I’m apparently insane, and therefore I will be running my first half-marathon next month. My longest race before this was a 10-K in September, so this will be more than double that distance. Because of a combination of injury, the holidays, my sister’s wedding and a bout of the flu/bronchitis, my official training didn’t begin until a few weeks ago, much later than my training plan called for. And so I began preparing for the race in the coldest month of the year.
It’s already getting pretty intense. My run on Sunday was 9 miles, and an hour after I finished, I hobbled to a Super Bowl party in flat shoes and ate everything in sight. This Sunday, I apparently am doing a thing in which I run 10 miles—longer than I’ve ever done and also a ridiculous number to contemplate. People actually run in the double digits? And by people, I mean me?
The great thing about all these long runs has been exploring parts of Central Park I’d usually avoid in the dead of winter. The park is gorgeous this time of year, something I’d never realized, and I sometimes find myself staring at the scenery and forgetting that I’m running. (Not always: other times, I’m painfully aware of each passing mile.)
But it’s been a fun challenge and a really beautiful change of scenery for me. I’m kicking my winter-hibernation instincts and spending hours in the sunny 10-degree weather. I’ve learned the best ways to avoid windburn on your face (Nivea cream and a good neck warmer that you can pull over your nose), how to treat windburn when you don’t know how to avoid it (aloe, aloe, aloe), how to layer so you don’t sweat too much but you stay warm (wicking clothing and a light jacket is usually sufficient) and how to run on ice (run at a constant pace and don’t shuffle your feet).
It’s amazing how many other runners are outside doing the same thing as me, often wearing much less clothing and smiling much more. It turns out that not everyone hibernates in New York in the winter. Just the sane ones.