There is a trail close to home, one that I thought I knew very well. I raced my friends there in high school. Every summer throughout college, I used it to break up my longer runs. It’s a 2.3 mile path, a circuit I’ve completed literally hundreds of times.
I knew where it offered shade, knew each slope in the land, knew places where water collects, knew where to sneak off to relieve myself. I had watched this path roll underfoot so many times that I can run it in the dark without fear.
It wasn’t until last week that I actually saw it.
For the first time in a while, I was running recreationally. I was out for the joy of running and nothing more. I could lift my eyes from the trail, derail myself from the established route. And when I did, I found that I hadn’t known this path at all.
I could wax romantic about the panorama that appeared there. I‘ll spare you. Suffice it to say that the lake had become more than an obstacle to circumvent, the valley slope more than a pattern of inclines and declines, and the path more than a fast surface. Suddenly my trail had become a pocket of beautiful nature, nestled in the Philadelphia suburbs.
Is this why people like trail running so much? Because I think I suddenly understand it.Share on Facebook
Four weeks, four snowstorms. It may not sound like a lot to some- a northern Vermonter, for example, might pause in goat-milking only long enough to snort dismissively at such weather. But around Philadelphia, that’s a lot of snow. Everyone’s weary of the whiteouts, especially those of us who leave the warmth of our home in footwear designed not for shoveling but for running.
But there is good news. This week’s storm (for the storms will continue) is only supposed to bring about two inches of snow. The jet stream must have been appeased somehow- somehow perhaps involving dancing and chicken-sacrifices.
I hope that this will allow for some overdue miles. Training should start with a 35-40 mile week (I’m a cautious optimist), and from there I can grind my way upward in mileage until I feel ready for the next meaningful race. Snow spirits allowing, of course.Share on Facebook
This morning at 10:00, The Blue Cross Broad Street Run began accepting registrants.
Do I have to tell you to sign up? This is the biggest 10-miler in the US, and for those who haven’t run it (are there any?), it’s a LOT of fun. It’s a fast course, you’re never alone, and Philadelphians make excellent cheerleaders. It’s also being capped at 30,000 runners; that may sound like a lot, but don’t put it off– trust me.Share on Facebook
This morning I met up with a friend to embark upon our third annual Art Museum run.
Every year we meet to run from our high school track to the Art Museum in Philadelphia, about 13 miles away. It was my friend who chose the Art Museum as our destination- I don’t know why; it seems arbitrary now. He probably just wanted to run up the stairs and wave his fists. Ah, tourists.
Three years ago, when the tradition started, 13 sounded like a lot of miles. By the time we’d reached the museum, we could do no more than crawl up the famous Rocky Steps.
This year, on the other hand, 13 miles just lacked that old satisfaction. I had done 15 miles for the last two Thursdays, making 13 seem like a breeze. We were also moving at a slow pace, to the point that when we reached the steps, I barely felt tired.
So after the usual route, I extended my run until it was 17 miles long- one of my longest distances ever. And that, that seems worthy of fist-waving.
P.S.: The chaffing has me walking bow-legged right now. Can anyone recommend a good lube for future long runs?Share on Facebook