Almost every morning lately ( for like the last 20 plus years :-) i’ve been waking up with so much anxiety….thank god i’m in the habit of getting up, stretching and doing the the other stuff humans do when they wake up. Then stepping outside and going….the first person who i have to make contact with is my doorman…who, i’m sure thinks i’m certifiable because during the week i’m out running between 4:30-5am….he just kind of looks at me sleepily as he says “Good Morning.”
This time of year is the best for running…getting cooler…less humidity…feels so nice, and i love the early mornings…i live in New York City so that’s really the only time it’s quiet.
So after i get out the door, i can feel the air outside is actually much nicer than in my apartment…what a concept….as i start making my way to Central Park…it’s about a quarter mile from my house. There are a few friendly faces i sometimes see and i really enjoy greeting them first thing in the morning….first there’s the guy who owns and runs the Laundromat….he’s usually opening up the gate as i run by….seems like he’s always working no matter when i go by…very inspiring. The next people i see are the night attendants who are outside the nursing home and we like to wave and greet each other…when i first saw them, they made fun of me. it made me so uncomfortable, that i ran around their block to avoid them…now they religiously say “Good Morning” whenever they see me….very nice….then there’s the guy who works for the Doe Fund..that’s a program that employs homeless people and helps them get to get back on their feet….he organizes and puts out the garbage at a few buildings on my route…Lastly there is the woman who walks her dog and like to sit on a bench in the silence…we like to wave at each other…i really like seeing these people who i know nothing about, and don’t even know their names, but, it gives me a sense of community in a big city….it allows me to live in a fantasy that i live in a small town for 5 minutes…almost every day….very nice.
When i get to the park, i have to make a judgement call of whether to step inside or run on Central Park West in the bike lane for a bit until i see more people inside….i’ve noticed, Mondays and Fridays seem to be the least populated days. Anyway, whenever i do enter the park….it’s like i can breathe….the air feels different…oh, wait…it is different :-) i couldn’t/wouldn’t even consider living in NYC if it weren’t for Central Park…..people don’t mention it much but there are a fair amount of critters living in the wild there. You don’t think of NYC and wild animals in the same place other than the Zoo….don’t get me wrong there aren’t any Lions or Tigers in there…unless of course one escaped from an apartment where the person has a strange idea of the type of animal that should be kept as a pet….interesting animal tangent…lol…anyway, there is a very large population of Raccoons….i remember years ago, i would hardly ever see any…now very rarely do i enter the park without seeing at least a few….there are also Rabbits, Hawks, Large Turtles, Bull Frogs and those are just the ones i have seen….and of course there are the usual Squirrels…the official city animal, and lots of breeds of birds. I love the little utopia of wildness in the middle of Manhattan. Sometimes when i’m in the park looking out; it is sometimes a bit shocking to see the buildings on the horizon.
So back to the running part….i like to run on the cinder track around the Reservoir and the bridal paths …believe me, the bridal paths are used a lot more by runners than horses….especially since the Claremont stable on west 89th Street closed down. i have to be careful because there are plenty of rocks to trip over, and in the early morning it is pretty dark. So it is kind of an obstacle path for the tripping prone runner, which i unfortunately am. As i said in the beginning of this…i wake up allot of the time filled with anxiety about money, the upcoming day…whatever…i wish i was one of those people who woke up with joyful excitement to meet the day….i’m not….usually, the first thing i think when i wake up is: “Oh Fuck.” So i guess you understand why i go running first thing in the morning….By the time i get to the trails the coating of anxiety and dread have started to dissipate, and by the time i’ve run about 3-4 miles i feel capable of being a participant in my life….and after about 7 miles, i feel almost good about the day ahead of me. Another thing i sometimes feel is that i would like to just stay in the park and keep running. When i’m running it is one of the only times i feel truly happy to be me…i don’t feel insecure or lonely….i don’t compare my insides to other peoples outsides as much….somehow when i’m running my negative feelings about myself and my life are quiet. i can hear the things that matter…..and that isn’t music, if you were wondering…i like to run in silence….mostly because i like it, but also for safety sake. If somebody is sneaking up on me i want to be able to hear them. i unfortunately or fortunately do have to stop eventually and head home to face the shit that scares me, but first i get to face a shower, and a yummy breakfast.
i think i’ll stop there…i’m sure i will continue this at some point soon…..Thank you for reading.