Monday, June 22, 2009

Pedestrian Crossing Next 4.5 Miles

I just got back from a few days at the beach, which were badly needed. While there I went on some nice long (for me) runs, which were also badly needed. I usually have a hit-and-miss record with working out on vacation, but luckily this trip included my brother, Michael, who is currently training for a marathon. So when he asked me if I was interested in running across the bridge that connected the island to the mainland, I put out my running shoes. When I asked him if he was interested in leaving at 6:00 am, he pretended he didn't hear me.

The next morning at 5:45, I started to poke Michael with my shoe and ask if he was ready. He pointed out that he had 15 minutes left to sleep, but soon we were on our way. I told him he didn't have slow down for me, since his legs are about three feet longer than mine, and about 2 miles into it he finally believed me and took off. I followed him across the bridge on the narrow pedestrian walkway and realized that this was the first time I had run across a bridge. I liked it.

Since neither of us had looked at the clock before we left or tracked the distance of our run, we weren't sure how much of a workout we had gotten. We estimated 3 or 4 miles but I was pleasantly surprised when I logged it later in my car and found that it was actually 4 1/2 miles. Not only was that my first bridge run, it was also the furthest I had run without stopping to walk. I immediately planned to do it again the next morning.

When 5:45 rang loud and clear on day two, my shoe-nudges to Michael were fruitless. His "sunburn hurt." Uh huh. So I set off on my own. This time I slowed my pace and took advantage of the sprinklers watering lawns along the way. When I turned toward the bridge, I picked up the pace a little. I wove in and out of fishermen setting up for the day and enjoyed a breeze off of the bay. I wondered how hurt I would be if I fell off of the bridge and landed in the water, and stopped to peer over the edge. I briefly contemplated stretching my arms wide and spinning around shouting, "I'm the king of the worrrrld!" but I thought that might be a little much.

On the last day of vacation I didn't even try to wake up Michael. I took the opportunity to leave just before dawn in hopes of seeing a sunrise. I missed it by a few minutes but that was okay; the fun of running made up for it and instead of climbing the stairs to our condo when I got back, I headed to the sand for a walk. It was my last day on the beach and I wanted to soak it in. I sat down in the sand and let the waves wash over my legs. And then I remembered.

I remembered back when I was all bitching about form over function and throwing my little hissy fit about how I'd rather be able to run five miles on the beach than just look like I could (which is true but really more me doing a grown-up version of "fine, I didn't want that anyway!"). And I realized I was pretty darn close to running five miles on the beach, having just completed 4.5 of them. So, you know what's coming, I got up and took off running. I don't know if I ran half a mile, and technically that doesn't count as running five miles "on the beach," but for now I am willing to accept half a mile on the beach and 4.5 near the beach and call it a goal accomplished.

Its kind of fun when a goal sneaks up and taps you on the shoulder, and even more fun when you turn around and give it a hug. I hope you get that kind of surprise this week, too. That is, if your sunburn doesn't hurt too much. :)

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