It's that compelling list of numbers you've all been waiting for:
Sunday: 5 miles (35 minutes) on the east side, starting at 0630, then another 10 miles (70 minutes) after church on the west side
Monday: 15 miles (105 minutes) out to the Fed Hill Monday Night Run and back. Some of this was at upwards of low-to-mid 6-minute mile pace
Tuesday: 4 miles of treadmill hills (35 minutes, 1532 feet of gain), then drive to the Gilman Track for 2 miles of warmup, 5x300m @ 58 seconds (100m walk rest), 400m jog, 1x1100 (supposed to be 1500, but wasn't going well, so I stopped with a lap to go), 4 miles of barefoot running around the track, 2 more miles of warmdown (entire workout: about 60 minutes), then one more mile before bed for good measure (10 minutes)
Wednesday: Slow, lazy 2 miles (20 minutes)
Thursday: 4 miles of treadmill hills (35 minutes, 1615 feet of gain), then 15 miles around the Canton/Fells/Inner Harbor/Fed Hill area (105 minutes)
Friday: 8 miles (60 minutes) in the general vicinity of the Hopkins Homewood campus - feeling "whatever" about this, so I cut it short.
Saturday: 17 miles (120 minutes) out to Essex and back via Eastern Avenue, with detours of arbitrary interest thrown in here and there. Followed up with a very late night 9 miles (65 minutes) in a light rain around Canton/Fells/Inner Harbor.
Total Time: 720 minutes
Total Distance: 100 miles
In my last "real" week before Beast of Burden, I made it to 100 miles, although not without some figurative kicking and screaming. The last 9 miles were technically completed early Sunday morning, but since I was running from a little after 5 a.m. to a little after 6 a.m., and I didn't start logging miles for this week until 0630 on Sunday, this was technically within the 1-week window, and since 100-mile weeks are nothing if not a technicality, I'm counting it. (I ended up running another 4 miles later on Sunday, which will count towards this coming week.)
Of course, all of that obscures the real story, which is the 127-mile 7-day period from the previous Wednesday to the Tuesday described above. This was not at all on purpose, and it was only when I seemed to be tanking on Tuesday that I took a minute to count the miles, and realized that my volume was way over the top. This is the biggest 7-day period I've ever run that didn't include a race longer than 50K. The ragged last few days of this week are a testament to the aftermath of that, but I guess that's what happens when the dividing line between calendar weeks in no way constitutes a line of symmetry for your training.
Now, not that every run isn't an adventure in its own right, but seeing as to how, for the last couple of weeks, I've had a race on Saturday to carry on about ad nauseam on here, I needed to do something just for fun this week, not just for the sake of the blog (not hardly, really), but also (and mostly) to keep things fresh. I batted around a bunch of ideas, but when Saturday came around, the thing that made the most sense was a sort of running shabbat (thanks, Tel Aviv, for this great idea). Or, I would do whatever I wanted to do all day, run whenever I wanted, whatever I wanted, feel comfortable, and stop when I felt like I had enough.
So, in that spirit, I sat around for most of Saturday, eating cereal and watching King of the Hill and a documentary on the JFK assassination on Netflix. I listed to vicious thunderstorms pound on my skylights all afternoon. Finally, at around 7:30 p.m. (oddly enough, nearing sundown), I decided that it was time, and I headed off down Eastern Avenue, towards Essex.
The direction and destination of travel are relevant here, because they hearken back to the fall of 2008, just after I had met my former girlfriend and fiancee. Earlier this week, we broke up, and in some ways, it's been like a return to that fall (albeit a month early). There was a lot of beauty in that fall, and there was a lot of beauty in this running route, which I discovered that fall, and which I re-lived this weekend. For those of you who insist that beauty while running can be found only on a trail, I submit the following, taken on the bridge to Essex on Eastern Avenue:
Admittedly, man-made mayhem (such as this car crash that I saw on the way back) is a constant environmental hazard:
But man also makes some pretty cool stuff, like this fountain (be patient, and watch the whole thing, or skip to about 20 seconds in if you can't . . .):
So in the end, beauty is where you find it, but in order to find things, you have to look for them. You don't have to do much looking on the trail to find what typically passes for beauty. But in the city, you have to be open and adventurous and aware, because, for the most part, beauty doesn't just come up and smack you in the face (unless you consider being mugged a beautiful thing).
And sometimes, if you're looking hard enough, you find some really amazing stuff, like this mix CD I found on the run, containing, among its 18 unique tracks, "The Seed" (The Roots/Cody Chesnutt), "Sell Out" (Reel Big Fish), and "Otherside" (Red Hot Chili Peppers), twice:
Upon a few more runs through, I am now at least momentarily infatuated with Rise Against. :P
All things considered, it was a good run (both the literal one described above, and the relationship), and it's always sad when these things are relegated to memories. But then again, memories serve a purpose, too, and sometimes, that's where things need to be. Time to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and embrace whatever may come. :)