Some people–like the Irish, and like those who jump at any excuse for revelry–love St. Patrick’s Day. I am not one of these people. I’m not a killjoy, but I have moments of humbugginess, especially when the revelry hampers my routine. (I am one of those New Yorkers who scowls when film crews take over whole city blocks. I don’t care who the movie star is, I gotta get over there!) How does St. Patrick’s Day hamper my routine? I work a mere two blocks away from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and my office window has a view of Fifth Avenue and 53rd Street. This means I can hear the marching bands, bagpipes and drunken cheers of the parade spectators all day long. St. Patrick’s Day is a day I bring my lunch to the office. The aggro of weaving my way through the inebriated, green-clad masses is so great that I won’t go outside even if struck with a desperate need for caffeine. By 3 PM I had a dull headache from the ceaseless din of happy Irish people. My ancestors immigrated here from Italy and the Ukraine, and I just don’t get the enthusiasm of the Irish. I don’t get excited on Columbus Day (since I can hear that parade through my office window as well, I have equal antipathy for that day too). I mean, I am proud of my Italian heritage but I realize that I’m not actually Italian.
Despite my poopy point of view about St. Patrick’s Day, I do have a tradition that I like to uphold this day every year. In addition to complaining, I also run home from work. This year, however, I would run home from Pilates class, since I had scheduled that after work before I realized it was Erin’s day to go braless. Or something like that.
First, a word or two about Pilates. I started classes in January, going once a week as a service to the other women in the class–I was the pupil who made everyone else look like a ballerina. And while I am still ungainly and not nearly as strong as I’d like, I love Pilates. I like the way I have to focus my entire mind and body on each pose, and the way that even slight corrections make an exercise that much more effective. I like the way my muscles burn, and tremble. I like the way I feel all melty and languid after class. Another thing I really like about Pilates–I can already see a difference in my running form. It’s not huge, but it’s easier for me to hold myself erect, to keep my shoulders down and my arms sliding on their parallel rails along my body instead of crossing in front of me. My pelvis tucks itself without me having to think too much about it, and this reduces stress on my hamstrings and lower back. I don’t have a flat tummy–yet–but if I flex my abs, my fingers can feel them getting ripply and toned beneath my winter pudge.
Tonight’s Pilates class was done on the Bosu ball, so in addition to the regular challenge of teasers, The Hundred, and planks (oh how I dread planks), everything was made harder by being performed on an unstable surface. Hello, that was humbling. By the time class was over, I honestly wondered how I was going to drag my legs over the 5 miles of pavement that stretched between the studio and home.
I decided to take it as a recovery run, and not fret over the pace. Once the pressure of speed was removed, I relaxed (my traps dropped–I have a bad habit of holding my shoulders up around my ears basically every waking moment) and rolled on home. Running past Grand Central Station brought back memories of swaying through the marbled central atrium towards the 7 train, drunk. I used to do that a lot; now, not so much. Even though the sidewalks were packed with people still celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, I enjoyed the run. The peace I’d been hoping for eluded me, but I did feel a sense of well-being, and of reassurance. Yes, TK, things will continue to get better. It’s a bit shopworn, but I’ll let the seasons be a metaphor. Last Autumn, things in my life died off. This Winter, my life lay fallow, regenerating and recouping energy. And now, Spring is definitely going to bring rebirth.
I got to run over the 59th Street Bridge; that was pretty cool. The outward bound hill was tough because my quads were shot, but it sure felt great to crest the hill and ease on down the decline. My bridge, how I miss her so. Then I trucked along Northern Boulevard into Astoria, to the apartment where I am renting out an acquaintance’s furnished extra bedroom until I close on the pad I’m buying in Woodside, Queens.* Even though I was wearing yoga pants, I felt like every cell of my body affirmied, Yes TK you are still a runner. I let my thoughts wander to the Fall marathon I’m planning on this October, and imagined how fast I’ll have to be running home from work if I’m to meet my time goals. I am excited to see how everything develops these next seven months. Aren’t you?
4.95 miles run in 47:26. Average pace 9:35; fastest mile 9:13; slowest mile 10:55 (up the bridge).
*Yes, that’s right! I have found a home to buy! I signed the contract this morning and am so excited, I hope to be in around Memorial Day if everything goes smoothly.