I often think that I should devote an entire blog with this title to Ted Giesel. I have huge revelations about life everytime I go running, and it's largely related to where I get to go, and what I get to see. I have the hugest highs when I run. I think it's the one time in my life when I feel at true peace with myself and my world. It's as if I feel the true essence of life. When I'm not running, I spend so much time mapping out the courses I'm going to run, looking at race results, reading training schedules, perusing running articles, and uploading my courses from my garmin to Motion Based, so then I can watch where I've run and geek out at the elevation, the pace, the ratios of everything possible. I really love running.
Yesterday I had so much fun running. I paid for my run - literally. I paid to park in the parking lot where I started, because I had plans to hang out there when I was through and do some writing. (That was before I finished my run and found that I had 2 voicemails from my children's school - one from the nurse about child #2 who'd been in twice, and one from child #1 who needed her science fair project immediately.) But anyhow, I paid because it was at the Ballard Locks - I guess I could've looked harder for street parking. I started my run there, and headed out to disco park for some trail running ups and downs. I even got to play tag with the waves at the beach when I reached a bulkhead where the tide wasn't out far enough. I had to wait several times for the waves to come in, then go out so I could run past without soaking my feet. I ran along an empty beach toward a lighthouse without a soul in sight - really peaceful. I saw a couple people on the south beach - parents with kids actually, and I thought - 'wow, how cool that they trekked all the way down here with their kids. When I ran back through the locks it amazed me to see the different kinds of sights there: people with cameras, people cutting the grass, people going down the the observation room, tourists explaining to each other how it all worked, a boat ready to come through, the fish ladder, a train on the nearby trestle across the water . . I mean - here it is this amazing scientific creation, almost like a cool natural phenomenon that tourists come to see, and it's just the playground I go running in. How lucky is that? I could go here everyday and not get bored.
I often wonder about people who have homes on the water, or live with a view of the sea or the city - do they get bored of it? Do they take it for granted? I pass large condos when I run by the local beach often and I always wonder if the people in there come out on their balconies to enjoy the sunset or have a morning cup of coffee and read the paper. Do they come out just to watch life go by? I was running on the track recently early in the morning and there is an apartment building with a view of the track. As I rounded the corner one lap, I looked up to see an early riser with a bathrobe and a mug of something hot looking out the glass door, watching the day come alive. She was watching me and I was watching her watching me. Sort of an interesting thing.
The reason I was out running on the trails yesterday is because that specific location is part of a long run I have planned in a week. Like I said, I love to map out my courses. I don't usually drive them ahead of time, because I have some pretty amazingly accurate map software, but I was unsure of a couple of transistional areas of my route, and which trails I wanted to run through the park. I also wanted a back-up plan is case the locks are open when I'm there and I can't run across. The first several miles of my run go through downtown city streets along the water. As I drove along them yesterday, seeing people, cars, boats, traffic, etc. I got excited thinking how much quieter it will be when I run it, and how I'll get to see the city wake-up.
My long run last weekend was amazing. I ran from the SW area of the city to the NE area of the city. It was a 19 mile course, so I really got to see a lot. What really amazed me was the diversity I ran through in just one morning. If you think about it, every city has it's different districts, and mine is no different. From the industrial areas, to the historic downtown neighborhood, to the international areas, to the inner city, to the Lakefront with the manicured lawns and mansions, through a beautiful park with Japanese gardens, to the university area, to the trail where there were other people out running and biking - it really opens your eyes to the world out there. I got lost once and found a major hill - thought I was heading north when I was really going east, all because I got excited and detoured down a nature trail. When I got home and mapped out my course, it was fun to see the hills. I've always been afraid of a big hill on the local marathon course. I ran that hill during the run, and was able to see it compared to the other three monsters I ran up, and am no longer afraid of the marathon hill - piece of cake. I finished my run up at the track where kids #2 and #3 were just finishing track practice and hitched a ride home. It's always great when you can fit a long run into the family schedule and not impact the entire day.
I don't get to run long this weekend. It'll probably be good for my legs to have a rest. My husband has an organized group bike ride in a small town near where we used to live. So, at least we get to get out. There's a pretty trail along the river - the kids and I will have fun. I thought about ridin', but I'm not ready to go that far on my bike yet. Sometimes it's just as fun to be the spectator.