Friday, April 15, 2011

No Regrets!

They say you almost never regret going for a run that you really didn’t feel like doing, but you almost always regret skipping one.  Yesterday certainly challenged that philosophy for me.  A couple months ago in a post called Countdown to Hyannis, I described how I came to the conclusion that I should never drink Arrogant Bastard beers on a Wednesday night.  Apparently I need to re-read my blog on occasion to remind myself of the life lessons I’ve learned.  Unfortunately, I didn’t remember this little factoid until yesterday morning when once again I was feeling lousy after too good of a time the night before.  (Bastards!)
I spent the morning feeling dehydrated and overtired, and had a complete lack of energy because of an inadequate breakfast.  Todd, Jaimee and I headed out on the 3.5 mile loop and even though it’s probably my least favorite route, I was thankful for the short distance.  As soon as we headed out I knew I was going to have a tough run.  My legs felt like lead and my head throbbed with every stride.  To make matters even worse, the first mile of this run is straight downhill which means the last mile is straight uphill.  If I was struggling this much on the downhill, I knew it would only get worse on the way back.
About a mile and a half into the run, we came across a trail.  We had heard about the trail but couldn’t access it until the snow melted.  This was the first time we saw people on the trail so we decided to give it a try.  Part of me was skeptical because I just wasn’t in the mood to explore, but since I consider this to be a fairly boring loop, I welcomed the idea of new scenery.
We hopped onto the trail and immediately it was like we stepped into another world.  We left the boring industrial park behind us and trotted down a skinny, well packed trail alongside the Merrimack River.  It was so close to the river, in fact, that I worried one wrong step and I’d be plunging into some chilly water.  The trail was a blast as it winded further and further down the river, and any feeling I had of lead legs was long gone.  We had no idea where the trail would ultimately take us, and that was part of the fun.  We saw park benches and a wooden bridge, and occasionally passed some walkers.  Eventually the trail came to an end at a spillway, and we connected with a road that we suspected would bring us back to some familiar ground.  It did, but not without taking us up a rather steep hill!  Suddenly the hill didn’t bother me though because the adventure was worth it, and I enjoyed the new scenery.
Once we connected back with the main road we chattered about what a great run this was, and then speculated where the other end of the trail might lead.  Then we talked about another trail down another road that we might want to try out someday.  Suddenly the opportunities to explore seemed endless, and we felt like the Louis & Clarks of Andover, MA.  Last week Todd and I plotted to someday bring our mountain bikes to work and explore the trails around town.  I’m starting to think we might never come back!
When we got back to the parking lot at work, Jaimee insisted we sprint around the lot.  She recently joined a local running club and last week she participated in a track speed session (wearing her compression socks).  Suddenly Jaimee’s a track star and now we have to do sprints.  Sigh…  So off we went, running like hell through the parking lot, no doubt causing a scene and scaring the wits out of anyone looking out the windows or driving by.  We looked like maniacs, and I was a soggy mess with sweat dripping into my eyes.  We slowed to a finish and I have to admit it was pretty fun (although I repeatedly told them how much I hate them for making me work so hard).  We stopped to stretch before heading in, and I repeatedly wiped the sweat off my face and nonchalantly blew my nose mightily right into my shirt.  It only occurred to me as I was walking into the building that blowing one’s nose into one’s shirt at work may be considered inappropriate.  However, the only witnesses were smokers, so in a contest of who’s less gross, I still think I win. 
I didn’t regret this run for one second, despite my earlier complaints.  Instead, it ended up being one of the best and most entertaining runs we’ve ever had at lunch and I would have regretted it deeply if I had skipped it.  I’m very eager to try out more of the trails at lunch, and I’m almost disappointed that I’m on vacation next week and won’t get a chance to do more exploring.  Almost.

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