ROUND AND ROUND

I keep watching as Twitter implodes, and seeing Facebook further incinerate its relationship with legit news, and realizing that I’m not jumping to another social media network. I mean, I’m just tapped out.

It’s wild that the boomers latched onto Facebook as hard as they did, which makes sense since so many of their kids got tired of their racist, xenophobic shit, and got tired of hearing how they paid for college working a 12 hour a week summer job, but still… I just can’t imagine being 60 something and going, “you know what? I want to spend more time on a computer.”

So I keep optimizing (read: spending) for adventure. Bikes, more running gear, gas in the car to head to the hills. Even though I have to drive through some sketchy traffic to get to the park pictured above, it’s very worth it. A paved one mile loop with no cars? Sign me up.

Life is here, in front of me, and that’s just fine.

RIVER RAMBLING

The day started at 5:30am, as I had to get to a friend’s house, then up to the Delaware Water Gap for the 10th running of the River Ramble.

The weather report said there was a 7% chance of rain by 9am, but there was a light rain pretty much the entire time. And it was also like 65F, with 90% humidty.

Like, train all summer with the dreadful humidity then reap the rewards during races in the Fall when the humidity is supposed to be gone, but the air was thick and heavy. I was supposed to run the 10K route, but I knew at mile one I’d only be doing the 5K.

My pace went up at each mile (11:26 > 11:07 > 10:14), and averaged a 140bpm rate, so I was happy with all that.

Finished in 32:13, which is a 10:23/mile pace, which I’ll take since I haven’t ran that pace consistently in any of my running this year! I guess my slow mileage has paid off.

GOT INTO THE WOODS

The start of the run was a slog, it was cold, windy, and raining just a bit, too. But then I found a trail I never checked out before, and the next mile was between giant trees on fluffy pine needles, and then a bit of raised walkway over a bog.

Many runs lately have felt hard, so I walk a bit, get the heart rate down, and get back to it. A slow run just means more time outdoors.

Afterwards I stopped at Target, and I thought my car looked tiny compared to the truck parked in the nearby space. I don’t want to know how much it cost to fill up the gas tank on that thing.

COVER MODEL RUN

I was hungry, didn’t bring any water, and it was one of the warmest days of the year so far. Did my best to be present, appreciate the sounds and scenery, and head out 2.25 miles on the D&L Trail in South Bethlehem.

I ran into two young kids who were taking photos with their polaroid. When I came back I asked how the photo turned out, and it was blown out – you could only see my shorts! So they took another shot, and said I looked like I could be on the cover of Vouge. I did the whole Madonna “strike a pose” thing, which may have been lost on them given their age, but it was still a good time.

THE HOLY ERRAND

My friend is out west, and posted some amazing pics from the desert. The Grand Canyon. She desribed this adventyre as a holy errand, and that’s the first time I ever heard those two words together.

Holy errand.

I was out on my run tonight, on an old route. It’s always easy to to gauge the “success” of the run by the pace, the speed, the heart rate. Can I run to that tree without stopping? To the top of the hill?

Tonight was a holy errand. I heard crickets for the first time this year. Saw this amazing sky.

Pace? Distance? Eh. I was able to get to the top of some hills. Maybe not as fast as I would like, but I made it. And tomorrow I’ll do it again.

It’s a holy errand.

SPRING IS 28 DAYS AWAY

That means there are only 28 days remaining of winter, which honestly have been pretty rough. I’ve fought many bouts of the grumps which I’ve only handled by eating lots of cookies and taking advantage of all the food places within walking distance – pizza, Mexican food, cheese steaks, thai rice bowls, and DONUTS.

I finally put together back to back weeks of 14 miles running. I mean, I was in the single digits. Barely 10. But I kept running here and there. And now on Sunday I ran my first five miler in… forever. Took a solid hour, but whatever.

I’m never one to put too much stock in numbers and all that, but fuck it… we’re heading into our second spring during a fucking pandemic, so why not? As of Sunday, spring is 28 days away. About a month of the last few gasps of winter, of cold and darkness and wind. Onward to making some good things happen over the next 28 days.

GET UNCOMFORTABLE

Photo via Pixels

I’ve been sleeping like crap lately, and I finally figured it was time to buy a humidifier. I’ll save you any of the grim details that led to this choice, but today I reaped the rewards.

Similar to when I tried sleeping with an eye mask back in April, and had the Whoop to sort of prove it, the humidifier helped me sleep better, and today’s run was magic.

I haven’t had many magic runs lately.

It was cold, then it started to rain, and I wasn’t wearing my rain jacket. My gloves started to get saturated.

But like that line from Fight Club, the one about “when’s the last time you got in a fight,” when’s the last time I got caught in the rain? In gross conditions?

When’s the last time I purposely put myself in an uncomfortable spot?

Quite honestly, it’s been awhile, so today’s cold gross run was a perfect way to start the week.

The hot chocolate taste better after shoveling the drive way. The A/C is more refreshing after that run in 90F+ temps. Shit is just better when you stick your neck out a bit.

JUST KEPT MOVING

Not a personal record, not a fast day, but a day of control. Kept it close to the line of easy and too hard on a 10K run with the Delaware River rumbling in the distance. It peeked through the trees, powerfully ignoring me the whole time.

The beautiful fall foliage, lots of reds and yellows, paid no attention. Creeks babbled and paid me no mind.

Nearly 10 or so minutes off my PR, on my third effort here at the 2021 River Ramble, but it felt fine.

My bib was #80, and I came in 80th place. Perfect day.

Running to Stay Right Here

Tonight’s run was interrupted by a phone call from a dear friend. I was already out and about when I got the call, which I expected, and it was a good chat.

After about an hour on the phone, I got up and set off. I felt awful at first, since I had been sitting, but each mile was faster than the previous mile. I ran some unfamiliar streets, and it got dark, so I got to experience the first bit of running by street lights. I’m looking forward to more of that.

As I neared the end of my run ‘Here to Stay’ by Korn was playing, and that bridge part at the end got me stoked.

That final “GONNA BREAK IT” got me again. That got me running a little faster. Then ease it back, running down a hill, knowing another incline is coming.

I bolt up the first incline and have to rest at the next intersection. Heart screaming. I’m not out of breath, my legs aren’t shot, it’s just that my engine is at max RPMs and there’s no way to keep that effort.

Heart rate drops a bit, then I attack the next hill, because why not? I flame out 2/3rds of the way to the top, which is fine. I laugh to myself a bit. Grate at 45 to be doing this at all.

Finally reach the top and I see it. The big red mood, coming up over the horizon to the east. By this time it’s pretty dark. I dart down a side street with a lone street light. I see the moon. Just 12 or so hours earlier I watched the sun rise over that hill in the distance, from the same grave yard.

Something clicks, and I peel off another few quick bursts. Feels good, feels solid, and I keep it under control. Now I’m darting through the darkness. Now this is dangerous.

I round a corner towards my place, a nice 2.5% grade and just punch it. I cruise past a small crowd, a blur to my right. I just look up the hill, grateful I’m not running the entire thing.

I hit my parking lot and tap out.

There’s something about hitting your max. Hitting the limit.

Yeah, we hit limits with emails, with work, with bills, taxes… ahh, just gotta walk away!

But a physical limit. A point where there’s just nothing left. Where you taste the effort in your mouth.

Been talking a lot about mortality lately, with a lot of different people. And fuck, tomorrow ain’t a promise.

I ain’t got much, but I know tonights run was special, and that’ll stay with me.