Until yesterday, I had never seen Central Park in the snow. Which is sad, considering I’ve lived in New York for almost my whole entire life.
I know, what is wrong with me, right?!
I’m so grateful that I get to run there as often as I do. There’s something new to see every single time, and I’ve probably mentioned this in the past, but the sense of camaraderie among the runners there is energy enough to fuel any run.
This is especially true when the winter weather gets extra chilly and the temperatures start to drop below freezing. Anne at Rocky Road Running summed this up really well in her blog post, ‘6 Tips for Cold Weather Running‘ when she said,
“Truth be told, I’d prefer to run during a snowstorm than on a 50* F, windy, drizzly night. Snowstorms are kind of fun and there’s an interesting sense of camaraderie with the other wackos out there on the running path. I guarantee a 100% return rate on the awkward runner wave when you’re out there cranking out the miles during a snowstorm.”
And another reason why I love running (or even just being outside) during a snowstorm, the quiet. It somehow always becomes so serenely silent, no matter where you are, during a snowstorm. How does the snow do that? It’s beautiful.
I ran about a 6 miles yesterday.
I didn’t plan any kind of workout or think about my mileage before I left. I had just finished putting together a video blog, which had me in front of the computer for a good part of the morning and afternoon. All I wanted was to get outside, breathe some fresh air, feel the sunshine, and run.
And even though my phone died four-and-half miles in, leaving me music-less and without a camera (I may love stopping to take amateur iPhone pictures a little bit too much), this was still such an energizing and enjoyable workout. It reminded me why I run. And that’s simply because I love it. No other explanation needed.
When other people run, that’s their time to sort their day out, or to think through their problems, or to just be alone with their thoughts. I can’t do that. When I run, I lose track of the time, of who I see on the running path, of everything outside the realm of my feet and my breath and the music in my ear. I run outside because I don’t have to think about the treadmill, or its buttons, or the woman running next to me for thirty minutes, or the grunting from the guy lifting weights twenty feet away. I don’t run to train, I don’t run to win medals, I don’t run to lose weight. Not anymore. I’ve learned that I can get so much more out of running than just a jeans size.
I run to escape my own mind.
And so I will keep running, even when it’s cold out.
Because that’s where I’m happiest, in Central Park or on the highway, not thinking about anything at all, and only worried about my feet and my stride and my iPod and my legs and my gloves and one step in front of the other in front of the other in front of the other, and I refuse to let something like temperature take that away from me.
Because those thirty minutes, those four miles, that hour — they help me stay in my own head when I need to. When I need to stand my ground, when I can’t run away, and when I have to face my problems. Everyone has their own reasons to run, and everyone runs differently. Everyone is different. And to run for somebody else’s reason is to sell yourself short.
When I first started running, it was to lose weight. I would have never imagined that I’d end up loving it as much as I do now. I like to run races, I love that running helps me stay fit. But like Ella said, it’s not about the jean size, or the medals, or the PRs. It should be about having fun, letting go, enjoying yourself, enjoying the outdoors, doing what makes you happy.
So, while I plan to do some training and run several races this year so I can enter to run the 2014 New York City Marathon, I’ll keep this as a constant reminder that there’s nothing better than just going out for a run simply because I want to. Because it makes me happy.
And because Central Park is just so darn pretty.
What are your ‘reasons for running’? If you’re not a runner, what’s the one type of exercise that will always keep you coming back for more?