New Personal Running Records!

This is me in my car after a run. The photo doesn't do it justice - I am approximately the same color as my shirt.

This is me in my car after a run. The photo doesn’t do it justice – I am approximately the same color as my shirt.

Last week I had one of my best runs to date. It’s funny that you can’t really tell how a run is going to go until you start putting shoes to pavement. Sometimes things just come together, other times they definitely do not. This was one of the good times. It didn’t start out that way however!

The night before, Julian and I had gone out for a wonderful dinner to celebrate our anniversary. (I assure you, I ate like a king – not like a pauper, that night!) But apparently, it was so good that the next day – it was still with me. When I went to run, I could feel it bouncing around. It was like having a bocci ball in my belly. I’m not talking about extra weight, (I might have gained some from that meal, and if so, it was totally worth it.) I’ve run being heavier than I am now and this was a completely different feeling. This hurt.

But you know, I’ve only been running for a couple of months and already I’ve faced snow, rain, extreme heat, bugs and hills. What’s a little gut pain, right?  ugh… yeah.

Nonetheless, it turned out to be a great run. The weather was perfect, sunny and nice, but not too hot. My goal that night was 4 minute run / 1 minute walk intervals for 35 minutes. This is another one of my river parks – Big River Park. (The river is mostly the same size, but this is a big dang park.) It has a walking/jogging/biking path that runs along the water, for what I now know is 2 miles. I parked near one end of the park and took off.

Normally, I would think, “Okay, if I am supposed to run for 35 minutes, I will turn around at the 19 minute mark.” Yes, I know that adds up to 38 minutes, but if I run faster on the return trip I run out of trail! I like to leave a little buffer so I don’t have to double back. This time though I was kind of in a groove, and I didn’t think about it until I hit 20 minutes. By then I was nearly at the end of the park, so… I decided to just keep going.

RunKeeper screenshot record runI knew I was going to over shoot my 35 minutes. I figured if that happened, I’d just walk the last bit back to my car, no big deal. However, something happened around the 30 minute mark – I decided to keep running the whole time. Again, I was doing intervals, so that means I was actually walking one minute for every four of running, but I kept up the repetitions all the way through!

Afterwards I was tired, but not dead. I could definitely feel that I pushed myself harder than I had before; the muscles in my legs were pretty worn out, and yet, I wasn’t a wreck. I felt like if I had had to, I could’ve kept going. It is enough to make me wonder exactly what I am capable of! It’s actually good for me to have a little energy left when I get done, though, because after a run, I still have to drive home. And, as soon as I get home I have to go walk the dog! Jelly legs or no, the pooch cares not.

One other interesting thing – there are lots of people that use this park. There are tons of dog walkers, people playing frisbee golf, fishing, riding bikes, skating, running and pushing strollers. There are fitness classes, sports teams using playing fields and families having picnics. All this you expect to see. What you might not expect is this:

knights in the park

I have no idea either. They looked like they were having fun though.

You Get a Different View with Running Shoes

park bench by benstone410I mentioned yesterday that our local river has won a piece of my heart. That was the inspiration for yet another river run. There is a park at the heart of our downtown that holds a few special memories for me. Back when I was a teenager, our downtown had fallen out of favor and (except during banking hours,) was almost always dead. My friends and I, with nothing better to do, would drive down and walk through the empty streets. We’d hang out at that park, sit on the edge of the fountain or on the grass, and talk about dreams, life and, (of course,) boys.

I’ve been thinking about going there to run for a while, but downtown has changed a lot since then. Now it’s a busy, thriving place. It isn’t quite as easy to find a place to park, and now the park can sometimes draw some… unsavory elements. But, it was late afternoon on Sunday, the weather was nice, and I wanted to be by the river again. So I headed over.

You know that feeling when something that was mythic in your youth suddenly becomes very small? That happened to me that day. It’s still pretty there – there’s boardwalk along the water, big pieces of sculpture and that beautiful fountain is still there, but the park is far, far smaller than it has been in my mind. I only ran 2 miles that day, but in order to make it I had to loop, backtrack, and finally, run across the bridges to the other side of the river – several times. I just couldn’t believe that those walking paths I spent hours and hours on took about 4 minutes to run.

I’m glad I went. I’ve been thinking about running there since I started running, but my guess is that I won’t be back. I have new, longer paths to run.


Photo credit: benstone410 on flickr

My Hike, in Photographs

Friday had been a great run, so Saturday I was hoping to go for four in a row. It didn’t work out that way, however. I’ve mentioned that I do freelance work – I’m in the middle of a project right now. Saturday, I ended up running all over town in search of materials.

It was a gorgeous summer day, one of those perfect days. I had packed my running gear just in case… but shopping for hours took all the zip out of my stride. I ended up driving from one corner of the city to the other, and by the end, I was in that dazed, overstimulated state that comes from too much shopping.

On my way home, I started thinking about what I could do. I knew I was in no shape to run, but I figured I could walk. And if I could walk, I could hike. I had been wanting to explore the park where I ran my first trail run, so when I got home I grabbed my long pants, my bug spray and my dog, and off we went. I have lots of photos to share!

A good, clear trail.

A good, clear trail.

As I mentioned before, the starting trail at this park is pretty clear. However, it isn’t that long before it gets a little harder to find.

Not quite so clear.

Not quite so clear.

It was a feast for the eyes. In addition to the greenery, there was a fair amount of wildlife around: robins, cardinals, crows and woodpeckers. I saw toads, a couple of big butterflies, and some rabbits. The wildflowers were beautifully in bloom: Queen Anne Lace, Joe Pye Weed, Black Eyed Susans, Shasta Daisies, Yarrow, Chicory and more. Unfortunately, the black flies were also out. It turned out to be a very, very good thing I had some high-powered bug spray with me.

While I see echinacea in gardens all the time, this was the first time I have seen them in the wild.

While I see echinacea in gardens all the time, this was the first time I have seen them in the wild.

As you might expect, Hermes was in heaven. We walk every day, but I live in the heart of the city. Other than when we get up to the cabin, he doesn’t get out in the woods much. When we came to a small bench overlooking the river. I paused to take a couple of photos, but he just wanted to go, go, go!

That right there is one happy, happy dog. Look at that tail!

That right there is one happy, happy dog. Look at that tail!

There is something about being out in the woods with a dog. Even though I had a GPS/Camera/Phone in my back pocket, fancy-schmancy biodegradable poop bags and super bug spray, I felt connected to my ancestral past. There is something particularly special about following a hound dog in the woods…

I feel very Southern at this moment.

I felt very Southern at this moment.

Finally, the trail took us down to the river. Have I mentioned that it is a large river?

Seriously, it's a big river.

Seriously, a big river.

Looking in the other direction…

See? I told you.

See? I told you.

Hermes had no problem heading right in to get a drink and look for fish.

C'mon in Mom! The water's fine!

C’mon in Mom! The water’s fine!

Somewhere right about here, the river reached up and grabbed my heart. I’ve lived fairly close to this river my whole life, but I can’t say I’ve ever thought about it much. Mostly, it is just another feature in my city that I drive by, or over. Lately though, I have been spending a lot more time beside it. I’ve now run in five different parks along this river. Each of the parks give a different portrait of her, but this one was different. As Hermes and I stood on the shore, I felt something in my heart give. It was akin to the feeling I have when I am at my cabin standing on my shoreline – my heart flooded with love.

This is the second time I have been overcome with emotion at this park. The first was on my first trail run, when suddenly I knew, this was one of the biggest reasons for learning to run at all – the joy of the trail run. Each of the parks where I run has a little nickname, but I can’t have 5 parks all called “River Park.” I’m naming this one “Flooded Heart Park,” in part for how it made me feel, and in part because all around me, I could see evidence of the flood from last spring. Evidence like this:

It might be hard to tell, but this is a walking bridge that has been completely moved off it's spot. For now, while it is dry, the trail goes down through the creek bed.

It might be hard to tell, but this is a walking bridge that has been completely moved off it’s spot. For now, while it is dry, the trail goes down through the creek bed.

It’s funny how certain places can spark emotion.

And just like that, the river owned a piece of my soul.

And just like that, the river owned a piece of my soul.

There were more surprises in store. Hermes and I kept going. We stopped by the water several times, headed down some side trails and checked out some animal tracks beside a stream. Then the trail looped back and headed into a grassy walking area. At the end was a picnic spot with a fire pit.

I had no idea places like this even existed within my city.

I had no idea places like this even existed within my city.

There was a couple of tables, stacked wood, and a pit ready to go. Not far away was another observation point – this time a deck that hung out over the river. I preferred the wild places, but I like knowing this is here.

I’ve always been drawn to birds, in particular, herons, but all birds are special to me.* As Hermes and I prepared to leave, there on the trail near the parking lot, I spied a woodpecker feather.


A sign or an invitation?

I can’t wait to go back.

* Note: I love all birds except for seagulls and Canada Geese. Those birds are mean.


A Good Run and Some Ducks

I had an awesome run on Friday for a whole bunch of reasons:

Pictured: my knees and some sleeping ducks. Not pictured: another thirty or forty sleeping ducks off the right frame of this photo.

Pictured: my knees and some sleeping ducks. Not pictured: another thirty or forty sleeping ducks off the right frame of this photo.

1.) I hit my best time ever. I’m not planning on racing at this point, so time doesn’t really matter, except that by tracking my time I can tell that I am getting stronger and building more endurance. I like taking a look at my pace, weighing it against how I felt at the end of the run and seeing the changes. Not long ago, the idea of running a couple of miles would have been completely out of the question. Now, I’ve done it several times, and I keep getting better! I’m really excited by that – it’s like I never really knew what I could do before. My body is a lot tougher than I thought.

2.) I am now over 25% in on my 100 mile goal! I thought it would take a long time to hit that goal. I keep plugging away at it, though, and I suspect I am going to hit 100 miles a lot sooner than I thought! Again, there is nothing riding on this goal. I picked it as a distance that would be a stretch for me, but that felt doable. I just didn’t expect to be this far, this fast! Part of that is because…

3.) Friday was my first successful “three in a row.” I’ve mentioned before that I only have so many days week I can run, so this wasn’t the first time I tried going three consecutive days. However, the last time I tried doing three in a row it was back in spring – and it didn’t go well at all. By the third day I was tired, frustrated and slow. This time I felt great and ended the run tired, but strong. (And again, with my best time yet!)

After the run, I rested on a picnic table down by the river with a bottle of water and my towel. All along the water’s edge were ducks. I thought (being at a park) they were going to try to hit me up for bread, but nope – they were settling in for the night. They popped their heads up briefly when I sat, then settled back in to sleep. We hung out together, the sleeping ducks and I, until it was time to go home.

Happiness is Running Down a Trail

Not my trail, but a good representation I found on flickr.

Not my trail, but a good representation.

Wow, I had the BEST run yesterday! Sadly, once again, I was short on sleep. I know that isn’t good for me and I almost didn’t go at all. The weather, though, was just perfect. It was the kind of summer day you spend the other three months of the year dreaming about. With it being the first part of August, there are only so many of those left, so I threw on my shoes and headed out. I am glad I did!

I knew I wasn’t at my best, so I decided to try to change things up a little and try a different park. I wanted something that would inspire and motivate my mind. So… I decided to trail run! I’ve been wanting to run on trails since I first thought of running. Before I even bought my shoes, I went to a Run Clinic to learn good form running. While the class was waiting for everyone to show up and settle in, the trainer ran a video of Anton Krupicka. There he was, bouncing through the woods and over streams, and I thought, I want that! Forget that he wears minimal shoes and runs endurance races, that wasn’t what got me, what I wanted was to run out in nature. It called to every part of me.

There is a park near my office that I’ve wanted to run since the beginning. The last time, I tried though, it was spring and it was completely flooded. I ended up doing laps around the picnic area instead. I don’t know why I haven’t been back there, “once burned,” I guess. Last night, when I hopped on our county website to look for a new park to run in, that one popped up. It’s been a fairly dry couple of months, so I decided it was time to try it again.

It was running through a meadow like this where I wished I was wearing longer pants.

It was running through a meadow like this that I wished I was wearing longer pants.

Here’s the tricky part – I don’t know this park at all. I’ve never explored it and because it is all winding trails through the woods – you can’t see that far ahead. On the map, there are a couple of paths that make big loops, but it isn’t like that when you get there. It appears that most of the folks that go there go to walk their dogs, but they only go so far. The first part of the trail is well traveled and well marked, but after a certain part it becomes… dicey. There are several break off trails, but they are so small it is hard to tell they are real trails or deer paths. I did my best to keep to the main path, but it wasn’t marked: no blazes, nothing. There was one section through a meadow where the weeds were so tall I started to wonder if I was heading in the right direction! I ended up back in the woods, and eventually, I saw a hint that I was on the main path – a lone bench located near a big tree.

Running like this, not knowing where you are going, certainly sharpens the senses. There was no “zoning out” this time. I saw birds and rabbits, and even one tiny shrew running across the trail. Bugs kept flying into my head – not getting caught in my hair, just bouncing off my head like tiny ping pong balls. But being out in nature was gorgeous. I was deep in the woods, the river alongside me, and wildflowers all around. At one point my brain just went: “YES!!!”

It was so great, it made me wish I was a better runner – just so I could keep going. I’ve never felt that way before.

Part of me is tempted to grab Hermes and go hike as many of those trails as I can. There are certainly some advantages of knowing where you’re heading, and if I am going to hike in a dog friendly place, you bet I am taking my buddy along. On the other hand, I really liked the exploring part of the run – feeling like I was finding something new. I’ve already explored one part of the trail, so each time I go I could just go a little further and see what is over the next hill that way. We’ll see.

I’ll tell you this though, I am going to spend some more time finding all the trail parks in my area! Trail running makes me very happy.


Flickr Photo credits:

Meadow by Andy Arthur

Flowers by tjk

Sharing the Trail

The 30 Minute (ish) RunCorredora by Daniel Lobo

I had a interesting little experience over at Big River Park the other day. When I got there, the lot where I usually park was practically full. It’s never been that busy before, so I kept looking around, trying to figure out what was going on. Then, once I did find a spot to park, I realized the walking path was crammed with people. Fortunately, the path is roughly the width of a one lane road, so even with all the folks on it, there was still space to move. I typically don’t like to be around people much, (the perfect place for me to run has just enough people around so I feel safe, but few enough that I don’t have to actually interact with them,) but I was determined to run anyway.

Now that I have my first official two mile run under my belt, my goal was to try and extend the amount of time that I run a little. Pace-wise, I am running roughly 11:30 minutes per mile. Two miles at that pace, plus a little more, means my total time out has been around 25 minutes. I thought I would see if I could do a full 30 minutes. I decided not to worry about speed and just see if I could run continuously for the 30 – I just wasn’t sure how it would go with all the people around.

As I ran, I realized that the people on the path were all together. They were all roughly middle to late aged, roughly the same larger build, and they all had the same look on their faces – a cross between determination and misery. I’m guessing it was some kind of weight loss clinic. They were trudging (and really, that is the best way to describe how they looked,) in groups of twos and threes, with single folks scattered between them. It was weird passing around them, usually I am the one being passed! I kept noticing the single gals (the group was predominately female) and wanting to give them a fist bump or shout “c’mon! you can do it!” to them. Sadly though, I think my well meaning encouragement would have come off as patronizing, and since I had no desire to be slugged, I kept my thoughts to myself.

I eventually figured out that the group, whoever they were, were using just one section of the path as a track. They were heading up to one point then looping around and heading back. I passed one of the end points and enjoyed some solo running in the woods before I looped back myself and headed back into the crowd. Suddenly an air horn went off. All around me my path-mates popped up and started jogging! From my high point on the trail it looked exactly like a hot skillet full of water drops, all bouncing around me! It hit me – they were doing intervals! I noticed their looks of misery deepen.

Eventually I passed the other end of their loop. There was someone there with cooler, bottled water, and of course, the air horn. I didn’t hear the horn again, so I am not sure how long their intervals were. As for me, I did well up to about 27 minutes. Then my legs started giving out. I ended up alternating between walking and running the last bit. I’d walk for a few seconds, then run as long as I can, then walk again for a bit. I wish I would have made it the whole 30, but I felt good about what I accomplished. Every run is a good run.

Photo credit: Daniel Lobo on flickr

I Used to Hate the Sun

The road near my cabin... so much sun.

The road near my cabin… so much sun.

I didn’t always hate the sun. When I was a kid during the summer, sunshine meant days I could go out and play: run around the woods behind our house, build forts, climb trees. My neighbors had a pool I could use, so sunshine meant days of swimming and making up games in the water.

I think I started hating the sun in Junior High, those terrible preteen years. That’s when we started paying attention to our bodies and our appearance back then. (I know it starts much younger now.) I’m old enough that tanning was still popular. Girls I knew started “laying out” to get that perfect summer tan. I tried it a time or two. I hated it.

My family weren’t beach goers, so laying out, if it was to happen, was going to happen at home. As I mentioned, our back yard was in the woods, so it was shaded and full of bugs. That meant one had to lay out in the (very exposed) front yard, something I was far from comfortable with in those awkward years. On top of that, it was dead boring, uncomfortable, and the minute I found a good position, it felt like an ant was crawling on my exposed skin. (Sometimes they were, sometimes it was my brain playing tricks.) I’m also pretty darn pale by nature, and of course, I had no idea what I was doing, so I inevitably got burned, and burned bad. Sunblock had a long, long way to go… and back then I knew girls who swore by tinfoil shields and cooking oil to get even darker.

So, I gave it up. I never did tan properly. It didn’t help that when I turned sixteen I got a car, thereby removing the last reason I would willingly ride my bike. Most of the popular girls, the ones who came to school sun-kissed and gorgeous, also played sports or were in summer cheerleading programs. If they didn’t have those, they had access to tanning beds, cottages or beaches. That wasn’t me. I was happier curled up in the shade with a good book, or in my later teen years, spending my spare hours working inside at my job.

It wasn’t just my pale hue that kept me from fitting in with the popular crowd. I was always too bookish, too artsy, too… odd. I had friends, but they were all like me, second or third tier odd ducks that were all funny, smart and great to be with, but also frequently socially awkward or a little too unfashionable to really fit in. At the same time I was meeting and spending time with a group of kids with dyed hair, white skin, and thick black make up. This post punk precursor to the goth movement defied the sun by only going out at night. My other friends, a bunch of theatre geeks, were too busy running from school to rehearsal to worry about things like getting sun, or “a little color” as my Mom always called it. (“You’d look nice with a little color.” she’d say.) All of this sort of snowballed into an extreme dislike of the sun.

Oddly, it wasn’t people who were tan that I didn’t like. My sister has that perfect skin that tans beautifully, my Dad did too. I knew plenty of people who worked outside or played sports that were tan and I didn’t think twice about it, but personally, I started to deeply hate the sun. Then all the findings started coming out relating sun exposure and skin cancer, and it cemented it for me. The sun and me – we just didn’t get along.

There are other factors as well. I‘ve mentioned before that because my legs have always been fairly thin, (despite me being larger everywhere else,) that I didn’t wear clothing that showed them off. The end result? From my freshman year of high school (when it was mandatory for gym class) until this May, I did not own or wear a pair of shorts. In the summer I wore jeans or skirts… long skirts. I didn’t even like capri pants much. Also, thanks to my fair skin, when I went out in the sun I covered up, either with clothing or super sunblock – the higher the spf, the better. (My sister called my sunblock “sweater in a bottle.”) Also, I didn’t “gleam” or “glimmer”, I sweated, a lot. Essentially, summer sucked – and it was all the fault of the sun.

I never got as bad as my mother, who (out of a fear of cancer) avoids the sun so completely that her doctor had to put her on Vitamin D supplements. I like nature and being outside – I just like it in the shade of a big tree, or in the spring or fall when it isn’t so stinking hot.

Then something happened…. I started running.

I started in the spring when it was still cold outside, but of course, that only lasted for so long. Then one day last month I went for a run in the middle of the day. I had appointments in the morning and plans in the evening, so I went out around noon. It was hot. The sun was high in the sky and there were no clouds. As I sat in the parking lot of the park, I realized that I hadn’t packed sunblock. I decided to go anyway.

It felt crazy and a little risky, but as I ran, I thought “How bad can it be?” It’s true, I was only out for a half hour and roughly half of that was under trees, so I don’t think I got any “color” at all. It was on that run that I started thinking about my relationship to the sun. For so long I fought for my pale skin that I had turned it into a point of pride. I considered the whole lot – athletics, tanning, shorts, exercise, sports, summer – all of it, as something that wasn’t me. The fact that I avoided it proved that I was different, and I embraced that difference.

But then I started running and it all changed. Later that day I stopped at the store to pick up some sunblock for my running bag. I went straight to the “sport” shelf. I ended up buying a small bottle spf 30 lotion for my face, but a spray on can of spf 15 for the rest of me. I have never in my adult life bought a spf below 45.

A few days later, I bought my first pair of running shorts.

Today, I’m sort of tan. Not dark tan by any means, but you can tell I spend time outside. (Admittedly, usually at 6:30 AM and 6:30PM, so we aren’t talking about a ton of exposure here.) I have three pairs of shorts and three pairs of outdoor walk/running capri pants and one pair of jean capris. Considering I own probably less than 5 pairs of pants, this has become a high proportion of my wardrobe. The sun doesn’t bother me now, and frankly, neither does the heat. I’ve mentioned that I have been running on days in the high 80s with 100 degree heat indices. I’m okay with all of it.

Running, and losing weight, first brought me to a place where I felt more comfortable taking risks. By taking those risks, I’ve started challenging my own long-held beliefs. Not just about the sun, but about how I dress, how I look, what I do – and don’t do. I know the fact I bought, own and wear shorts doesn’t seem like a big thing, but you have to realize that the last time I owned a pair it was 1986. It is a big deal.

We have these personal manifestos of all things “me” and “not me.” They are the very definition what we like, what we do, even who we are. They serve as mental shortcuts. When something new comes up we can check it against the list – is this me? Will I like this My taking up running is challenging, and changing, that manifesto. At first it happened subtly, but now I see it, and I embrace the change. When a friend recently suggested a climbing gym, “the old me” instantly started to demur, but I caught myself, and instead I said, “tell me more – where is it located again?” 

I’m not throwing away every long-held belief about myself, but I am holding them up to the light. I’ve decided to let the sun shine through.


The (almost) Two Mile Run

Two Miles


I (almost) ran two miles! All at once… well, sorta. When I wrote yesterday about running my first mile, I also mentioned that I am following a training guide from a big local marathon. Well, the next step after one mile, was two! (Again, I would have thought they would have ramped it up a bit slower, but there you go.)

I had mixed feeling about the run. On one hand, I was mentally pumped to go out and try it. The single mile had gone well, and so had the one one following it, so I felt pretty confident. Yes, I had separated them with a one minute walk, but I was pretty sure I could do it. On the other hand, I could tell my body was really tired. I hadn’t slept very well the night before and my body felt weighted down and sluggish. I only have so many nights a week I can run, however, so I decided to go for it. (Besides, the only bad workout is the one you didn’t do, right?)

I picked a different park to run in. Like the one from yesterday’s post, it is along the river, but this is a much bigger park. It’s really well shaded and has extensive running / biking / walking paths. Even when the park is busy, it is big enough that it doesn’t seem crowded. Since I knew my body was tired, I wanted to keep my mind active by changing the scenery. It is no fun running bored!

A view from along the river.

A view from along the river.

No surprise – it’s hot here. Temperatures are in the mid eighties. Still, there was a nice breeze coming off the water, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. In fact, the first half of mile was easy. I ran well and felt well. The next mile after that though, I started feeling it (and sweating like crazy.)

I almost made it, but just before the 2 mile marker, I couldn’t go anymore. I switched to a walk. For the last .25 I switched back and forth between walking and running. I’d walk for a few seconds, then run for as long as I could, then back to walking. So, I still went the whole 2 miles, but there are parts of it that I walked.

When I got done, however, I realized that I had achieved my fastest time – even with the walking! That makes sense in a way – even though I walked, it was least amount of walking I’ve done. It surprised me though, because I really thought I was taking it easy. I was trying to go a little slower on the first mile so I had something left for the second. It didn’t quite work out that way.

That’s okay though – it is all about learning, right? The point is that even though I walked part of the way, I didn’t walk much. I am pretty sure the next time I go out I can do the full two. I’m going to get a rest day in though, so I am a little better prepared!

The Cabin, Sharing the Road and Thoughts from the Weekend

Hermes at the lake

Hermes checking out the temperature of the lake.

Last weekend at the cabin was amazing. I had a lot to do in town before I could hit the road, so I didn’t arrive until pretty late Friday night. I unpacked, got the pooch settled in and just relaxed for the evening.

Saturday and Sunday followed the same basic pattern:

7:00 AM up with Hermes, out for a long walk

8:00 AM home again, time for breakfast

9:00 AM out on the kayak

10:00 AM – 2:00 PM snacks, naps, reading, relaxing, lunch

2:00 PM out to do yard work (mostly raking) for a couple hours

4:00 PM kick back for an hour, have a snack

5:00 PM out for a run

5:30 PM back from run, drink water, catch breath

5:45 PM finish cooling off by going out in the kayak

6:30 PM come back home, change into dry clothes, feed dog and head out for a walk

7:00 PM home again, time for dinner

8:00 – 11:00 PM kick back and relax

It was great! I got a lot of yard work done, which pleased me. My cabin is deep in the woods and no matter how many leaves I clean up in the fall and spring, there is always plenty left to clean up the rest of the year. I picked up countless wheelbarrow loads of them.

These guys sounds like miniature Gatling guns. i love them.

These guys sound like miniature Gatling guns. I love seeing them.

The kayak was, as always, wonderful. I liked the 9:00 AM rides the best. It was too late for fishermen and too early for vacationers, so I had the lake to myself. The water was a bit murky, but I still managed to see tons of ‘gills, sunnies and bass. The waterbirds were in full force too, especially the kingfishers which were diving all over the lake.

My running went well too – despite the heat. I managed to decrease my intervals so I am now up to 3 min. run / 1 min. walks. That feels really good. There really aren’t good places to run up by my cabin – lots of busy rural highways and almost no sidewalks. I have a route that I run that is roughly a 30 minute loop along some back roads. There is still plenty of traffic, however. One thing I have learned – people are a lot nicer to dog walkers than they are to runners. When I am walking Hermes, people not only pull their cars out out to give me more room, they frequently pull completely into the oncoming lane. They also never fail to wave and smile. When I was running, however, many of them barely moved over and one woman completely refused. I could see her male companion in the seat next to her yelling at her and gesturing to move over, but she refused. (I just jumped into the weeds, no big deal.) I told Julian about it and I thought he had a good explanation for this behavior:

“Well hon, they understand dogs.”

I think he’s right. This neck of the woods is pretty rural, and although I don’t see a lot of people walking their dogs up there, I do see a lot of people that own them. (They just usually keep them tied up in the yard.) My dog, which is obviously a hunting hound, seems to fit right in. He does attract positive comments on a regular basis.

Runners, on the other hand, are a lot more rare. In the nine years that I have owned my cabin (and in particular in the last two when I spent a lot of time walking my dog around there,) I have seen precisely two other runners. I saw both of them this summer, and they were both running really early in the morning. It might have been to avoid the heat – or it might have been to avoid the traffic!

I wish working out was always this easy, though. I never felt rushed, or pressured. Even the yard work – sure, it isn’t exactly fun, but it was great exercise and I didn’t mind doing it at all.  …somehow I never feel that way at home!


Photo credit of kingfisher: Mike Baird