Sunday, March 27, 2011

To Heaven and Back

My quest to reenergize myself and prepare for the 15k continues.  After logging insufficient miles leading up to New Bedford, I’m getting on the right track now with some decent distances.  Today I insisted on completing a long run, so I decided to dust off a route that I haven’t done since last September when I was preparing for the Harwich Half Marathon.  This is the kind of route you can’t do in the winter because of snow banks, and because the last mile of it is a trail.  I’ve been looking forward to running this route again, and decided to go for it and take a gamble that the trail was clear.  I like this route for many reasons: It’s scenic, it has a lot of hills, it has a lot of flat sections, there’s not a lot of traffic, it’s on some of the same roads as the 15k coming up next week, and there’s no short cut home.  That’s right…when I get out on this route I better be feeling good, because there is no quick way home if things start hurting. 
                Today I learned three things about this route:
1.       My long run isn’t as long as I thought it was.  (I thought 9, it was only 7.75)
2.       It’s not easy taking pictures while running
3.       I’m terrible at sneaking up on llamas
I decided to take my phone with me for a couple reasons:
1.       My mother gets nervous when I run this loop because the roads are very rural and perfect for kidnapping sweaty people, running sweaty people off the road, and causing sweaty people to become disoriented and start wandering through the woods.
2.       Photo Op!
Since this is one of the more scenic runs, I thought it would be nice to share some of the sights I see along the way.  I take some heat sometimes for being a simple country girl that lives in the sticks, and some people can’t understand why I choose to live out here and commute 70 miles to work.  Well, besides the fact that my horse wouldn’t fit in a studio apartment, I’d be missing out on all this scenery!  My first picture is one of a horse farm.  You can’t see a lot from this photo, but supposedly on a clear night you can see Boston from here.

                Shortly past the horse farm is another farm that recently was featured as a must-see of Massachusetts tourist spots.  I love driving past this farm and seeing the llamas all standing with their heads poking over the fence, so curious about everything.  Today one of the llamas was lying down in the sun, and I tried to sneak up on him to get a picture.  That llama was no fool though, and immediately bounced to his feet when he saw me.  I hope the farmers didn’t see me.  I can’t imagine what they would be thinking, seeing a lady in a fluorescent windbreaker on their property, crouching behind their stone wall, trying to hide from their llamas. 

                I continued on, and eventually joined up with some of the roads on the 15k route next week.  Oh yes, I guess I forgot how hilly that course is!  Next week might hurt a little, but for today I took it nice and easy.  My favorite part comes after going up, up and up some more... There’s a street sign that reads, “Entering Heaven”.  Now I can’t divulge what I experienced after “crossing over”; you’d just have to see that for yourself.  Let’s just say, the climb was worth it.  J
   Shortly after passing through Heaven, I connected with the trail to head home.  I was feeling great, and I attribute this to the Gatorade Prime Carb drink I brought with me and sucked down around the 5 mile mark.  I decided that I will no longer attempt energy gels, because I just can’t seem to swallow them very well.  But this 4oz Carb drink in a nifty little pouch was easy to carry, easy to drink, and definitely seemed to give me energy for the last 3 miles.  The trail home was fun and challenging with lots of logs, roots, rocks, and patches of snow to maneuver around.  I felt great when I got back, and easily could have kept going.  My plan is to run three more times this week and then I’ll be ready for the 15k.  I’m hoping next weekend will have warmer temps, because today’s 36 degrees and blustery wind was not the warm Spring afternoon I hoped for.  I said a little prayer earlier though, while running through Heaven, so let’s see if anyone was listening.

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