Saturday, March 13, 2010

Runaround Sue

For those of you following my blog who checked for last week's update to no avail, I apologize. My excuse, though admittedly not a very good one, is that my dad was in town for the weekend and although I started a draft last Saturday, I never finished it and during the week I was been busy with, well, life.

But starting this weekend I'm back on track with my promised weekly updates. Thanks for bearing with me!

And, onto the post:

So, in stark contrast to last post's described torrential snowfall and this weekend's unending downpour, last weekend was absolutely gorgeous. Fluffy clouds floated harmlessly in the bright blue sky and the sun shined through the buildings, radiant and warm and wonderful. Seven days before it had been snowing buckets and last weekend it suddenly seemed like spring.

Of course now the temp's dropped to the low forties and the rain's been steadily coming down since 3 p.m. yesterday afternoon.

But, for the moment, it was nice. I'm half convinced my dad brought it up with him from Texas.

It was the perfect weekend for him to visit and I loved having him here. On top of how great it was just to see him, my days were filled with delicious brunches and dinners that I, on my measly assistant salary, could usually only salivate at the thought of. 

Sunshine and crab cakes. Yes. It was a good weekend, indeed :)

It was also perfect running weather, which was great for him. My dad recently set a goal to run 1,000 miles in a year and is currently posting his progress on his own blog.

So, Saturday and Sunday we went to Central Park and ran what I call the "baby loop" at the southernmost tip of the park. It's about 2.5 miles and, honestly, with a belly still full from a wonderful brunch, was about all I could handle. But, I was glad I got to be a part of his 1,000 mile experience-- if only for 5 miles of it.

My Dad has had huge chunks of his life where he's been a dedicated, card-carrying marathon runner. While I can say that while I have, on occasion, run, I am not and have never been a true "runner."

I've been an off-and-on runner (or slow jogger, rather) for about four years now. I'm a finicky runner and run in the spring and the fall, when it's not too hot and not too cold. I run some summer evenings and I always run outside. Treadmills are to be avoided like the plague. They remind me too much of hamster wheels. I can't get past the fact that no matter how "far" I run, I'm in the same place the whole time. The concept is just unappealing.

A consequence to my treadmill boycott and my aversion to harsh elements is that because I'm so dependent on good weather for my runs, I've never run consistently for more than a few months at a time. 

But, inspired by my Dad's renewed dedication, I've decided to renew my own running hobby. And for reals this time. No quitting when it gets too hot, too cold, or too wet. That's what shorts, gloves, and windbreakers are for. (Says my new, super-runner ego.)

I started out running on my own a few days a week at Central Park until I felt pretty comfortable with that. Then, a few of weeks ago, I joined a group of coworkers who run over their lunch hour. 

For our first run we were supposed to meet at high noon on Tuesday. It was cold and snowing a little. But I fought the urge to bail and headed down to the locker room 11:45. Once in my sweats, hat and gloves--my runner uniform--it was easier to accept my fate.

We joked and laughed while we stretched. Only three of the usual twelve runners had showed up. Apparently I'm not the only one with an aversion to cold weather runs.

Once outside they set out on their "warm-up" lap. A 2-mile stretch along the river. I noticed these runners really ran, whereas my previous pace of preference had been a slow jog. But, practicing the art of self-deception, I told myself the pace wouldn't really make that much of a difference. Two miles was nothing. I could do two miles in my sleep.

For the first few minutes, I really did keep up and everything was hunky-dory. Then, all of a sudden, I sort of wanted to die.

I fell behind, hoping no one would notice.

No such luck. Noticing my duress, one of my coworkers began to hang back with me, God bless him, and attempted to strike up a conversation, presumably to take my mind off of my failing lungs. 

He proceeded to ask me a series of questions about myself and I proceeded to give one-word answers indiscriminately.

"Where are you from?"


"What brought you here?"


"What department are you in?"


When it became apparent that I had two choices, to turn back around, or to suffer a premature death due to hemorrhaging lungs, I did what anyone else would do: I gave up.

"Go ahead...(without me)!" I panted and waved him on with my hand.

"Are you sure?"

How cruel, I thought, to ask me to answer a question in this state.

"Yeah...turning back...see you....'round!"

And, somehow, I managed to turn around, still running, until I'd built up enough distance between us I was sure they wouldn't see me walking back the rest of the way to the building.

So, not exactly the running debut I'd anticipated. Needless to say I was more than a little embarrassed at what could only be called a massive fail.

But, knowing that I could never face these people in the elevator again otherwise, I've kept at it. 

And, while I'm still not the best conversationalist in the group, I have now successfully completed the 3.5-mile River Run (their shortest route) twice. My lungs somehow remained intact, despite all feelings to the contrary. So for now it looks like I may actually stick with this running thing, if only to stave off the quitter's humilation I'd feel if I give up now when people will notice.

Tomorrow I may even head out for another 2.5 Central Park loop-- if the raindrops shrink from grape-sized to raisin. 

Which brings me to this week's Question of Utmost Importance posted on the right of the screen: What's your protective rain gear of choice? I find that no matter what I put on, all the walking I do here leaves me soaked.

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