Every October, New York City gifts us with a few perfect days of crystal weather–clear skies, light breezes, and temperatures in the 60’s. These are the glory days for runners, and some of my best loops of the park have happened at this time of year. If you run after work, it’s dark but you can still see the changing leaves by the light of the streetlamps. Central Park is full of tapering marathoners–everyone is in beauteous shape, and they are nervously trotting their way through an easy 5-miler.
Last night, I met my running buddies/Twitter friends MJ and BW at 72nd and 5th Avenue for a run. The three of us running together truly is a case of Goldilocks–Brandon is Papa Bear, I am Mama Bear, and Michelle is Baby Bear. We range the gamut in height and speed, but managed to sort it out and find a Just Right pace. We started running up the East Side, introducing MJ to Cat Hill, and then we hopped up for a loop around the reservoir. I don’t take advantage of this loop enough–it was absolutely gorgeous. It felt like we were marooned in the city, that midtown had turned itself inside out for us and instead of viewing the skyline from across the East River, that we were seeing its soft, secret and less-exposed side. Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, and dozens of nameless office skyscrapers stood casually, and shining with that confidence that comes so naturally to New Yorkers.
Listening to BW and MJ, I could hear the cadence and personality in their voices that I recognize so well from their assorted and respective podcast, blogs, and tweets. It was both strange and familiar, and not at all unpleasant. Part of what pulled me through my injury this winter was the supportive caucophony of anonymous, chirpy runners I followed on Twitter; now I am glad that some of them have jumped off my computer and have come to land next to me, as I trace the our city’s inner circle with my running shoes.