Whoo-ee, 2009 is going to kick ass. There’s no way it can’t, if you consider that I kicked it off with four good runs, one for each of the first four days of the year. New Year’s Day, I already told you about.
A few hours after that run, I hopped in the car with Matilda and we headed to the Pennsylvania house for a girls’ weekend, and some time to unwind from the holidays before work would start up with a vengeance on Monday. January 2nd I traced my neighborhood Pocono Loop x 2, and even though I was breathing hard the whole way I completed the 4.63 miles in 42:49. The main benefit of this run–on a day I’d normally take as a rest day– was that I was able to make up some of the miles I missed while I was sick. Huge mental relief.
I was convinced Saturday’s run was a 6-miler on the schedule. So I hopped in the car and headed for Lake Naomi, to run the Lake Naomi Loop, with a tail (I run up & back Woodland Avenue to add in an extra mile). I didn’t pass any other runners, but I did run by a bunch of college boys, out in the yard of one of the nicer homes, all standing around the woodpile with bottles of beer, passing logs around to bring inside, shooting the shit while they all took turns weilding the ax. The vignette made me smile; I was sure the adults had fled. The Lake Naomi Loop is the same route which so tortured me last Saturday during my pace run. This week I was much more relaxed, and even though I set out to run 9’s (which is probably why I was more relaxed), I ended up running 8:30’s (6 miles in 51 minutes). Oh, and this evening when I sat down to X off my training days on my calendar, I realized I was only scheduled for a 5-miler. I stole a mile!
Sunday, as we all know, is the lord’s day, and so today I gave myself over and worshipped in Manhattan, running 11 divine miles. I met EN in Times Square at 9 AM (both of us flash-frozen by the bitter winds that swept through that urban canyon) and after a quick hug to the huggable Baby A, we immediately started running west, without even a route in mind, just to warm up. We decided to hook around the lower tip of the island. EN would break off when he felt like it, and I’d keep going up towards the 59th Bridge to get in my 11. By the time we’d crossed the Lincoln Tunnel, we were all warmed up and moving at a nice 9:15 pace. It was a great morning to be a runner. There was no breeze, there were no clouds, there weren’t even any cyclists. The rivers glinted cheekily and the tourists, mercifully, were still mostly sleeping, brunching, or gone. The Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges opened their arms to us, the heart of Brooklyn shining glassily. We passed my track on the Lower East Side, where I’d done my speedwork all Fall. (It really is beautiful.) And then, somewhere in the 20’s, EN left me after nine miles, and I continued up towards my bridge, happy to have had an hour or so with my friend, and content to be working my way back up the mileage ladder (11 miles in 1:41:43).
I took the Q60 bus home from 60th Street and 2nd Avenue, since Mile 11 dropped me off at 55th Street and First Avenue. I was the only person on the bus, and was grateful for its warmth, and for the driver, who was sweetly impressed I was training for the Flora London Marathon. “London,” he said. “Whoo-ee!”