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!

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