This winter in New York City is officially the coldest winter in history. Walking only 5 minutes from my car to my aunt’s building on 37th and 9th, my face was frozen stiff, my eyes tearing and stinging, and it felt like there were shards in the wind, too.
I put myself the habit of running 5K almost every day. I started in September, almost immediately after I finished reading What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami, and living in Bogota, where I found myself in a culture that exercises regularly—on Sundays, one of the largest streets, La Septima, is closed off to make way for the ciclovía which spans close to 150 streets from the Downtown of the city to the North, to make way for cyclists and runners.
Every weekend, I used the ciclovía to beat my distance record, eventually running 12K one morning in about an hour and 15 minutes. I still do this today in Central Park, where I spent last Sunday running 10K in 14 degree weather in an hour and 30 minutes.
Not too long ago, I would have called anyone who attempted such a run in this kind of weather insane.
The above image was taken as I was running 5K in Clove Lakes Park in Staten Island.
I’ll be honest with you, in the first two or three kilometers of running in this weather, I’m freezing my ass off. But soon after that I feel warm enough to take off my headband and gloves. Running in the winter has its benefits. For one, your body doesn’t sweat as much, and so, doesn’t exert much energy trying to keep you cool. I have a lot more energy running in cold weather than I do in warmer climates.
The cold motivates me. I sprint the first two kilometers to get warm, then once I’m warm I can slow myself down and jog at a moderate pace. Eventually not feeling the cold at all.