Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Getting to the grocery store

I was determined to make up for Sunday morning's disaster of a run. It was getting late on Sunday and I was faced with a dilemma: run or grocery shopping? I wanted to run and I needed to get groceries, but time was quickly running out for doing both. Then inspiration hit. Why not run to the grocery store?

A quick search on Google Maps comfirmed that Trader Joe's was only about 4 miles away. "I can do that!" I thought to myself. So, arming myself with debit card (to pay for said groceries), MetroCard (to get back home), and apt keys (to get INSIDE said home), I was out the door and on my way. It was glorious. A huge smile plastered on my face practically the entire way there.

Running along Riverside drive meant I didn't have to deal with ANY traffic or lights, and basically no hills, so I could just cruise along to my hearts content. Except for the few slush puddles it was relatively smooth sailing the entire way. Couples, dog walkers, and fellow runners were out in droves on the promenade. Probably getting in their exercise time outside before the big game

As 79th street approached, my spirits soared even higher. The run went by in the blink of an eye! However, I misjudged the distance... Trader Joe's was actually at 72nd. So I had to dig deep and continue to push myself in and all-out sprint along Broadway for an extra .4 miles. I arrived at my destination pouring sweat and positively elated. Took a moment to collect myself then headed in to gather up some groceries for my next cooking experiment. Yay!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Should have brought my ice skates

Still totally jazzed after yesterday's incredible run, I woke up early this morning and headed out with high hopes. Today's goal was to explore my way through Inwood Hill Park to the northern most tip of Manhattan. That dream was ridiculously short lived.

The Hudson River Greenway was even WORSE than yesterday!!! Unbelievable. The sun was shining and the temps were pushing 40 degrees, so I mistakenly thought most of the ice would be gone. No such luck. All the sun succeeded in doing was to melt the existing ice into a giant skating rink. The entire path was just one solid sheet of smooth, slick ice. Less than 10 minutes into the run, I actually fell on black ice and probably screwed up my knee. It was literally impossible to run. I was slipping and sliding all over the place. Even when I stopped to walk I could barely keep my balance. There were actually other runners out today, and none of them seemed to be having trouble. They were all cruising along without a care in the world, while I was slip-sliding around petrified of loosing my balance and breaking my neck. I only made it as far as 168th street before desperately searching for dry, solid ground. Feeling thoroughly dejected, I made my way back home.

If I plan on running in weather like this more often, I might need to look into chains for my shoes. For some reason none of the other runners seemed to have a problem, and they were all wearing regular sneakers. What is their secret!? I would have killed for some extra traction on that ice. Maybe it was my shoes? Perhaps my Sauconys (which I wore today) just don't have an much friction as my New Balance 1225 (which I wore yesterday). Regardless, today's run clocked in at 45 minutes for about 2.1 miles; it was an all-around disaster and I was thoroughly disappointed.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The GW bridge is open!

Within 10 seconds of leaving the apartment, my face was completely frozen over. Miniature ice pellets pelted my face and stung my eyes. I could barely keep my eyes open. It's been ages since I ran in the rain, and not only was it raining in NYC, it was freezing rain.

With no pre-planned route, it seemed like a good idea to head down to the Hudson Greenway. HUGE MISTAKE. The ground was completely covered in ice. When my feet weren't crunching through ice chunks, they were slipping and sliding all over the place. The precipitation in the air was so thick I couldn't even see New Jersey on the other side of the river.

I was the only runner outside today. Seriously, I didn't pass anyone else the entire time I was out. Guess I'm the only idiot who decides to run when there's a winter weather advisory for icy road conditions. Regardless, the solitude was wonderful!

So there I was, shuffling along, skating all over the place. I lost count of how many times I nearly took a nose dive. Running was practically impossible in such hazardous conditions. I was so fearful of falling on my face the entire time - and I thought last week's conditions were bad - ha! I literally had to cling to the railing at 181st, just to keep from sliding backwards down the ramp.

These are the days when a gym membership comes in handy so you can pound out the miles on a treadmill. Then again, I would prefer shuffling around on ice over sailing along on the treadmill any day. Being outside and dealing with the elements is part of the whole experience of running - regardless of the weather conditions.

Just before leaving for the run, I had been looking through old race photos from 2008-2009 (the heyday of my running career). The photos took me right back to the days of racing regularly, pushing my personal limits, and living with a perpetual runners high. I was genuinely inspired by my former self and realized something very important: I can - and will - be an avid runner once again. I am capable of pushing myself harder than ever before. I am capable of running as hard and as fast as I can... and even when I feel like quitting, I will keep going. So, as I left for my run today, I was mentally psyched. I was ready to fly and see how fast my legs would go. Unfortunately the weather wasn't ready to cooperate. Spring needs to come asap!!!

Since the route was flexible, I checked out the GW bridge. The south entrance was open!! I wound my way up the ramp, excitement building tremendously with each step. After shuffling around for nearly 2 miles, my legs were itching to let loose and just GO. It was so great, with no traffic, no ice, and no other people to contend with... I finally got to just RUN as fast as I wanted! Somewhere along the way I splashed right through a huge puddle, creating small water reserves inside my sneakers that sloshed around with every step. The air was thick with freezing rain. It stung my eyes and soaked my clothes, and the whole experience was absolutely incredible. Can't wait to go back on a clear day and take in the views!

The best runs are always the ones where you have no idea where you're going. You just head out the door on a whim, and see where your legs take you. Today was one of those days. The run was fantastic, although I'm surprised I survived unharmed. On another positive note, I think the ice rain did wonders for my complexion. My skin looks amazing!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dear Winter

Dear Winter,

I love you but this act is getting old. Snow, slush, sleet, freezing rain, ice storms... I'm just so tired of it all! You're really putting a cramp in my running routine. I WANT to run. I NEED to run. For the first time in a long time, I am actually in the MOOD to run. Every single morning this week I've woken up refreshed with a mindset to get outside and run before work. Yet, because of you, I couldn't!!! I'm not even making excuses - it's just too dangerous to go sliding around on the sidewalk that you magically turned into a solid sheet of ice.

Don't get me wrong, I think you are truely beautiful and I love seeing you. But once you start getting in my way and preventing me from exercising, we have a MAJOR problem. So please move on with your life.


A frozen New Yorker

PS - Tell Spring to come soon! I can't wait to ride my bike and go for long runs in the sunshine!