Finished my 12-miler this afternoon and now as my reward I’m lounging the rest of the day in my sweats watching the ACC basketball game. Life doesn’t get much better than this. I am home again so rather than do a country road run I decided to go into the next town so that I would be running less on the streets with little to no shoulder and more through the neighborhoods. Yet, there is no getting around the fact that I grew up in a rural area because I still saw two dead animals along the way! Ugh…I hate that so much…but you know even in Northern Virginia I see that during runs (last week it was a dead rat) and my running buddy will tell you that I nearly jumped out of my sneakers!
Anywho, my trek started on the very outskirts of town, around the beautiful Memorial Lake (where my dad used to take my brother and I as kids to feed the geese), down through the heart of town and then out past town just a little bit. From there I turned around and ran through a small neighborhood where one of my girlfriends used to live. Then I made my way into the recreation park. There is a great running course loop that is a little over a mile. Running here always brings back a flood of memories. From that hot summer day that I played my first soccer game (age 7) as goalie and so many more practice sessions and games that followed. Passing the softball fields I could hear “Put Me in Coach” playing as I visualized my 13-year old self jogging out to my position at left field. Further up the field was the boys’ majors field and I remember quite vividly my younger brother taking his spot behind home plate as the catcher. Running around this field is not just bitter-sweet, but also a little sad too. There are so many benches throughout the park that are placed in honor of someone–and so many of those someones were people that I knew from high school or other familiar last names that you know when you are from small town America. Always puts me in a humble frame of mind as I remember those individuals fondly and remember to thank God how truly blessed my life has been.
After seeing some family friends jog by in the opposite direction, I was nearing mile 7. Time to trek through some neighborhoods. I zig zagged back and forth down different blocks and decided to make a quick stop at my friend’s house. She was cleaning but I figured it would be a nice chance to see her wonderful home improvements that she and her fiance have completed in just a short period of time (added side note I am in this friend’s wedding in June). Before my body cooled down too much I was back on the road–legs hurting especially the side of my knee (darn IT band). A lemon-orange energy gel kept me going at mile 10 and then it was time for a trek down another neighborhood and back up towards my high school. Quick glance towards the old fields where I played soccer and I was nearing the home stretch.
Overall a good run to top off my longest run since last October’s marathon. I think I’m in good shape for the half in two weeks. My speed may not be quite where I was hoping to get, but I’m ready regardless to at least finish the race. I’m even more ready for spring running season!