You Should Be Running Right Now..

Stop complaining the run was cancelled..I don’t owe you anything. I do this “thing” for selfish reasons exclusively, you just happen to join me. There is nothing stopping you from lacing up and going out on your own. In fact, you should be outside right now running. You set aside Tuesday Nights for Orchard Street Runners, you come every week, you run..then you spend several hours at An Choi interacting afterwards..tonight nothing has changed. Go run, go by yourself..explore a different you wish I’d post. Tell me about it afterwards, I look forward to hearing about it. Run free, without being told what route to take, or how fast to run it, or with whom. The most gratifying runs, by far, are ran alone.

Photo by Brian Vernor.

Gain the experience of running in these conditions. Learn how not to slip on the manhole covers, the ones you can’t see because they’re covered in a dusting of snow. Learn how not to get your feet soaked in freezing water, by stomping the middle of the puddle and retracting your foot before the displaced water hurries back to its place. Teach yourself through personal experience how to dress your feet so that they aren’t screaming in wet frost-bitten pain by the 3rd mile. Figure out how to stay warm and dry in cold and wet conditions. Revel in each moment as you learn, as you take each step, each breath. Run at your natural pace, focus on consciously securing each foot-strike on safe so without feeling rushed by the pace of 30 other people. People who are all doing their best to keep up with themselves because of fear of being the slowest, or the last. The freedom of being last is that there is no one behind you to see you. Give me last anytime. No matter how many people show up on a Tuesday night, the only person I’m up against is myself anyway.

If you go out tonight and run in these conditions, learn from them as so many of us has over the last 5, 10, 15 + years we’ve been running, before we ran with each other. I don’t believe that running in groups is the be all, end all. You should run in a group maybe 20% of the time. The rest of your running should be done any any condition. Each run is an exploration of one’s self. The more experience you gain by running through the NYC winter streets, the less I will need to cancel these runs. These runs, when the streets are wet and slippery and the frigid air smacks your face. I have to admit, I cancel on these nights out of fear that those inexperienced runners will slip and hurt themselves..or that in an effort not to lose your place in the pack, you will make a mistake and fall. These things are yours to choose to experience, they are not mine to force on you with an instagram post. They are not the groups to force on you, or to pressure you into through pack-mentality, or through guilt, or FOMO. Too many times the group mentality backfires and causes more harm than good. As much as we all love and want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, it is imperative to maintain individuality in the context of running..for balance and for progression.

You may not have experienced how to keep your center of gravity above your feet as you bomb the decent of the Williamsburg Bridge into Brooklyn. For all I know, you don’t know that the painted lines that mark the crosswalks and bike paths turn into ice-like-patches when they’re wet. Maybe you will learn the hard way that the metal coping on the edges of the city’s curbs has zero traction..and that the pavement will break your teeth when your face goes crashing into it if you slip. Maybe you’ll see that sometimes, the juice isn’t worth the squeeze..and the night is better spent writing. Thats your choice, but better to make it having had the experience of running in the cold, wet conditions that are in place tonight.

I miss it too when it doesn’t happen. Believe it or not, I don’t organize events, races, or even weekly runs for you..I do it for me. I always have. I love that you come, I love that you love it. I love everything about it, but make no mistake, I do it for what I get out of it. Majority of that being the opportunity to meet other people that share my passion. I’m assuming thats why you show up too. I make our runs as hard as I do to keep the group honest. The 3-5 mile runs aren’t for us. Stopping along the way and waiting for each other is something other groups do..and thats great, but its not how we do it. The fact that running has become so popular is a blessing and a curse. The more popularity running gains, the more new & different groups will pop up. The more group options people have, the more they will find something they like, which in turn will keep OSR full of like-minded individuals. Keep us pure. This is not a group for egos, or for people trying to prove how hard-core they are for some kind of social status amongst the running population. There are other groups for such things. This is for a group of people who want to share a passion, a pain and an experience while they take their own journey through the streets along side other individuals. This is for people who run alone, together. In canceling this run nothing has changed, everyone who would have ran tonight with us will be running should you..if you were one of us in the first place.

Go run, figure it out. Live in the actual moment, don’t distract yourself with music, or conversation, or by counting miss the point of what its all about. Define time as the ability to tolerate the pain of fatigue over distance. Use a clock that is not man-made…and go out and run.