the Snowbelt has made me a lover of snow, so this winter has been particularly disappointing. Some people are afraid of snow and of what happens when a storm hits, but I get excited and embrace it! At least until it melts and turns New York into a brown slushy mess…
I woke up and saw both lots of snow on the ground and lots still falling! Hooray! I was so excited, threw my running clothes on, contemplated for a minute whether I wanted a neck gator or not, and ran out the door. The second I hit the street, I wish I had gotten that neck gator and had pulled out a pair of ski goggles. It was snowing harder than I had thought, and was blowing around, stinging my eyes and face. I could have turned around and gotten the gator, but just decided to suck it up and head to the park to find Jess.
Normally it takes me about 11-12 minutes to run from my apartment to Engineer’s Gate, but this morning it took me 18. I had to slow down significantly to keep from slipping, and had to dodge everyone else walking precariously on the sidewalk. I felt pretty badass, though, seeing everyone out getting their morning coffees, and I was headed to CP to run 10 miles in the snow.
I found Jess and we were both kind of stunned that the snow was as intense as it was, but were both totally game and really excited to get running. The Manhattan Half was “happening” (meaning it had been turned into a fun run because of the weather), so the roadway was pretty packed, considering the weather. We decided to hit the road clockwise, opposite of what the racers were doing, to run the inner 4-mile loop. Because it was still early, the road hadn’t been plowed, so the snow was still thick and uneven. It was hard to find a steady stride, but, my god, it was so fun. It was hard at some points because we were working harder to stay balanced, but never seemed too hard because of the environment, and because it was so different than regular running. I haven’t had a real true snow run in over a year, and I forgot much it takes so much mental power and uses different muscles to keep going. Yet, it didn’t seem harder at the time, just different, and so much fun.
There were a few times when the wind would pick up and would blow right into our eyes, or we would head up a hill and it would be especially slippery, and were using every muscle in our bodies to get to the top, but overall it was one of those rare runs that you never want to end. Given the correct attire, I literally could have stayed out there all day. I was totally in my element, doing what I love to do, with a friend, among like-minded people, having the time of my life. Towards the end of the run, we hit the 103rd st transverse, which the racers were not running, so it had been barely touched. When we turned off the main road onto the transverse, we both remarked by how incredibly beautiful it was. We were basically alone, and just took in the moment. Untouched white snow below us; snow still falling furiously from the sky.
Those four miles with Jess were over in a heartbeat (we were chatting up a storm the whole time), even though we took our sweet time, and I just wasn’t ready to leave. Jess headed home, and I hit the bridle path for a few more miles. This time, there was no slipperiness, but the path was thick with snow, and sometimes I would misjudge where I was planting my foot, and end up in 4 inches of powder. It’s a good thing I had my smartwools on! I slowed down even more for these miles, but just loved the quiet—there was barely anyone on the path except for a few people and their dogs, and I could hear every step and breath I was taking. Being there really did feel special, and it was one of those times when I was just totally head-over-heels in love with running.
Finally after two hours—that passed by quicker than any run I’ve taken ever—I realized that my legs were really tired, and headed home. I walked into my apartment soaking wet, and with glowing red cheeks, but with a giant smile, so happy that I had been able to experience that amazing run.
And the moral of the story: even if everyone is saying the weather is too iffy to go run, go do it. It will probably be one of your most favorite runs ever.