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New Year's Day Running Tradition At the 11th Hour

Posted Oct 17 2008 9:13pm

I rarely post about my runs, but yesterday’s run seems worthy.

Snowy_street_at_night_2 Spending the last several weeks out of town, last night we drove home, arriving to a warm house around 8:30.  The day’s hectic schedule kept me from running, the frigid temperatures so unfriendly.  But I hated to miss my tradition of running on New Year’s Day.

There’s something just so right and important about running on January 1st.   I’m not talking about the New Year’s resolutions.  Instead, a run on January 1st kicks off the rest of the year with hope and renewed commitment for all the other runs that follow.  It’s invigorating, a christening that launches the full range of runs throughout the year—the ordinary, the rotten, the awesome, the hot and humid, the what-was-I-thinking, and the it-doesn’t-get-any-better-than-this runs.   But today, I’d missed my run—and my New Year’s Day running tradition.

So with Mary and the kids away or in bed, I sat at the laptop e-mailing. reading posts, and doing some real work-work before returning to the office.  The 10:00 news come and went.  Boring. The temp in the house began dropping. 

11th_hour_2 Then at 10:51, I hear the chime from my computer  announcing an e-mail message.  It’s a wonderful comment from Nat in response to a post, and she wishes me “many ‘hell yeah!’ runs, perfect weather conditions, and body glide in the right places.”

What a wish!  What a friend!  What an inspiration! 

In a nanosecond the possibility flashed through my mind.  “It’s not too late,” I thought.  Scrambling to the basement I gathered my running gear.  Dashed upstairs to change into my running clothes and I dialed the number to hear the time and temperature.    11:02 p.m. and 4°.  Count ‘em.  Four degrees!

Pulling the layers and shoes on, it’s a few minutes past 11:00 p.m., and I’m out the door.  A wonderful easy run!  Five miles later I’m finishing my all-time favorite neighborhood course, all the while thinking about “the tradition” of my New Year’s Day run. 

With several blocks to go, it’s Tradition Time.  My family knows just what it is.  I stop under a street light, take off my gloves and hat and then peel off every layer from the waist up.   I’m still warm from the run but know I’m only a few seconds before the chill arrives. 

Dashing the final blocks and careening down the hill that dumps me into my driveway, I’m breathless from the pace and the arctic air.   Carrying my clothes in one arm, I raise my other arm and pump my fist in the air. 

I arrive in the house before midnight.  The tradition of the New Year’s Day topless finish continues for another year! 

Thanks, Nat! Hell Yeah!

If it wasn’t for the 11th hour,

a lot of things wouldn’t get done!

Snowy Streets on Flickr by Yonder Wall

Clock on Flickr by MindWind

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