Thursday, December 6, 2007

Winter Running

December 21st is considered by most people to be the first day of winter. According to astronomers and meteorologists however, December 21st is actually the winter solstice or midwinter, because the shortest day and the longest night of the year always falls on or around this date every year. Therefore, the arrival of the winter season occurs much earlier.

As a runner in New York City, I always know when winter is officially here. As far as I’m concerned, winter starts when I see, for the first time all year, more pedestrians on the roadways of Central Park than runners. More than the sight of barren trees stripped naked of their autumn foliage, or the absence of water from the fountains that line the park, it’s the sudden disappearance of the running masses training for fall marathons that signal the arrival of the winter season.

I’ve had some quiet and eerie runs in the park this week. Instead of dodging the slower runners and aggressive bikers all competing for the same two inch rec lane, I have had the whole park all to myself these few days. Even bikers have been far and few between. I was disappointed that I didn’t see a single soul running on my six-miler today. Maybe it’s a sign of the bad weather we’ve been having (we had some strong winds and rain at the beginning of the week, and now snow towards the end of the week). Maybe everyone already had their run earlier in the day before I got there, or maybe it’s just the way the world elects to convey the message that I’m a total freak. I’m not sure. I just want the stormy weather to ease up a bit so I can have some company on my long runs, even if everyone I see running will be anonymous to me. That way I can point to them and say, “See, those people are just as crazy as I am!” Freakiness loves company too…Who knew?!


Non-Runner Nancy said...

I actually like it when I don't see anyone. Makes me feel so DEDICATED :D It is snowing like crazy here, I'm thinking about going out in it. Too bad you aren't here, we could be freaks together.

Alahan said...

I like your perspective on the winter solstice. I definitely treat my runs these days as winter runs.. Although I live in the more mild climate of the Pacific Coast, I remember cold New York nights from my childhood, and Oregon winters tend to specialize in rain and wind... At least we get the trails mostly to ourselves these days!

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