Sunday, October 25, 2009

Solitary Runner

This weekend was one "for the ladies." With Jared out of town on a 5-day backpacking trip, the house was done to just me and Copley, our Danish lady. Copley's needs are relatively simple: food, water, exercise, and some attention/affection.

Mine are just as simple, but without the presence of my beloved, some changes had to be made for the long weekend. First, food--I shopped, and actually cooked for myself for 5 days. (That said, keeping in mind, when cooking for one, there's always leftovers.) Second, water--easy enough, and it turns out that you can actually make a Tom&Jerry for one. It's just a little difficult to whip that small an amount of egg.

Three, exercise--and here's where we get to the blogging points. Wednesday I played hoops with my fellow Bayside Tigers (Zack Morris, eat your heart out). Unfortunately we lost to a decent team--one that wasn't 50 points better than us decent, but hey, that's how the cards fall sometimes, when the shots don't.

Thursday, I tucked a tired Copley into her crate and headed out for a quick 4 miles or so up and down Mass Ave, before heading out for groceries.

Saturday, at long last, I was willing and ready to head out for a long run, despite the weatherman's threat of rain. Luckily B and Noah were willing to join me for the first half of the run, and the conversation made the miles fly by. I was happy to spy George along the water's edge, and surprised, having thought he'd have long gone south to warmer climes.

The second 4-mile lap brought me running solo, with B and Noah heading back to Charlestown, and a sudden fulfillment of the weatherman's promise. The rain opened up at the onset of Mile 5, and continued unabated for the duration of my run along the river. By the end of the 8th mile, I was soaked through, with water running off my cheekbones, and along my neck and collarbones.

I wish, of course, that my beloved had been there with me for those rainy miles. There is something elemental about running in the rain, something that makes the miles seem like something more. I truly enjoyed this run, too--the rain was soft, but heavy, and warm, despite it being October.

But at long last, Jared will be back this afternoon, and I'll have my favorite running buddy back. I'll tell him about running this weekend without him, about cooking, taking Copley to the park in the rain, making a single Tom&Jerry, shopping for work things, and trying on my wedding dress.

It's odd--for years, 90% of my life, in fact, I was certain I was a somewhat solitary creature by nature. But it turns out (happily, I might add) that everything, running included, is better with a loved one. My mother describes it as "when sorrows are halved, and joys are doubled." Jared is this for me, and I know my runs of this weekend will have been all the better when I can share their details with him.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Runs, and Runs, and Runs

Well, last week's 10-miler turned it into an 8.6-miler, due to an unfortunate (or fortunate?) miscalculation of the turnaround point of the Loch Ness Loop. Poor Lochie, turns out we docked part of the poor beast's tail--at least I hope it was his tail...though I suspect that end of the run is actually the head of the monster...

The first few days of the week were a hodgepodge of good intentions, and one cancelled hoops game for me. By Thursday, I was jonesing for a run, as was my beloved, and we clocked a quick 4 miles or so. Friday, we planned to run the 4 miles or so to the gym to play some hoops, but a long workday and the promise of delicious dinner out cut us short, at about 2 miles--though with Copley along for the ride, and a quick stop at Marathon Sports to stock up on Gu, the miles were good ones. (Note: The delicious dinner after took place at Bertucci's--a seafood medley/pasta for me, Chicken Saltimboca for JRizzle. Later we saw Where the Wild Things Are, and enjoyed a shared dessert of Swedish Fish and Milk Duds. Ah, bliss...)

Saturday was a day of rest, or at least a day of errands. By the time I'd picked up Jared from his pre-backpacking trip meeting downtown, we were both ravenous, but set on finishing up our errands. When we finally headed home, complete with a new set of hiking boots and a raincoat for my beloved, we were pooped. Even the dog was exhausted, as after leaving the dog park, she groaned and galumphed in a token manner, before finally burrowing down onto the cushiony pile of backpacking supplied in the back.

Sunday broke, and with it...the heavens opened. We crawled out of a warm bed only to find that our outdoor long run was going to be a no-go. Still, not to be thwarted, we bundled up and headed for the CAC, where we dutifully got into side-by-side treadmills and started banging out miles.

Within a few, we'd realized the "Random" setting would better be named as "Cruel and So Senselessly Hilly That a Flat, Rainy Run Would Be a Blessing." By 4 or 5 miles, though, I'd settled into my stride enough to start suggesting to my better half that we continue on for the whole of the 11 miles (our original plan had been to run the maximum time on the treadmill, 6 or so miles, then switch to an elliptical so we could do the reading for our Tuesday marriage course). Jared did not seem keen.

But by the sixth mile, he too, was enjoying the effort of our newfound tough setting, and was amenable to getting in the miles in the best possible training manner--after all, you have to run to run. (Deep. I know.)

The last mile was hard, harder than either of us liked, as last week's shortened long run caught up with us. When we finished, however, I turned to my beloved, and feeling great (if tired and sore), knew that we had made the right choice and at last gotten in a solid training run. He felt the same, and after a long stretch, it was toward coffee, home, and some leftover broccoli-cheese soup for the both of us.

Next week we taper--Jared is off for five days of cold wilderness hiking next weekend, where he'll be getting plenty of exercise (20 miles with a heavy pack), meaning it'll be just Copley and I on the home front. Then it's one more long run with my beloved, and it's on us--the Seacoast half. Wish us luck:)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Why Is That Bear on a Chain?

It's been two weeks since I last blogged--but never fear, unlike the lazy summer months, I HAVE actually been hauling my sorry carcass out for some miles. Last week saw a few short runs during the week, and a surprisingly less than deadly dull 9 on the elliptical, as I rested my sore right foot.

This week, in honor the rest/discretion plan (and to avoid another long "run" on the elliptical) I didn't log too many miles--about 5.5 to be exact (though to be fair, as soon as Jared wakes up, we'll be heading out for the long one today). The first one was a short 1.5, and since we weren't going far, Jared manage to finagle me into bringing along Copley.

The highlight of this little dash was when we passed a group of tweens near the T-stop, only to hear one of them question another, "Why is that bear on a chain?" I mean really, Copley may be large, but anyone can see she's a delicate flower.

But that got me thinking about the odd or interesting things I've seen or heard on a run...
  • "Nice weather we're having." Me, to a fellow runner, while running along the coast in a sleet storm.
  • "Cam is a pothead." In the bathroom stall of a the movie theater in Arlington.
  • "I thought we were the only ones out here!" Two runners waving hello to us on Jared's 31st birthday, when I made him run 9 miles in a blizzard.
  • George, the blue heron we've seen several times along the Charles River.
  • "Look at the Gingerbread man!" Jared or I, to the other, at last year's Somerville Turkey Trot.
  • A man crapping behind a tree in the first five miles of the Boston Marathon.
Anything can happen, I guess. I'm sure that any number of odd things will pop up, too, as Jared and I kick off RunBoston, but that's part of what makes it interesting.

But now I hear my slumbering beloved stirring, and that means its time to get dressed and ready for some miles--10 to be exact, 10 miles we'll be logging on the Loch Ness Loop before heading off to the Garden for a Celtics game, then back home for chilli and football. A great day in the making...