As it’s gotten to the end of the year, I’ve had a lot of boring, workaday runs. The winter is a time where I elected to reduce my mileage back to a 15-20 mile level with only 3 runs. All of those are run at an easy pace. Not much to write about, when I get out, punch the clock for 45 minutes to an hour, and come home. Even the long runs, at only about 8 miles, haven’t been much worth discussing.
Also, with that year end coming, I’ve got some vacation that I need to burn. (Ford vacation is use-it-or-lose-it annually) So I took this past Friday off, and on that occasion, had the opportunity to have a run worth talking about.
I woke up late, ate some delicious peanut butter & brown sugar oatmeal, and considered running longer than my 5 miles, in support of the quest for 1000 miles in 2011. With a relatively light breakfast and having risen late, I decided that running out for lunch would be a good idea. I set out, dressed lightly and carrying a water bottle and my wallet. Sadly, my ‘dressed lightly’ was a bit too light, and I had to turn around about a 1/4 mile frmo home to change my gloves and hat out for more reliable ones. The gloves were too light, and the hat, a knit cap from my Stomp the Grapes Half Marathon was just too loose for running.
After that false start, which padded an extra half mile on, I ran 3.5 miles to the local diner, Dimitri’s Kitchen, where Steph and I eat breakfast nearly every Saturday morning. It felt good to swing in to a familiar spot and settle in with a cup of coffee right in the middle of a long run. Slightly self conscious, and a little bit cold, in my sweaty running gear, I enjoyed a turkey club (Dimitri’s has, bar none, the best turkey club I’ve ever had) and and a few of those cups of coffee. A few people around me in the diner were marveling at my having run in for a little lunch, but they may have just been trying to think of something to say besides, “Phew, what’s that smell?”. Then, fortified by my meal, I ran back home, for a total of 7.5 miles. I wouldn’t want to stop in the middle of a race to eat a big heavy meal and down three cups of coffee, and my stomach did protest a little when my body demanded we send blood-flow to my legs in lieu of my digestive tract, but overall it was a very good experience, and a nice, active way to spend a few hours of a vacation day.
Then, Sunday, probably inspired by that unusual and somewhat invigorating run, I elected not to run just a 8-9 mile out-and-back or loop, but instead to explore the I275 Metro Bike Trail which I’ve seen increasingly promising construction and enhancement of. However, to see much of that, I had to have Steph drop me off and pick me up for a point to point run.
Having braved a grey morning so far, I dolled up in a similar outfit to Friday, unsure that the promised break in the clouds would materialize. When it did, about 4.5 miles into my nine mile run, I found myself shedding clothes and festooning my camelbak with shed layers. The overall run was amazing, 9 miles at a brisk but not forceful 9:30 pace, with winter sunshine in abundance. I always enjoy point-to-point runs; while you can’t beat the convenience of a loop or the predictability and reliability of an out-and-back, there is something amazing about the feeling of really transporting yourself somewhere quite far away on your own two legs. At the risk of abusing an oft repeated cliche, if you’d told me a year ago that I’d be travelling in an unexpected way from Hannan Rd & South Service Drive up to the shopping centers on Ford Road, I would have been more willing to believe I’d fly there on a winged pony than that I’d run the whole way in 90 minutes.
Overall, it was nice to have two memorable runs in the books. With the extra miles from those, I think I’ve got a plan on the books for the holidays that will get me to 1000 miles in 2011. I’ll keep you posted!