Saturday, December 30, 2006

Finally, snow!

A beautiful day to get out and play in it. This morning I went running on the rail trail I frequent. I am learning that as the winter sets in, my normal parking spots shift as well. In the warmer months I park in a lot that is somewhat hidden and generally used as a boat launch. Apparently the launch is shut down come December, as I discovered when I went to turn in and was presented with a bright orange metal rod blocking the way. So I moved into the public parking spot about .5 miles away. My attempt to park there today was thwarted with another orange rod. So, with my seat heat turned to four (out of five), and the snow continuing to fall, I continued on down the road to find a new spot. After traveling down the slippery road for a mile or two and finding nothing, I came back to where I started and noticed a lot across the street... Parked there and prepped for a snowy trail run.

Many think that one of the most attractive aspects of running is the low entry price. All you need is a decent pair of shoes and you are off to the races. While true to a certain extent, this adage only takes you so far when the mercury drops. Cotton becomes the enemy, and the magic of high tech fabrics show they are worth the extra bucks it takes to purchase. Good socks are also a lifesaver, keeping your feet warm even when he snow slips in and turns to water...

That said, I'd like to take a moment to say thank you to my gear. Thank you socks. Thank you pants. Thank you vest (it's inaugural use!). Thank you shirt, which I have worn on basically every outdoor run in the past month. Thank you shoes. Thank you hat. Thank you gloves which, while only worn temporarily, were much appreciated before I was warm enough to stow them away. And, of course, thanks to the Nike+ gadget, which has been my training partner for months.

Does that make me a gear loving geek? Probably, but whatev. I love the stuff, and it kept me not too hot, not too cold. A Goldilocks moment, if you will.

After all that, I posted my best long run to date. Stats as follows:

Distance: 7.03 miles

Time: 1:09:46

Average Pace: 9:55 per mile

For me, that's fast. If I run the upcoming 1/2 marathon at a 10:15 pace I'll be very, very happy. Perhaps it was the colder weather that helped, or the sheer beauty of the surroundings, which held my focus the entire time.

Running any length of time is highly therapeutic for me. It's something I do for myself, and generally alone. The solitary nature of the activity allows me to be totally serious or totally goofy. I can listen to music that I wouldn't readily admit to having on my iPod (Shania Twain comes to mind), think about what is/is not going on in my life, or have a moment where I think the song is actually speaking to me. Yes, speaking to me... Today's lyric that caught my ear was from "Everybody Wants The Same Thing," off of the new Scissor Sisters album:

What is it that you want?
What is it that you give?
Where do you plan on finding it?
How do you want to live?

Love is what I want
Love is what I give
Right here's where I'm finding it
That's how I'm gonna live

This happened to be playing while I was running uphill in the woods, and I applied it at that moment to push me to run harder up the trail. I ignored the love part, and inserted a more general notion of carpe diem. When I got to the top of the hill, I admit I was pretty proud of myself.

Toward the tail end of the run, I saw a pair of mallards sleeping on the newly frozen lake. They didn't even budge when I ran my, perhaps because they couldn't hear my footfalls in the snow. Or maybe they were particularly tired. It was a sweet little moment, and it only underscored my feeling that every excursion has at least one moment that makes it worthwhile. That thought has yet to be disproven.

Once I got home, I showered and changed back into my pajamas. I loved being outside, and I equally love the idea of spending the rest of the day inside with the cats (P is yet again working a 30 hour shift at the hospital), doing nothing in particular. It's lovely.

Happy New Year!

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