Run of the Day

Posted on August 19, 2012

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I figure I may as well write at least one post that is an excrutiatingly detailed account of  a daily run.  The type of detailed account which bores non-runners to tears, yet clearly defines my amateur status to those “serious runners.” No matter how long you have been running or how many races you’ve done, there are always the “serious runners” out there who make it seem as if you are nowhere near the inside track, as if you’d gotten an ‘F’ in Running 101 and are not privy to some serious insider knowledge known only to their kind.

So here is today’s run.  I decide to run to my friend Liz’s house, since she just moved into town and we have all of these trails that connect our neighborhoods, but have yet to explore the many ways in which to traverse them back and forth. Today I decide to try a new way.

I have a few different types of runs I’ll do.  The first and most common is the Tobacco trail run with the double jogger.  The Tobacco trail is a beautiful paved path with a dotted yellow center line that meets my backyard and goes for miles, miles and miles.  One of its best features is that it is both flat and shady, especially when pushing two kids in a bus stroller.  I’ll run the ATT (American Tobacco Trail) solo on a day when it is hot and I really want to fly. I am more likely to do my distance runs here, anywhere from 6-10 miles, although my usual daily jaunt is around 4.

For a more challenging run, I’ll hit the Woodcroft trails.  Also leading right out my (front) door, and also beautiful, the Woodcroft trails are a bit more challenging as they contain a rollercoaster of hills.  This is usually a solo run, but occasionally I’ll do it with the stroller when I am feeling like a superhero, and am doing a shorter run. Bringing the stroller means that when running uphill, I need my kids to yell encouragement as I dig in my hills and push with all my might so that I can ‘run’ at at least 1 mile per hour. It does not happen very often.

The third type is when I come up with any number of reasons why I shouldn’t be outside and I haul over to the gym to hit the treadmill.  This is where most of my crazy comes out, since I can see and adjust my speed and pace throughout my run.  I come up with all sorts of power cycles of speeds and really wear myself out.  I also must look insane because I have a bad habit of not being aware that I sing with my headphones on.  I’m sure it sounds great, as a serious of disconnected grunts and chorus pieces.  Not to mention I sweat in unseemly places, clearly outlining my privates.  Yep. I’m a bra and crotch sweater, hot stuff. ( I deeply apologize to my male readers, but it happens.) Oh, I do need to relate a very funny sweat story in another post soon, but today’s not the day.

Back to the run of TODAY. I decide to run the back length of the Woodcroft trail to the clubhouse, (1mile) and around the pool.  Instead of coming back the front Woodcroft trail then cutting through at the fitness stations (mile 2) and then back up the back trail home (last 11/2), which is mostly a massive and slow uphill climb, I figure that I will continue up Woodcroft and cross over on a new unexplored trail that cuts across to Liz’s neighborhood.  Allrighty!

I start out the back trail feeling great, unfettered by any passengers since it is my husband’s day off. Freedom! I feel wonderful! I’m getting my footing, cruising along listening to Blondie’s “Maria.”  As soon as I hit the base of the first starter hill, my Blondie Pandora station kicks in to Joan Jett’s “I love Rock and Roll!” right when I need it.  Awesome start!  Straight into the Clash as I pass a bunny (I love our neighborhood) and fly downhill. I hit the pool in record time!

I had mapped ahead to know where to go on the new trail, so I take a left instead of heading back home and cross over to the Third Fork Creek Trail. Exciting new territory! I check my pace, slowing a tad since I think I may be getting ahead of myself and it’s pretty hot, so I don’t want to crash and burn.  This trail is calm, flat and I see no one for an entire mile.  All you see is vegetation, no backs of houses or streets in sight. Did I say it was flat?  Oh yeah!  Maybe I found a way to cheat my straight uphill return trek. (You see how this clearly makes no sense, what with the whole What-comes-up-must-come-down logic?)

I get paid in awesome songs one after another and feel very proud of myself for today’s Pandora station choice.  I start wondering if I’d looked at the map right because I seem to still be running on this short “cut through” trail.  Aha!  There it is!  I must be about to breach into the next neighborhood.  I do!  As I head left onto Roxboro street, I notice it looks like it might go a little bit uphill, but that’s fine, I have had a nice cruise so far so I can handle a little hill. Ha Ha HA HA HA!

Roxboro is not so shady. The path is more sidewalk than paved like a road, so my old knees and shins feel the slight shift in impact.  I make it up the hill and see it start to level off, phew! Then there is a sharp uphill a little off road into some trees, well, at least it is shady.  This is a very steep, but short incline so I attack it, hearing my highschool cross country coach yelling “Charge the Hills!” like I do every time I’ve hit an incline in the past 20 years. (Thanks Coach McLean!)  It levels off quickly then drops back down in the same fashion, out of the trees and streetside again.  Then a slow steady uphill. That lasts for days. With no shade.  Here comes the crash and burn part of that rocket charged start.  My mind searches for the memory of the map (I certainly can’t use up any energy to start messing with my phone to look it up in the middle of this hill) and I wonder when I am going to hit Liz’s street. Was it one or two or three streets past the clubhouse? And where is the clubhouse? Or isn’t it a Y now? I level out, phew! and before I know it, I’m passing the clubhouse YMCA. then, to my amazement, I am coasting downhill!  Hooray! I’ve done it!

Not so fast! This brief downhill interlude drops me off right at the bottom of a cliff.  Gasp!  Coach McLean’s voice sounds very, very far away.  I hear Journey start off on my Pandora (how’d you make it to the Blondie station?) and again with the messing of the phone and the hill, I just have to endure it.  Look, no argument, great song, I love Glee and all, but haven’t we all just HEARD IT ENOUGH??? (Sorry, Steve Perry.)

But man, when I am hitting the weakest part of my run, and I am feeling all hope is almost lost (should I just call it well done and walk?) I have to surrender. I keep my pace steady as I climb, cheered on by the lyrics. I DIDN’T STOP believing, and I DID hold on to that feeling! Whoo hoo! I finish that hill and see the street sign for my friend’s road! I flatten out and turn onto her street, which again goes straight the you-know-what uphill (I don’t remember her house being this far down the street!) and realize that I am the Champion of the World. (Great timing, Queen!)

Thankfully, I had informed Liz I was on my way and she was kind with a glass of water at the ready, which was more than welcome since I’d unwittingly already added a mile to my run.  The return leg was on a different unexplored portion of path that was much more directly connected to my house, so I probably only had about a mile and a half left to go. I took her offer for a ride home anyway.

So runners old and new, seasoned and fresh, Don’t Stop Believeing in yourself, even when the Tide is High.  You Love Rock and Roll, and you are the Champion of the World. And if the day is extremely hot and you have already run further than you intended, and someone is right there with a car…you know what to do.

Happy Running!

Feel free to share your favorite Pandora station or favorite run!

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Posted in: Get OUt There