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Ithaca on The Run: Indoor Track Meet (Ithaca Blog)

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Ithaca on The Run: Indoor Track Meet

Ithaca’s Indoor Track Meet: Start off the New Year by Running Indoors

Indoor Track Meet We got snow yesterday, as did, I suspect, many of you. Not the pretty gentle snow one idealizes on Christmas morning, but a fury (not a flurry) falling hard and fast. The wind was gusting. I was told roads were icy. I was told some areas were a white-out. Had I dared to venture out I would have wanted a tauntaun rather than my paltry pea coat which normally suffices on even some of the coldest days.

Instead, I sat inside, 2 books into my reading challenge for 2012, curled up on the sofa in comfortable pants and an oversized sweatshirt.  From where I sat, though I could see the outside, in all its frozen over splendor, through a large window at the front of the house. This window looks out onto our street. A small side street in a small neighborhood just minutes from downtown. Ordinarily I’d have no idea what our street looks like midday, but I’ve been teaching for the past few months, predominantly online, and so I’ve gotten to know the midday comings and goings of the neighborhood: the police patrol at around 11am, the dog walkers at 9 and noon, and the runners. The many runners.

We’ve been lucky so far this year, it’s been mild and so I’ve thought nothing of the myriad of runners jogging past the house daily, other than a pang of jealousy, as I’m getting over a year end head cold and stomach flu. I’m supposed to be training for a half-marathon. In May. We shall see. I’m a summer runner. I like running in the heat. I run mid-day in August. Humidity is my friend, my slightly wet and clingy friend, but my friend all the same. My biggest fear has been running in the snow and cold.

In the beginning of December I did a Girls on the Run 5k to support a friend who coached a team. It was cold (below 40) and raining (a sleety mix by the end) and I didn’t die. Heck, I didn’t even whine too much. The last few steep hills made me almost thankful for the cooler air. But that is nothing, at least in my mind, compared to a snow covered ground and bitter cold. I’ve sprained my ankle tripping twice in the summer in the last 5 years. I’m a menace on dry ground. I have visions of slipping and sliding. Of lying in a snow mound on the side of the road, packing ice and snow around a sprained limb, my fingertips and toes burning with cold, wishing I’d run with my cell phone as I wait for some kindly stranger to stop and help. You’d think I was heading out on an arctic expedition and not just a 3-mile run. In my head, they’ve never been too far off.

As I watched the wind whip snow into a frenzy, flakes from the ground and sky eddying around street lamps and signs from the warmth of my couch yesterday, I looked up from my book when I heard my partner say, “Holy crap.” My partner is a runner too. She trained through the winter last year (I am still in awe of this) and even grew to love running in the snow (she’s dragging me out later too…head cold be damned). She was at a complete loss for words and simply pointed out the window. I noted that I hadn’t seen the train of male runners, a group of 5-6 men who always came by around the same time, though I cannot tell if they are officially running together. All but two of them might have been single, solitary runners. I did not see the woman who we cheer on as she chugs past the house. We do not care about her speed, we only care that she is out there. I want to tell her to knock on the door and get me out there with her most days. What we did see, or rather who, is one woman who runs sometimes twice a day. Sometimes with a stroller. But she is always out there. Always running. We let out a collective shiver and said, in unison, “Hell no.” But she was out there, running in that blizzard. That’s either dedication or insanity. Neither of which I seem to have, or at least not enough of either to go run in what passes in my mind as the Tundra.

What does sound like fun to me, on a cold day, is running on a track indoors. Though I am not a sprinter, and arguably not a runner, but a jogger (I’ve yet to figure out what distinguishes the two), I do love to watch folks who do it well, and do it effortlessly. I do like to watch a race.

You’ll find folks who like to run outside, inside, sprint and distance, at the Finger Lakes Runners Club sponsored Indoor Track Meet at Barton Hall on Cornell’s campus on Sunday, January 8th, starting at 9am. Whether you want to run/race, watch, support a runner, head on over and check out what’s becoming a big event here in Ithaca. In the past runners have come from all over New York and Pennsylvania, with a few folks calling California and Maryland home. From a 3K to the relay, there’s sure to be an event to pique your interest. Perhaps enough to get you running, just maybe not in a blizzard.

Jennifer B. Brown is a Contributor to The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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