Monday, June 20, 2011

The Perfect Run

I've been diligently trying to work off that vacation gut I talked about a few weeks back, but the humidity and terrifying thunderstorms haven't been helping my motivation. (Sallie and I are both winter runners for sure)

A few days ago though, I had one of my more perfect runs since the half marathon Sallie and I ran last year.

I had spaghetti the night before, three Lion's Choice roast beef sandwiches (this was my only real meal of the day, I'm not fat, just really love roast beef sandwiches) for lunch that day and a banana about an hour before my run. So in those three meals I had the trifecta: carbs for energy, protein for muscle rebuilding, and potassium to kill the cramps. I didn't plan it out that way, just sort of happened.

I spent the last twenty minutes of my work shift stretching, which I don't normally do before a run. I was feeling pretty great, even before I took my first step.

The thing about a perfect run is its not just how well you run that makes it. It's a combination of yourself and the environment around you. The classic character vs environment conflict.

I hit the pavement just as the sun was going over the horizon, but I still had plenty of daylight to see well.

As I rounded the corner, the Bosnian bakery down the street from me was baking cookies and cake. A scent that put me instantly in a great mood. I couldn't help but ignore the humidity. The cookies made me think of Christmas.

I have a pacing problem when I'm alone. I go into a full sprint without paying attention and burn myself out quickly. This was the case at about the mile mark. I had to slow down and walk. Just then a toothless man in a fishing hat sitting in a lawn chair yelled out, "Ah man, that's alright. You gotta walk it out. You're going to pick it back up in a minute here, I can tell." He punctuated his cheering with a laugh I could only describe as Ving Rames playing Santa who had been smoking for 40 years.

I was propelled forward again and started running. I made it to about the 2.5 mile mark and was joined by a five year old who ran next to me for a few houses. I let him beat me to our imaginary finish line and he looked satisfied.

The next mile and a half was rough. I ran along Kingshighway, my Zune constantly battling with traffic noises. It was picking the correct music, but the sounds of horns and sirens often over-powered.

Then as I made it to my street, I could see my house towering above the rest. My 4.5 mile loop was just about complete for the night. I was ready to be in the air conditioning again. I was ready to park my ass on the couch, put my knee in its brace and ice my feet. Right on the home stretch, my Vietnamese neighbor was in his front yard, drinking a tall boy, with a very obvious drunk smile, and he says the only English I think he knows, "It's a good day yes!"

Yes sir, it was a good day.