Thursday, January 27, 2011

Snow and Slush

Neck warmer: check. Smartwool headband: check. NB Running fleece: check. Two pairs of LS shirts: check. Two pairs of pants: check. Thick socks: check. Two pairs of gloves: check. I packed up my pink Shape bag (which I got for free from Pilates for Pink in Union Square) with all the necessary paraphernalia and headed into work. Today I had a running date scheduled with a running buddy, Coleman, and I was totally jazzed about it!

Despite the fact that NYC just had a huge snowstorm the day before (and the morning of) our scheduled run, we both held on to hope that the sidewalks would be clear. Literally the only thing keeping me going was the promise of company on the run - the fact that a friend would hold me accountable gave me the extra incentive to get out there in sub-freezing weather the day after a snowstorm. As the workday drew to a close, Coleman informed me that he was stuck at his office later than expected and encouraged me to go ahead by myself. Neither of us knew the conditions of the roads, or if the West Side Highway was even clear enough to go running. However, I had already decided I was running that night, no matter what, so the encouragement was a bit unnecessary, but welcome nonetheless. After all, I didn't go through the effort of packing my pink Shape bag for nothing! And so I ran.

Thing started off well; the sidewalks just outside my office were completely cleared. Then I reached an intersection and things went downhill. It was a mess! Snow piled up right in front of me blocked my route and forced me to venture into the street, where I was greeted by a vast stretch of slush puddles. With an awkward stride, I cautiously jogged through the slush, trying to avoid splashing on myself as much as possible. Things were even worse on the West Side Highway. The sidewalks weren't clear AT ALL, forcing me to run in the highway towards oncoming traffic. This is scary in any conditions, let alone at night, in the snow, slush, and ice! I proceeded with caution, but never stopped running.

Finally crossing the highway and reaching the Hudson River Greenway, I was thrilled to discover it had been cleared! Except for the occasional ice patch, the Greenway was in great shape. My pace quickened rapidly as I found my stride and started cruising along. Although the greenway was clear, intersections remained a challenge. Dirty slush puddles are just a by-product of winter in NYC - wherever the sidewalk dips down and meets the street drainage, snow melts, thousands of people walk every single day, dirt accumulates, and you end up with miniature swamps - deep puddles of gross melted snow the size of a small pond. These can be completely unavoidable, and sometimes you are forced to step straight into the unknown, not knowing when your foot will hit solid ground... and wholeheartedly embracing the fact that your footwear is going to be completely soaked hereon out, for the remainder of the run. Regardless, I astutely navigated the minefield of slush that faced me at each intersection, and successfully completed 3 miles. It was exhilarating. The best part is, no one else was out on the Greenway. I was one of about five runners who actually ventured out in the snow tonight. The beauty of the solitude provided by the nearly-abandoned waterfront was an incredible added bonus for being out there. I returned to the office to gather my things, completely rejuvenated and ready to enjoy the rest of my evening!

Yay for running at night in the snow & slush!!! It's such a confidence booster. I'm extra psyched because the odds were stacked against me tonight. The city streets were a snowy, slushy mess, it was late, I was sleepy, and my plans fell through with Coleman. Despite all that, I still got myself out there for a run. As an added bonus and reminder of my rare January night run in the snow, I am already sore (and I finished less than 2 hours ago!). Yay!

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