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Today's fix (Read 1043 times)

    At 5:18 a.m. I am awakened to the sound of...U2? Not sure, I quickly slam it off to avoid waking the baby and my wife. Normally I don't need the alarm so I must be tired...I lay blinking and remembering a 2 a.m. visit with my 3 y.o., who was having trouble sleeping due to a cold. Ever so briefly I contemplate bunking it, but decide that that will do me no good. "Runners run," I whisper the mantra that I have used since...I can't remember when. I sit up. I reach for my glasses and watch and I slowly make my way in the dark toward the bathroom, grabbing my running clothes off the corner of my dresser on the way by. Contacts in eyes, running clothes on body, I creep down the stairs as quietly as is humanly possible on a cold, dark 100 year-old set of wooden steps. In the kitchen I quietly shut the creaky old door to the stairs. I drink my water, tie my sneaks, do my pushups and crunches on the living room floor, check the outside temp (27F!) and grab a jacket and gloves. Out the door. The first step into the dark takes my breath away. It's the coldest morning of the season so far. The sky is still pure black with a hint of purple to the East. I walk down the hill to Summer Ave, turn left, start my watch and I am running. Slowly at first. Keeping my arms close to my body and hands clenched to conserve heat. The cold is making my eyes water but I soon adjust. I turn down Prescott Street under the greenish red glow of the traffic light. I haven't passed a car yet, but I've seen one other runner. At the bottom of Prescott, I run through the train depot where a handful of commuters are waiting for the 6 a.m. to North Station. I cross the tracks and head up Haven Street past the Hood truck making its daily delivery to the Atlantic Market. Up the small hill on Haven Street, I turn left onto Main and into the town square, where I am treated to an early morning light show--the DPW has strung the Christmas lights and are testing them in advance of this weekends tree lighting. At the alleyway between CVS and the Wine Shoppe, I check my 1-mile split. Faster than normal, because my legs are fresh from inactivity. I've enjoyed my post-half marathon recovery. Across Woburn Street and past the Town Hall, I turn onto Lowell, cross the street past the ancient Laurel Hill Cemetery, home to Revolutionary War heroes and my uncle, an ex-Marine chopper pilot from the Vietnam era. Right on Highland and up a small hill and I am getting warmed up. The stride is feeling fluid and easy now. My hands are no longer numb. I love the sound of the cold. Every sound is crisper in cold, dense air. My footsteps on the frozen pavement crackle in my ears and the branches of barren trees rub together making a clacking sound. I pass my friend Chris' house and nobody is up. All windows are dark and both cars are in the driveway. I guess Chris isn't going in early today. Right turn on John Carver and a quick lefto onto Intervale and I am at 2-miles. I'm totally warmed up now. The only cold parts are the end of my nose and the tips of my ears. Everything else is toasty. My stride is quick and light. I cross Lowell again at Willow and this time there is some traffic. I have to wait a few seconds for the light to turn. Up willow and over the tracks again I'm back on my side of town. I pass the prep school and approach the bottom of West, and the biggest hill on this route. The legs are like springs, so I decide to turn them loose a bit for the last 3 miles. Up West hill I charge effortlessly, cresting the hill and keeping turnover. Along my favorite dirt sidewalk I focus on turnover and staying relaxed. My breathing is a bit faster now, but still calm. Down a slight hill now and left past the new apartment complex I turn onto South, under 2 miles from home. I am rolling pretty good now. Up South I crest the 2nd biggest hill as if it isn't even there and maintain turnover down the other side, past Sturgess Park and up then next rise onto Walnut. This is my favorite stretch of road on this loop. A relentless set of small rolling hills on a winding, narrow, road with small, well-kept homes spread out as though we are in the countryside. Up the last rise on Walnut I turn onto Hopkins past the "half-mile-to-go" Oak tree and down a small hill to the hard left onto Summer. The sky is now a deep blue-ish purple with pink in the East. At the Eaton School I slow, not wanting the run to end. Ahead of me is a quick breakfast with my favorite 3 y.o., there is a hot--but too short--shower, a 13 mile slogfest of a commute, a brisk walk and busy workday. There are phone calls and emails. There are meetings and demos. There is noise and clatter. There are disagreements and resolutions. Handshakes and highfives. But I don't know about any of that right now. All I know is this cold air and this smooth road and the beauty and perfection of This Perfect Run.

    Runners run.

    RunningHammer


      If I was religious, i'd say a big "AMEN" to that! Big grin
      Scout7


      CPT Curmudgeon

        If I was religious, i'd say a big "AMEN" to that! Big grin
        Some might say it is... Amen.
          Well done, Mike. That's what it is.


          You'll ruin your knees!

            I could write a very similar report, adding only one line to the end.... that line would be..."At 5:28 a.m. I am awakened to the sound of...U2? Not sure, I quickly slam it off, realizing I had just dreamed about the perfect run" Confused Thanks Mike, it's those kind of runs that keep us coming back! How it should be... Lynn B

            ""...the truth that someday, you will go for your last run. But not today—today you got to run." - Matt Crownover (after Western States)

              Great writing, mikeymike! Felt like I was along for the run (ok, probably trailing behind, but I was there...).
              My Masters (>50) Race PR's: 5K - 20:17 10K - 42:36 HM - 1:31:22 Marathon - 3:20:48
                Thanks, Mike. Big grin I enjoyed that.

                Roads were made for journeys...

                  That was actually beautiful. Especially this:
                  "Runners run," I whisper ...
                  Also a fascinating peek at urban running, something that sounds pretty different to a suburban or rural runner. Every time I've been in Manhattan I've sorta marvelled at the running possibilities. Never bean to Boston. (Like that typo?) Is the above your regular route? Is some of it on the route of the Boston marathon? If so, how cool is that?
                  E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
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                  My dogs are fast, not me

                    Thanks for the inspiration, Mike. I blew off my run this morning (supposed to do 2 miles, 2 days before a race) because it was 27 degrees in Memphis at 5:30 am. In order to ease my guilt, I ran 2 at lunch at a much more temperate 55 degrees. Robin
                    Robin
                      Also a fascinating peek at urban running, something that sounds pretty different to a suburban or rural runner. Every time I've been in Manhattan I've sorta marvelled at the running possibilities. Never bean to Boston. (Like that typo?) Is the above your regular route? Is some of it on the route of the Boston marathon? If so, how cool is that?
                      Well, in the interest of full disclosure, I am not actually in the city of Boston...er, well I am right now but that's because I'm at work. I actually live in the 'burbs--as you might guess--13 miles north of town. I just say "Boston" in my profile to make it a tad harder for any crazy internet stalkers to find me. A tad since all my maps are public right now and it would take a crazy about 30 seconds to pinpoint my exact starting point for most of my runs. So the above is a suburban run though this particular route, which is one of my regular loops, does take me through the center of town and has some more "urban" elements to it. I like urban running and I occasionally run from work--I'll do so a lot more often now that we've moved into new office space with showers. (so happy!) But my office is over by the South Boston waterfront and not near the marathon course. I travel to Manhattan occasionally as well. I love running there. If I'm in midtown I usually make my way toward Central Park so you get a mix of real city running then some park running, which is more like the burbs but with more people. Thanks, all, for your encouraging words. It definitely one of those "ones that bring you back."

                      Runners run.

                        Thanks for that! I used to live just a bit south of there in Somerville and used to ride my bike up by those parts. As much as I enjoy the 80+ degree weather we've been having in Phoenix, there's a part of me that misses crisp New England fallish/winter days.
                          I used to live in Hopkinton and even though I love California weather I miss New England especially in the autumn. But come November I am happy to run in temps above freezing. Early morning runs are very special. Thanks for sharing your run with us.
                          I would rather wear out than rust out. - Helen Klein You create your own universe as you go along. - Winston Churchill
                            There I go assuming. For some reason the fact that you mentioned an "alley," plus all those cool very Boston-ish sounding street names made me think you were running right in town. Like they don't have alleys in the burbs. Roll eyes I'm a dummy. Have you run Boston, by the way? I was assuming you had, but that assuming thing seems like a bad habit. That would be very cool to actually be familiar with the route.
                            E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
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                              Jake: I have run Boston three times. And as much as I've sworn off that race every time I've crossed the finish line, I know I will be back. It is the only Big City marathon I have run and, for now, the only one I want to run. Maybe when my kids are older I will try Chicago and I'd love to run London or Rotterdam and maybe New York, but it's tough to beat one of the worlds great marathons right in your own back yard. In the back of my mind right now I'm thinking 2008, which would mean I'd need to run a qualifier next fall. It is nice to have the race course nearby--I used to live in Newton and my wife--before we were married--lived in Brighton, so I used to do a lot of runs on the Newton Hills. And the first couple of times I ran it, I did a few long runs on large sections of the course. There is some psychological advantage to knowing the course, but at the end of the day Boston is like most non-pancake-flat marathon courses in that it just requires that you show up really fit to race and don't go out too fast. If you can do both of those things you can run fast at Boston. It's a challenging course but it can be a fast course. SkBunny: I lived in Northern California for a couple of years and used to love running in the foothills. Rancho San Antonio park was a few miles from where I lived (Sunnyvale/Mountain view) and had just miles and miles of smooth dirt trails with big climbs and great views. The biggest difference in geography between Boston and the Bay Area is how out there it is just incredible urban sprawl right up to the edge of the valley--and then nothing. You have total wilderness within a 5 minutes of major population. Whereas here everything was developed more organically so there are no big swaths of wilderness, but no big swaths of sprawl without pockets of nature either. Most of my town, from the air, looks like a forest but it is total suburbia. For the most part I like it here better, probably because it is what I know, but there are some advantages to the way a lot of California was developed. Being able to get out into the middle of NOWHERE really quickly was awesome.

                              Runners run.

                                Hah! I used to run around Rancho San Antonio too - I lived in Los Altos for a bit.
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