Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Shortest Distance

...between two points is a straight line. This morning's run was one long, straight line. For a change in venue I drove up to Lakelands Trail State Park which has its western terminus in Stockbridge, about 12 miles from here. I had only ever used the trail once before, years ago, on a bike ride. I ran from the trailhead in Stockbridge east to the small town of Gregory just over 5 miles away. I started around 9:30 am so not only was it an extremely pleasant sub-60-degree temperature but I had the trail virtually all to myself. I crossed paths with only four people the whole time I was out.

I had a fierce debate with myself about how far I was going to go. These out-and-back runs can get a person into real trouble. Every mile farther east I traveled added two more miles to the total I would have to run. I was feeling quite fine and knew that 8 miles was easily doable. But that meant I would have to turn around at mile 4, and I thought, Well, that just sounds silly...surely I have enough oomph to go at least 5 or maybe even 6 miles out! Oh wait...that means I would have to run 12 miles total...uh...maybe not. I could totally picture myself just cruising along the lovely path until, uh oh, I'd gone 8 or 9 miles with that distance yet to go in the opposite direction. I am not ready to run 16 or 18 miles yet! Conveniently, I reached Gregory around mile 5.2 and decided that was far enough. I stretched a little and then turned around and headed back.

I saw all manner of birds, including an Eastern Towhee, which I believe is a bird first for me. I heard a lot of birdsong I recognized, such as house wren, cardinal, red-winged blackbird, gray catbird, song sparrow, goldfinch, red-bellied woodpecker, blue jay, chickadee. I also heard birdsong I didn't recognize and I wished I had had my binoculars because I would have liked to add those birds to my list. I did catch sight of a small dark bird trilling an unfamiliar song but it was too far away for me to get a decent positive-ID-worthy look. Not with my poor distance vision. That's all I've got: "small, dark songbird." Uh, there are, like, 100 species of those.

I got back to my car just after 11:00 and on the way back to Chelsea one of my favorite songs, "Untitled" by Interpol, came on the radio so I turned it up really loud. And then right after that was Peter Bjorn & John's "Young Folks"! An excellent run, a new bird sighting, awesome tunes, kick-ass coffee, and nothing to do for the rest of the day except relax, watch NASCAR, and crack open that bottle of Jolly Pumpkin beer that's been chilling in the fridge since yesterday. Even better, I DON'T HAVE TO GO TO WORK TOMORROW!

It's 1:45 and I'm still in my running this bad?


Nitmos said...

BTW, ecellent PR half mary. BNice job and consistently strong splits!

I want to hit that trail sometime for a training run. It sounds real nice the way you describe it.

Laura said...

See, I actually like the "if I go one mile it's actually two" nature of an out and back, because it means I can't wuss out at the end :)