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

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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You are going to make a lot of people want to run today. And probably strip from the waist up, too.


Well, I didn't run, but I did work out for the first time since I had my tonsils removed two weeks ago. I felt the same way. I was tired, but I wanted to kick off the New Year right! And today I will be running. It will be on the treadmill, and slow, but it feels good to be back on a training schedule with my next half-marathon just two months away!

And while I don't comment often, I do love your (and Amy's) posts! So helpful and encouraging!


I didn't run on New Years Day even though I had the best intentions. This post has motivated me to get out there today! Thanks Tom!


Great post, Tom! Glad you had a great run- this is fabulous motivation for me as I start my 2008 running today. Happy New Year and HELL YEAH!


I agree completely, Tom. Theres nothing like kicking off the new year with a solid run!


Wow. I can only imagine what people think as they see you stripping down in the frigid air. I think that's awesome! Great way to kick off the New Year!


I'm glad I could provide a bit of inspiration :)
Sounds like a fabulous run.


WOW!!! Good for you!!

T. Root

I really enjoyed reading this, Tom. Good for you. I'm glad you were able to start the new year off right with a run. Hope you have a great 2008!

Betsy Wasser

That is so cool. I think I'll keep my shirt on, though. The neighbors talk as it is.

William carter


I was laughing when I pictured you stripping down for a fabulous finish! It is traditions like this one that make running and the individual runs so memorable.

Thank you so much for your inspiration in 2007. I can't wait to meet you in Boston in April and do what runners love to do... talk about running!

Best of luck in '08.


Hey Tom - I tried this, sort of!!

After running on the treadmill in totally censored attire, I stepped out on the back deck with the dog. I gave you and the new year a good fist pump.

Thanks for all the inspiration and advice you gave me this year.


What a great story and a great run! I had to re-read the post to check if you'd stripped off all your clothes. Kind of relieved it was just from the waist up!

Happy New Year!


Database Diva

Thanks for sharing your New Year's run with us. Your story captures the joy of running. Sometimes when we've been "training", the joy gets forgotten. Wishing you many more fist pumping runs in 2008!

Laura Catherine

I am glad the tradition continued although I admit I thought you were on nuts when you texted me at 11 p.m. to tell me you were going running. You running fool. I love you!
Laura Catherine

Art Dinkin

Good job keeping up the tradition! After a few months of falling off the wagon, I too went out for a run New Years Day (but it was a balmy 9 when I ran and I kept fully dressed).

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