It’s March 28, 2010 and my legs were bare for the first time this year! It was a tad chilly (40 degrees when I started at 6:40 AM) but the sky was clear and I knew it would warm up. Besides, if you can’t run in shorts in Colorado in sunny 40 degree weather, you may as well move!
I woke up ready for a Church of the Long Run and decided to mix up my usual route. As I dressed, I could feel myself wavering already on the distance… maybe I wasn’t up for 10 miles, maybe I should only do 6 and call it good? Maybe I should stick to the lower elevations and not do the big hill up to Davidson Mesa?
I always fumble with my clothes when the season changes, and today was no different. How many layers should I wear, and what skin needs to be covered so I don’t freeze? I had already decided on shorts, and knew I needed a long sleeve. But did I need a fleece, or could I get away with a long sleeve wicking shirt, with maybe a short-sleeve wicking shirt on top for wind protection?
I decided on the latter and was tickled to pull my red wicking t-shirt from the Las Vegas half (back in December) out of the pile! It really didn’t match my purple running shorts, but hey. I layered it with a black long-sleeve and the entire outfit was more an expression of my supreme individuality than my ability to coordinate, so I wore it proudly.
Lastly, I pulled my Nike hat and gloves from the pile in front of the washing machine (I wore them yesterday and we haven’t made it through the weekend mountain of laundry). I strapped on the Garmin, threaded my iPod cord between the two shirts, and headed out to see what the day looked like.
Instead of trekking the three mile up to Davidson Mesa, looping another three miles and then trying to talk myself into an additional four miles when I could just as easily knock off the Mesa and log two more miles on a direct route home, I headed down Main Street to Community Park where I proceeded to do the entire route, backwards.
I turned the iPod down low so I could hear the music of spring over the strains of my new running mix. Birdies were chirping everywhere, and squirrels were out chasing each other up and down trees and over the tops of fences.
I sucked wind for the first four miles, and stopped on the path to stretch my calves. A lady with a reddish retriever walked by and asked “You okay?” I nodded, she kept walking, but the sweet dog kept turning around as if to say “Are you coming? It’s so much fun to keep going, don’t stop now!” The dog’s infection enthusiasm made me smile, and when I started running again she wagged her tail so hard she made that precious semi-circle where face and tail meet. I laughed as I passed the dog and woman, and told the woman what a sweet companion she has.
My thighs had a tinge of red from the cold, but nothing debilitating. After 4.5 miles I reached Davidson Mesa and headed out on the flat 3-mile loop. The wind was stronger up there and I was glad I wasn’t talking to anyone, otherwise my throat would be pretty dry from sucking all that air into my lungs. The trail was moderately dry with footprints and bike tire marks frozen in place. No one was out, not even the prairie dogs or coyotes. I had the entire place to myself, and I said a prayer of thanks to the Earth for holding birds, sun, mountains, air, and me, all in one place.
I floated off the Mesa and settled into the steady downhill that would take me home. With two miles left, I easily picked up the pace and knocked another 40 seconds off my pace, finishing the 9.5 miles in 1:17:48.
My right calf was still tight, so I’ll work on stretching it out today and tomorrow. My hips felt really good, as though I had put them through the paces and they were remembering how all the muscles like to work together in this ol’ body we inhabit. The pounding actually felt good on my joints; nothing like a good run to get some proprioceptor stimuli. I walked into the house flush with exercise, warm, happy, and ready for some home-baked oatmeal and a steaming cup of coffee.
Happy Shorts Day, everyone!