Monday, November 7, 2011

Birthday Run

My Saturday birthday run went well. Very well. Looking back through my training logs I noticed I hadn't done a run longer 16 miles since September 17, so 18 miles was a little tougher than I thought it'd be.

Time went by quickly, however, as I jogged down to Fort Snelling State Park and ran along the Minnesota River. On my way there I made a detour to run up the hill at Sky Hill Park, a small park less than a mile from our house. The wooden observation deck and seating area at the top of a path was the perfect place to watch the sunrise. It was so pretty I decided I needed to bring my camera on Sunday morning to take a picture. The photo doesn't do Saturday's sunrise justice. For one thing, it was a little hazier on Sunday and for another thing, the camera I used is terrible.

The trail along the Minnesota River was in great shape. Some beavers have been hard at work chewing down trees--some of the tree's trunks have circumferences over six feet. What do those beavers think they're going to do with those giant basswood trees after gnawing them until they fall over?

There were several groups of runners using the trail along with some mountain bikers, hikers, and dog walkers. The trail is very flat and on a sunny fall morning it was a scenic place to be. The leaves carpeted some sections of the trail and the angle of the recently risen sun shot shades of orange, yellow, brown, and red off the forest floor. Also, willow, box elder, and basswood trees showed a distinct white and grey sediment line marking the height of this spring's flooding--high water that left the trail unrunnable for all of spring and most of summer.

After the waters had receded the trail's surface had a lot of sandy river sediment, but thankfully most of that has been packed down enough to make for pleasant running. My thoughts were free to wander as I soaked in the scenic surroundings of late fall Minnesota. The wind started to pick up but I was sheltered inside the forest so I took off my outer layer and ran in my Nebraska Cornhusker running shirt--a birthday present from my sister in Lincoln.

After turning around near where the trail goes underneath I-494, I saw a big buck standing in the middle of the path. He turned tail and ran from me in big, bounding leaps. Farther down the trail a lady was walking her two golden retrievers and I stopped and asked if I could pet them. They were already jumping at me and had that "play with me" puppy dog look that was just begging to be petted.

With about 4 miles to go I got a little sick to my stomach--I'd taken a gel and then drank water with a GU effervescent electrolyte tab in dissolved in it. Unfortunately, the GU tab had filled my stomach with it's effervescence and was threatening to effervesce my stomach contents right out my face hole. I had the terrible feeling of needing to burp for about a mile when finally the fizzy goodness of GU peach tea electrolyte drink released its hold on my stomach and exited into the fall air. After 3 more miles I was back home and chatting with my neighbor about siding.

I'd love to make this a birthday tradition--the running part, not the chatting about siding. It would mean I'd have to stay in shape enough to be able to run over 29k. It would also mean that I would be healthy, happy, and sane.

It would mean I'm still extremely blessed to have a supportive spouse who doesn't resent the time I spend running but encourages it. She's a runner as well as a triathlete and understands the importance of running and competing. I've also been blessed with supportive parents who showed up to my track meets to watch me run in circles eight times before collapsing on the infield grass, only to get up and do it a few more times.

A year from now I'll be running 30 kilometers--I don't know where or with who, but I'm looking forward to it.

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