From Union Square, with a Backpack full of Mushrooms (5.77 miles)

Today was the first time that the weather has taunted us with the prospect of Spring.  Being that it’s the first week of February, Spring is still a long way off, as the mounds of grey, slushy snow will certainly attest.  Even so, after the last few brutal weeks of blizzards and ice-storms, today’s mild temperatures in the 40s were enticing: at lunch, I went out with nothing more than a hoodie, and this evening when Mulzer and I went to dinner, I donned a baseball cap and my leather jacket.

So for today’s run, I could forgo my running jacket and exchange my winter hat for a thin cap.  I got off in Union Square, and after a few quick errands, ran home, down along 4th Avenue to Canal Street and over the Manhattan Bridge.  I’m continuing to enjoy my backpack, since it lets me work small shopping trips into the context of a run; I like the idea of running merely being part of life, of a daily routine, rather than some activity set aside as “exercise.”

I felt very slow at first, leaping from the sidewalk to bus lane and back again, weaving around piles of snow and pedestrians, then over a surprisingly crowded Manhattan Bridge.  In Brooklyn, I decided to cut through Ft. Green Park, to run up the steps leading to the top of the hill simply for the joy of the climb, though the paths in the park were less clear than I anticipated.  I was glad to finally have a real run again, something long enough to actually settle into; anything under five miles is too short to develop a rhythm or to lose myself in the moment and the movement.  My favorite runs are the one’s hardest to describe, since my thoughts settle in at this contradictory balance of sharpened awareness and dislocation.  Today was just long enough for that sense to develop slightly towards the end as I worked my way down streets and avenues I know very well.  My heel ached slightly, but it seems to be healing nicely.  I made it to Tomkins just before six – after sunset, but far before the pitch-black of night that welcomed me a few weeks before.  The snow may speak of Winter yet, but Spring is coming.  Even if it is far off, it is coming.

Total Distance: 5.77 miles          Total Time: 47:00

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About Chris Van Dyke

I am a 33 year-old high school English teacher and long-distance runner. I live in Brooklyn with my partner, our 3 year-old son and 1 year-old daughter and a growing collection of muppets and trains. Besides running and teaching I like to draw, read, write, cook, and play the harmonica. While I didn't get to run my first ultra-marathon on my birthday, I've got a few more I've set my sights on. You can follow my (seldom updated) twitter feed @aboutrunning. I also blog as part of the Run Smiley Collective.
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