January Miles: Off to a Running Start

Prior to coming to this great country, I’ve always been a big fan of the beginning of the new year. New Year, new opportunities, a fresh start, another chance to try again, and so on. Being from the Caribbean, the weather was never something I dreaded or even concerned myself with too much, as except for the threat of hurricanes, which thank God has always escaped my beautiful island home of Trinidad, we were pretty much a fair-weather people. So much so that we’ve coined the term “God is a Trini” and readily bandy it about at the drop of a hat. Of course that all changed when I lost my mind and moved to The Big A. I’m kidding of course, about the losing my mind bit anyway, though many people have suggested just that when wondering what on earth possessed me to move here, and well.. you almost have me there. However, in spite of the brutish cold weather when winter rolls around, this city holds a strange allure for me. Maybe it’s the big-city-bright-lights appeal, or, maybe it’s simply its endearing ability to make me feel right at home as part of the Caribbean diaspora within an eclectic mix of people from just about every major country on earth. I can belong here – in this melting pot of diversity – I can be angry, laugh, love, breathe, complain and have my voice heard. More important though, I can run and make a difference. And that, makes all the difference in the world to the place or places I call home.

So despite the wintry conditions we’ve experienced thus far, my running has managed to prevail. In fact, January may go on record as my most accomplished month of running, minus racing, all things remaining constant by the month’s end. To be fair, belonging to a running community has added tremendous motivation, inspiration and accountability to my already fastidious ways. Though I rather doubt, if left to my own devices, I wouldn’t be braving chilly night runs or escaping to other boroughs in minus temps for a weekend long run. Nor would I be running through snow and ice to rack up mileage. It is the rare combination of like-minded individuals, marathon training, January challenges, and new year goals that have all collaborated to make me into an almost super athlete this month, and, I can only hope, this year. Maybe this is the best reason of all for staying here, I’m part of an amazing runner-friendly community and it would be tough to give that up.

As it is, I’ve managed to get out there sun, snow, or rain for all but four days since January 1. As part of a group, I’ve participated in tempo runs, interval training, long runs and shorter runs. Running alone, I’ve focused more on building mileage and hill work. But hold on, we’re only three weeks into the year and have a long way to go yet. Looking ahead, this path is only sustainable if I remain committed to my group work and the shared values of my running community. For sure it is a helluva lot easier having others in your corner to bitch with about weather issues and the like, especially when they are as affected by said issues. May the bitching and running continue! 😉

Running Solo or with Company

imageI’ve tried every which way to get you out there this Summer, short of giving out medals myself, I’m running (no pun intended) short of reasons to convince you that stepping into some running shoes is one of the best decisions you will ever make. It’s also something you don’t have to decide on or do alone. Much can be said about sharing your running dreams and goals with a buddy who you can run with or finding a group who share those goals. On the other hand, there’s no hard and fast rules where running is concerned, you can get just as much or sometimes even greater satisfaction from running solo.

imageFor my part, most of my running is done around my crazy schedule, which would be impossible to get someone to share and so I’m very much a lone runner, most of the times anyway. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy running with company, on the contrary, some of my most fun runs have been with other like-minded runners though I’d be the first to admit I also enjoy those solitary runs where I’m in the zone, out there all on my own with nothing but the wind at my back and the wide open skies before me. It’s actually my favorite place to be after the ocean and I often derive so much pleasure from just going out there and connecting with God and nature.

There is no set rule for the average runner, just different days and moods that require different treatment. On any given day, you may just feel to run away the stress of life, those days often require physical and mental distance from life itself..including people, at other times it could be all about introspection, meditation, or even finding inspiration..some of what turned out to be my best ideas were founded on running trails. A lot of time your running decisions depend on your mood, goal, time or location which can vary from run to run. I try to mix it up some, only because I’m often trying to ensure there is balance in all I do and because I’m big on variety; it being the spice of life and all that..I totally buy it.

imageFor the runner who loves to connect with others, needs motivation, direction and/ or just that awesome feeling that comes from knowing there are others who share your passion, uncertainty and other jumbled mix of emotions, running with company will provide the support and inspiration you need. Either way there’re two things that are required of the runner; show up and run, your presence and effort will be justly rewarded.

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