Because Embarrassment of Riches has come to be my protracted love letter to New York City, I'd be remiss to leave out mention of the times I'm most head-over-heels for it: while running. I post more infrequently about running than I used to, but that doesn't mean I've hung up my sneakers. Far from it - I'm pounding the pavement six days a week.
It's difficult for me to blog about running. I'm actually a private person for having so public an online presence, and running is probably the closest to practicing religion I'll ever come. It's my outlet when I'm upset or anxious, and because I've stopped listening to music during my runs, I have nothing but my own thoughts to occupy my time. A lot of problems get worked out in those 50 minutes. It's also the only time during my waking hours that the cruel inner voice is silenced and I am at peace with my body. During every run I am struck by a profound sense of gratitude that my legs can easily carry me for miles. Weight, stretch marks, and pant size seem inconsequential by comparison.
There are also practical considerations that have kept me from blogging about running. I can't capture the pre-dawn majesty of the Manhattan skyline from the Brooklyn Bridge without lugging my giant DSLR along with me. Words can't convey the comfort of repetition I've come to know: passing the same jovial old man on his way to work, the vendor unloading palettes of fruit, the woman with the chihuahua. How can I explain the gut-flipping terror at seeing a shadowy figure standing a few feet off the running trail in Prospect Park at 4:45 in the morning? Or the rage at nearly being hit by a careless driver on nearly every single run (hence the morbid, but hopefully not necessary, new Road ID pictured above)?
Two summers ago, I logged so many miles that my pelvis snapped in two places, without warning. Like someone deceived by the person they love most, I've looked at running with suspicious sidelong glances ever since. It has taken me a long time to trust again: the damage to my psyche lingered far longer than the impact on my bones. Now I can finally run without that niggling fear that my bones will betray me. Thankfully, with running, the capacity for improvement is astonishing. On Saturday, we completed our first of many weekly long runs leading up to our spring marathon. The miles seemed to tick by easily, a suspicion confirmed afterward by my Garmin GPS watch: all ten were equally swift. As I ate my post-run pretzel croissant in the only-just-opened City Bakery, I felt a sense of accomplishment that carried me through the rest of the day. Make no mistake about it: in running, much like in life, there are tough spells too. It's not all rainbows and unicorns. But those good times make the ride worth it.