September 16, 2011

Wherever the wind may blow

My roommate apologetically sent me an email yesterday letting me know that the only time Ikea could deliver her new bed was at 7:30am this morning. She felt guilty about the early hour, and promised to try to be quiet. My reaction? No, make lots of noise – that will get my lazy butt out of bed and give me time to go for a nice run before I need to start my day! After all, when life gives you limes, make a mojito, right? 🙂

I ended up waking up at 6:50am (thank you, body clock, you are far better than any annoying beeping alarm clock), and getting out the door by 7:15. I considered doing the same 4 mile distance I did last week (over to Central Park, around the loop, and then home), but decided I didn’t want to commit to that long of a distance. Instead, I instinctively turned west to the Hudson River and headed up along the bike path.

I know I have posted this before, but there is just something so magical about running along a body of water in the early morning. In New York, I run along the Hudson River. In Boston, I ran along the Charles River. In the Bahamas, I ran along the ocean for an entire marathon. And last winter, on a cruise, I ran a half marathon on the deck of the ship while it was sailing in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. Seriously, you guys, if you want to experience a feeling of utter peace, run along some water and just clear your mind! There is nothing like staring out at the waves and getting into a state of zen relaxation where you can just think.

Today, on my run, I thought about all kinds of stuff. I thought about how everyone else was wearing pants and long sleeved shirts, and maybe I shouldn’t have worn a tank top and shorts… but come to think of it, I wasn’t too cold. Fall may be here, but as long as I don’t have goosebumps, I’m going to pretend it’s summer for another week or two. (At least during the day, when there are not delicious fall beverages like pumpkin beer to partake in).

I thought about the recent study that confirms that return trips feel shorter than initial trips, because people expect the initial trip to be faster than it really was (making the trip back seem shorter when they are happily surprised that it wasn’t as bad as the first time there). I tried to figure out if I felt like the outbound or the return was longer on my run, and couldn’t really tell. I guess the return seemed kind of shorter, but I think that was more because I was rocking out to some old school Ace of Base when I put my playlist on shuffle (yes, neighbors, that was indeed “Don’t Turn Around” you heard me singing in the shower when I got home).

Finally, I thought about the fact that today is the kickoff for New York City Craft Beer Week, and how excited I am to try all kinds of amazing concoctions. My celebrations kick off with my friend Matt’s birthday tonight, being held at one of my favorite pubs in NYC – BXL Cafe. (Matt is a big beer expert who is well known around the NYC craft beer scene, so I should have expected he’d choose someplace awesome). Mussels? Belgian fries? Beer? Oh boy… maybe I had better run a few more miles.

I ended my run covering 4.5 miles – far longer than I thought I would go. But I felt great! I didn’t end my run because I was tired or sore, but just because it was time to go home. And honestly? I like that kind of running. Where you don’t run to hit a certain mile mark (“ugh, I have to do my 16 mile long run if I’m going to be ready for this marathon!”), and you don’t run a specific path (“ugh, I have to go all the way around Central Park three times before I can go home). Instead, you just lace up your sneakers and head out, quite literally, wherever the wind blows you. Even better if you can do it on a weekend with no time constraints – just stuff a $20 bill in your sports bra in case you go longer than you thought and need to buy water/Gatorade along the way. Or if you get too far from home and decide to cab it back instead of running – I certainly don’t judge.

Going whichever way the wind blows is something that doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m a hyper planner (though recently trying to relax on that a bit), and it occurs to me that maybe it’s time I started doing that more – and I mean even beyond the world of running. How much time do we really allow ourselves to be unscheduled and unplugged? We put so much pressure on ourselves to be everywhere and do everything, but what about just letting life happen and taking advantage of whatever neat opportunities come our way?

Somehow I come back to this same topic every time I go for a run by the water. But maybe that’s because it’s one worth thinking about.


3 thoughts on “Wherever the wind may blow”

  1. I couldn’t agree more about running by the water. I’ve been fortunate enough to live along the coast (well… a coast: Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf) for almost all of my life. I tried living in Phoenix once. That lasted 5 months. 😉

  2. I love this….and I never do something like this enough, just go out and RUN without thought to where or how far. And running by the water is by far the BEST. When I was running in Maui years ago I felt at peace. Thanks for this awesome post!

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