Another Monday - where does the weekend always go? I had a great run yesterday. I went a direction I'd never gone before - to explore the unknown in the depths of the city. It was shocking to wake up to the temperature below 60 fahrenheit (that's be about what 15 or 16 celcius to the rest of the world), there was an ever so slight rain, and because of the cloud cover it was dark. I debated leaving later, but my whole day schedule hinged upon my leaving by 5:00. So out the door I went. This was to be a mystery morning. In order to get where I wanted to go, I needed to run through an industrial area, and get up the hill on the other side. But the two nearest roads that go up this hill are a mile to the north, or a mile and a half to the south - thus adding more than necessary distance to my run. My plan was to run straight up. I'd been told there were stairs. The guy who told me has never seen the said stairs, but said he knew others had. Okay. Imaginary stairs. Under the freeway where all the homeless people sleep. In the dark. Promising. But I found the stairs. I stood at the bottom looking at them. Looking up, it was a criss-cross of freeway interchanges, and it looked like the stairs went up to the freeway. Weird. I ventured up to that land of the unknown, and lo and behold, I was on the freeway. Sort of where the bridge/freeway merge and it flows into a main arterial. The builder's plan here was odd. I ran a little way on this sidewalk on the freeway while I contemplated whether or not other freeways had sidewalks. Then the sidewalk ended, some stairs went down, and back up to where the sidewalk continued. (Apparently so one could avoid being hit by cars traveling freeway speed.) There wasn't too much traffic so I braved the road and continued the rest of the way up the hill when I reached the sidewalk again. I imagined drivers going by wondering where the heck this runner had come from. I frequently drive this freeway portion and have never noticed the stairs.
The next 4 miles were through some neighborhoods I've never run along - a very diverse area - kinda fun. Then 7 or so miles of waterfront along the lake. Part of it was along a park trail on a little peninsula park, (complete with drinking fountain for water at miles 4 and 7.5) and some along a bike path on a major thoroughfare. The lake was opened for sockeye season for three days, which doesn't happen every year. It was phenomenal to witness the amount of boats out on the water. It was as if someone had taken a game board and dumped all the pieces, allowing them to scatter at random. The lake was literally littered with boats.
I added some extra mileage in there somewhere. The map I read showed the two beach parks connected end to end and I could get back out onto the road after running through them. After running through some woods in a park, and out into a neighborhood, I reached a dead end sign. I could see the second park about 100 yards in front of me. But between me and it were a chain link fence, and either a thick thicket of bushes or a swim through the water to the beach I was staring at. C'est lavie. I backtracked and made it around. The drinking fountain wasn't working when I got there. Bummer when you don't pack water. C'est lavie again. I had another park with a water fountain planned in a couple of miles. And it was actually working. The rest of my run was serene and happily uneventful 'til the end. A little hamstring soreness, but great otherwise. I had even been doing some cutdown pacing the last three miles.
I was about half a mile from the park in the city where my husband was to meet me. Before I continue, I must explain something. I live in the United States - a free country. But even so, there are some places that I don't usually enter - namely governmnent property, especially after 9/11. But being that, the only other property that one usually holds sacred in these parts would be Microsoft property or Boeing property - both largely due to security. (It's fun to be in a boat and go past Bill Gates' compound - you can see the security guys with binoculars on the lookout for anyone who dares come too close.) At this point in my run, however, I was in the city of Renton in Boeing territory. I ran right past the huge Detour signs, thinking they didn't apply to runners, and assuming there would be a sidewalk still available. No such hope. Just like my prior beach park deadend, I could see where I needed to get to, not more than 100 yards ahead - on the other side of a mammoth fence. I swore a few times, and turned around. I went around the block, and found only barricades, no fence. I got excited and went right through. I continued down the street and lost all hope. Another chain link fence. I could see some security building nearby and I was already trespassing. The thing was - I'd just run 18 and a half miles from a different city, and the only way I knew how to get from where I was standing to the other side, was the turn by turn directions I had written down and now carried in the small ziplock baggie in my hand. I stood and looked at the detour suggested and had no idea how far away it would take me. The last few miles of pace cutdown had taken it's emotional toil and I started to get upset. I felt myself start to hyperventilate and my tears start to well-up. Not only did my day hinge upon leaving at 5 am, but also on arriving at the park at a certain time so my husband could start and complete his long run, me pick him up in a different city, and arrive to pick up our child who'd been at an overnight - on time. Silly irrational thoughts that really weren't that big of a deal, became a big deal when I was tired. I noticed the end of the high chain link fence was tied to a barricade at the next fence connection. A barricade! I can do that! In fact it was two barricades tied together with about a mile of yellow caution tape. But it was a way through. My adrenaline was rushing at this point. Mentally I dared some security guard to mess with me as I imagined my explanation with my plastic baggie and my garmin that registered my mileage. And tears - that always helps, doesn't it? The poor damsel in distress? Does tired, dirty, sweaty, cranky runner in distress work? I made it over the barricade and no one even noticed. Good thing I'm not one of those dangerous runners.
I finished the run at the park at 19 miles. Felt really good. Had some chocolate soymilk, a lot of ultima, and ate a cliff bar. Life was just fine. Lots of swimmers coming out of the water, and bikes heading in and out of the parking lot. What a great morning for exercise. The sun was even coming out. My husband headed out for his run, and the munchkins and I headed to get a coffee and treat. Now it's Monday and the UPS guy just brought a box containing my new running shoes! Ahhhh . . . . . the little things in life that make me happy!