Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Sunday Morning on Monday Night

Last night's long run was one of those runs that reminds you why you do this in the first place. It's funny how all day long you can dread a run and then when you're out there running you feel heavenly, much to your great surprise!

After work, mrp and I headed down to Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Last summer, we'd go here to do long runs every Sunday morning and then go to Bob's for breakfast. Mrp is such a trooper, letting me drag him all over creation and suck up much of his time on a Monday night so I can follow through with my obssession. Heh. Ok, but really, he goes out of his way to facilitate my training and I appreciate it immensely. Anyway, at CVNP there is a wonderful towpath that I LOVE running my long runs on. It is the perfect surface and pretty flat and had mile markers (although many if not most are way off). Last weekend, the top of my right calf was acting up (the popliteus to be exact). This muscle is engaged on down-hills so I really wanted to avoid serious hillage last night, so the towpath was where I needed to go.

The first few miles were a little rough. I was running around 8:05-8:10 pace from the start. I felt kind of stiff and I'd look at my watch astonished that only 90 seconds had passed from the last time I looked. But, by about mile 3 or so I started settling into the pace and feeling pretty darn good. The sun was lowering in the sky and everything looked so golden and beautiful. Plus, the air was not hot or dense with humidity. It was slightly breezy and just perfect. Around 4.5 miles I passed a bunch of shirtless high school boys getting ready to get in a summer run. Even though I was clipping along pretty good relative for me, I knew it was just a matter of minutes before their swarm swallowed me up and left me in their (literal--it's dry out there!) dust.

After about a quarter mile, the first group of three went flying by. Then after about a half-mile the next group of three went by. It wasn't for another mile that the next couple of kids went by. Finally, at about a mile and a half, the last group of three went by. I noticed the groups of boys got less and less in shape--not that I was looking at them LIKE THAT, mind you. I just thought it was kind of funny (but not surprising) that the fastest were very lean and by the last group there was a little baby fat clinging to the middle. It was also kind of funny that after these last two groups passed me they must have slowed down because I started catching back up to them before I turned around. Nothing like a running lady to inspire young men to run a little faster!

As I made my way back, I was just feeling so nice. I admired the tall tassled corn in the field on my right. Then I admired the happy little duck family swimming in the sparkling river. As I made my way closer to the finish I saw a deer wading in the river along side some geese. Looked like they were all hanging out together. As I went along I got more and more excited about having such a good run, that before I knew it my splits were getting increasingly faster. I clipped off 7:40/7:30 pace for the last 3.5 miles and hardly felt tired when I was done. Last summer, that would have been a very hard push at the end of a long run where I would have finished huffing and puffing and counting the seconds until I could stop. This summer, it felt almost effortless and I didn't want to stop! Running is definitely something for which hard work pays off and that is something I really love about it.

After the run, mrp and I headed up to Bob's for some good eats and to pay our deepest respects to the man who makes all our breakfasty dreams come true. RIP Bob.


Quinto Sol said...

Popli..what? Salty - I really, really enjoy reading your blog... you really know how to spice up a tale...

One would think runners actually enjoy what they do :o)

Joe said...

Sounds like a fun run. I'm envious. However, swimming in this summer heat has been very refreshing.