All week, I’ve planned to squeeze in my long run during my lunch break today. All week, I’ve been excited about exploring Montgomery County further by trying a new route.
The piles of slush on every street corner thanks to this week’s snow storm, coupled with a major work deadline that’s been looming, left me thinking today wasn’t the best day to make this happen. I idly wished I could find a new route that left from my front door and that promised a reprieve from the patches of ice, and started thinking about running later this week, instead.
Then, I got an e-mail from the leader of our running group at Pacers, outlining tonight’s route, which she said “seems to be salted and well-lit.” It goes right by my front door. We’ll miss the group run tonight because of a scheduling conflict, but that left me pretty much out of excuses for lunchtime. I left around noon to tackle the 5.1-mile out-and-back course twice.
Let’s just say that this wasn’t my finest long run. The route was unbelievably slush-free, but that didn’t stop my shoes from soaking through after the first mile. And I realized mid-run that I’m in desperate need of some new tunes. There are some serious hills on this route, and as I cycled through my iPod looking for a good pump-up song, I felt like I was looking through my closet before a night out: Tons of choices, but somehow, nothing that quite fits my needs.
Whatever the reason, the tunes or my shoes, I ran around Silver Spring … OK, I’ll leave the Whos out of this. I was just tired today, no two ways about it. My ankle, which I twisted a month ago running in Rock Creek Park, throbbed. The hills just about killed my lungs and thighs — I actually stopped to catch my breath on two of them. And I just felt fatigued in a way that made me want to talk back to the singers on my iPod (To Ice Cube: Life is neither a track meet nor a marathon, but a stupid hill loop I don’t want to finish. To Eminem: Maybe YOU can go ’til you collapse, but I need to stretch.)
But in running, as in life, sometimes you get a break just when you really need one. The route goes right by Rock Creek Park, and after staring straight at the ground for five minutes or so while shuffling up one particularly taxing hill, I looked up to find myself on top, with a wide swath of snowy woods beside me. At the same time, U2’s “Beautiful Day” came on my iPod. It’s one thing to talk back to Eminem and Ice Cube. But Bono? I quit my whining, did the route twice despite going right by my house at the halfway point, and remembered that it was, in fact, a beautiful (if slushy) day.
Anyone have tunes to suggest? I’d be forever indebted if you’d post suggestions below.