Sweet Sixteen

I promised myself a long run this week, and have kept an eye on the weather forecasts to find the most perfect day.  Thursday wins with a hand that holds low humidity, bright sunshine, and a light breeze.    I have no morning clients scheduled, so I fold and head out with an open mind.  There is no specific number of miles on my agenda, really, I just think, I‘ll go until I’ve had enough.

I wear thin, thin shorts and a white sleeveless tank top, my favorite socks, and my Nike Free shoes, the same pair I have been wearing for the last 600 miles.  (They are really the best running shoe I have ever worn.  Still comfortable and no nagging running pains anywhere!)  I have my Nike+iPod tucked into an armband and press the start button, selecting a shuffle mix and start off easy.  I take the time to look out at the ocean as I round the corner by Old Garden Beach.  The water is sparkling blue and I can smell the salty-sweet seaweed washed up on the rocks and drying in the sun.

I meet my running friend Michelle part way down the first hill on Marmion Way and invite myself to run with her.  I reverse direction and we chat all the way back past my house, then downtown and by Front Beach, Back Beach, around the bend, then down her street.  She waves me off and I head back into town, retracing my steps and listening to some obscure Mexican brass band Nortec Collective the hubby added to my iTunes for me.  I love it, especially the bossy tuba punctuating every other measure of this song.

I head back down Marmion Way the long way once more, then turn onto Eden Road.  I look up at my friends’ house and see their bright red geranium pots hanging from their front porch.  I turn and look out at the Twin Lights, then speed up and onto Penzance Road.  I race past the marshes, hearing the red-winged blackbirds chirping their morning tune right through Belle and Sebastian’s “If She Wants Me“.  I meet up with my friend Dave and take a short walk break, then we run together down to Pebble Beach where he has left his little red pick up truck.  He hops in his truck, anxious to head off for his morning donut and coffee, and I press up the steep hill, then onto the low slow hill of South Street.  The hill is easy this morning and I run hard until I am panting.  I see the turkeys out, strutting along the side of the street and decide that today I will just run right by them.  I shove my fear into my stride and sprint.  They don’t even look up from their dirt-pecking activity and I am so happy not to have been chased that I decide to take Marmion the long way back.  I take the long downhill like a break, letting my quads slide easy.

As I head up the start of the next long hill, I see another runner ahead and tell myself to catch up with her before she reaches the top.  She’s not running fast, so it’s easy to do.

“Beautiful morning!”

“It is!  I haven’t seen you out before.”

“I usually run earlier, but I’m doing a long run today.  Which way are you headed?”

“To the bridge at Pigeon Cove.”

“Mind if I run with you?”

“No, but I’m slow.  I’m just coming back from a fall last week.”

“I don’t mind.”

“I’m Sigrid.”

“Elizabeth.”

“What mile are you on?”

I check my Nike+.

“12.”

“Well, if you come with me on my route the whole way, you’ll wind up doing 16.”

“Sweet!  Sure you don’t mind?”

“No.  It’s nice to have the company.”

We run by my house, then downtown, back by Front Beach and Back Beach, up the hill on Granite Street to the bridge, then turn around.  I’m not even tired.  I try not to think about the rest of the run, but rather to focus on the moment and enjoy the distance.  But the number 16 chimes again and again in my head.

Sigrid and I run comfortably together.  We talk a little bit, but mostly we just run.

The last couple of miles are a cool down, easy and light.   We part when we are close to Sigrid’s  street, and I thank her for keeping me company and helping me to make my long run goal.   I turn around and head home.  I can feel the salt dried on my skin and although I have stopped at the fountain by Old Garden Beach three times, I can’t stop thinking about water.  I walk through my front door and go directly to the kitchen, where  I stand at the sink and drink four glassfuls in a row.

I look to check my numbers for this long run.  16 miles.  2:08’27”.   Sweet indeed.

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One Comment on “Sweet Sixteen”


  1. Sweet Sixteen…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…


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