Along the Waters of South Norwalk (4 miles)

Nat and I were banished to M’s mother’s house for the weekend, as M has a legal appeal that’s due on Tuesday.  Her plan was to do lots of work at night while Nat was sleeping, but since Nat came down with a terrible bug and spent large parts of the week throwing up and crying, M got very little sleep, let alone time to do work.  So this morning I loaded myself up like a sherpa to drag Nat, his stroller, a backpack full of clothes and books, a toddler backpack full of toys and snacks, a stuffed diaper-bag, and a car-seat for the two hour treck via subway and Metro-North out to South Norwalk.

A good thing about Spring is that the running clothes are easy to pack, so I managed to find room in my backpack for my skimpy shorts, a wicking long-sleeve shirt, and my gloves.   What I didn’t do was check the weather until I was about to head out the door at about four o’clock this afternoon: 31 degrees, with wind gusts between 25 and 48 miles an hour for a wind-chill of 11.  Just to be clear, when I say “skimpy shorts,” I mean they are 5 inches long in the front and back with slits in the side that go right up to the waist-band.  NOT the ideal clothes for a run in 11 degree weather.

For a moment, I considered calling off my run, but then I reminded myself of the new running mantra I made up, something that sounds like it was written by the love-child of a Zen monk and Vince Lombardi: “There is no bad weather for running, only a lack of dedication.”  So I pulled on a hoodie and a hat and headed out into the wind.  And it was indeed windy — there were a few times that I had to put my head down and push just to inch forward, and more than once I had to jog in place until a particularly strong gust died down.  It was also freezing, but as usual, once I was moving for a few minutes it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had feared.  My legs warmed up quickly (though my thighs were rather red by the time I came home), and I even considered taking off my sweat-shirt once or twice (Considered.  Didn’t do it).

Despite the frigid temperatures, it was a beautiful run.  The early-evening sun was breaking through a bank of clouds over the harbor, scattering amber rays of late-afternoon light over the docked boats and ice-crusted piers. My path took me through the down-town district of South Norwalk, over a river, then along various roads that skirted the harbor and its accompanying canals.  Winter still has a stronger foot-hold out here, so I had to leap on and off the sidewalks to avoid massive mounds of dirty snow that regularly blocked the route.  I had intended to just another 3 mile loop to rest my ankle, but my foot felt so good that I didn’t turn around until I’d gone 2 miles.  The return trip seemed even shorter, and I enjoyed the hard push up the steep hill that lead to grandma’s house.  I also enjoyed coming back to a mug of hot tea to warm up my numb fingers.

Total Distance: 4 miles Total Time: 39:14


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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