Christmas is over, and I’m OK with that. I don’t think I could have staved off the humbugs much longer–I was running on fumes of positivity by 7 PM last night. But up until that point, I made the most of the holiday. I put up a tree, I attended a couple of holiday parties, and even faced the Herald Square insanity to buy a last-minute present for Nana. I also made sure I had a daily dose of running, because I always feel stronger and happier after I run.
I worked every day last week, which was mostly great. It was a little stressful because my boss was there too, bouncing me email after email and preventing me from drilling down through my “I’ll Get to This Later List” (Later had arrived). But ultimately I got a few very time-consuming projects done, things that are hard to push through when the office is fully staffed and everyone wants your attention. Thursday was the best day of all–there were only 5 people on my entire floor, and HR gave us permission to leave at 1:30. I hung around until 3 (getting about two days’ worth of work done in six hours), then changed and went for a run. I left my office at 53rd and Fifth Avenue and slowly trotted up the avenue to Central Park. There was no running fast, because the sidewalks were clogged with tourists gawking in the windows and posing for pictures. It didn’t frustrate me though; for once it felt festive. I was happy to be running in the daylight, since it never happens for me in the winter. Before I knew it I was in the park, which was so peaceful. There were runners, but not so many. I entered at 72nd Street, to run the upper 5-mile loop, and I didn’t see another soul until I’d crested Cat Hill. The solitude felt like a gift, and I accepted it gratefully. 7 miles run in 1:03:35. Average pace 9:06; fastest mile 8:46; slowest mile 9:21 (Harlem Hill).
Christmas Eve was a day split in two. The morning was for me, and the afternoon and evening was for my family. I hate to let a holiday go by without a celebration run over my bridge, so I did that as soon as I woke up on Friday (I slept in until 7:30). Lately, the 59th Street Bridge has been kicking my ass. Between the hills and the wind, I finish the workouts feeling battered and tuckered. The wind is so bad in the winter, it really slices through you like an icy knife, and has an evil talent at always being a headwind, no matter if you’re running into Manhattan or into Queens. Because of this, I tend not to choose a bridge run for one of my mid-week, pre-dawn workouts–frigid wind without even the meager warmth of the winter sun is just too much cold for me. But on Christmas Eve, I laughed at the wind for trying to slow me down, didn’t he know I wasn’t in a hurry anyway? I had made a custom playlist with some favorite Christmas carols and sang along to four different versions of “Santa Baby” as I slid down the bridge back into Queens. 5 miles run in 48:52. Average pace 9:46; fastest mile 9:03; slowest mile 10:21.
Fast forward more than 24 hours, through Sette Pesci, bottles of white wine, a dreamless sleep, Kahlua French toast, three cups of coffee and some time spent around the tree opening presents with Mom and Dad. The last thing to do before packing up to have Christmas dinner at Nana’s is go for my run. Time was tight so I could only fit in one loop of the neighborhood, but it was sunny with no wind and I warmed up right away. My glutes were sore from the moderate hills I ran on Thursday and Friday, so it felt good to loosen them up on a flatter course. As I ran, I considered my blessings. Recognizing them, and feeling grateful for them, is not always so easy. Gratitude is an attitude I am trying to turn into a reflex, but there are moments when I lose heart. Christmas Day, however, was not one of those moments. I have a family that loves having me around, that supports me and cheers me up. That’s huge! I have all sorts of friends who remembered me on Christmas and sent me a Hello. Wow! I have myself–I am healthy, capable, smart, and hopeful. I have things like enough money to buy an apartment, enough self-motivation to maintain my training through tough times, and enough sense to know when to ask for help. Life is hard, but there are moments like Christmas that make it a little easier. I won’t ever be one of Santa’s elves, but it’s quite possible I am done with being the Grinch’s handmaid. 3.52 miles in 32:32. 9:14 average pace; fastest mile x:xx; slowest mile x:xx.
Songs I ran to 12/24: “Candy Cane Christmas” by Darius Rucker, “Blue Christmas,” “Santa Bring My Baby Back (to me)” and “Winter Wonderland” by Elvis Presley, “Last Christmas” by Jimmy Eat World, “Santa Claus Baby” and “What Do Bad Girls Get?” by Joan Osborne, “Christmas morning” by Lyle Lovett, “Christmas is Coming” by Vince Guaraldi Trio, “Santa Baby” by the Dollyrots, “All I Ever Want (Under the Christmas Tree)” by the Cute Lepers, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by the Beach Boys, “Santa Baby” by Rev Run, “Oi to the World!” by No Doubt, “Christmas” by Blues Traveler, “Christmas Song” by Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds
Songs I ran to 12/25: “The Chain” by Poi Dog Pondering, “Chains of Love” by Erasure, “Change” by Tears for Fears, “The Change” by Garth Brooks (NOT good for running), “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol, “Chasing Pavements” by Adele, “Che Vita E'” by Irene Grandi, “Cheap Sunglasses” by ZZ Top