returning to the watershed

This morning several of us braved the weather to run out at the Redmond Watershed Preserve.  This has been a favorite running spot for me over the years, a place I typically do my longer distance runs, training for marathons.  Starting when I was training for the NYC Marathon in 2002, I’ve done hundreds of miles out there, many of them solo, many with friends.

According to my training log, the last time I was out there was May 4th, one week after I’d run the Free State Trail Marathon in Kansas.  I started out the run with many of the same folks I ran with today (Ram, Bob, and Amy), and while extending the distance I ran into my friend Ben and finished the final loop with him.  I remember that day – it was a good workout, and lots of fun being out there with friends.

Today was also fun, although pretty unconventional for a watershed run.  Since the parking lot was closed, due to the snow, we met in a shopping center across the street, and took a side route into the preserve.  It was a bit scary running on Novelty Hill Road, which is busy, because the snow put us into a lane of traffic.  Then when we picked up the connector trail into the preserve, we faced about 6-8 inches of very slushy snow.  Every step was a high one.

The areas under trees were a bit more shallow and packed, but the run turned out to be very challenging.  We were running for about one hour and twenty minutes, but went only five miles!  I’ve walked faster than that.  Not today however.

Still – it was an adventure.  The company was great, the preserve beautiful, and it was an incredible workout.  I think it was roughly equivalent to running nearly twice as far!

I had an interesting conversation with my friend Mark while running.  He paid me a nice complement, saying that he was impressed at the positive spirit I’d shown in the hospital (he spent time with me there), and through recovery.  I pointed out that he’d had something to do with that – my friends and family were the ones who helped keep me focused forward.  It’s true that I’ve had to show determination, but that’s much easier to do when others are with you all the way.

After the run, we repaired to a local market where we got some breakfast.  We sat around talking about house renovation, the economic situation, and things like that.  It reminded me just how much a part of my heart and soul running with these people has become.  I’d noticed the same thing running with my friend Landy on Christmas Eve too.  It’s just great being out running with friends.

After we wrapped up lunch, I ran some errands.  While out, I thought about another potential milestone for today.  It had been six months since I’d last run over 30 miles in a week.  I’d averaged between 30 and 35, but had been pushing my routine up to 40 miles per week when the accident happened.  I’m not running nearly as fast, or as hard as I did before, but sticking it out for 30 would be a good start on the road back.

I wouldn’t have bothered if this week’s miles hadn’t been such a challenge, due largely to the snow, but also to the fact that I’m still recovering from surgery three weeks ago.  In the end, I couldn’t resist.

So around three o’clock, I parked my car at a trailhead I often run while at work.  I wouldn’t say that the run was one of my best.  I was definitely tired from earlier, and from running five straight and six out of the past seven days.  I did a simple lollipop route over the Ardmore Park and Tam O’Shanter trails, taking it really easily on the slick downhills.  As was the case in the watershed, I’ve gone lots faster while not trying to run in snow.  It took over thirty minutes to get in just 2.5 miles.  That puts me at thirty one for the week (Monday-Sunday).

After running in the snow this week, my legs are tired.  I can feel the fatigue in my quads, calves, and hip flexors.  That’s okay though – I’d expect to be tired, even without the snow.

Another milestone passed.  It’s great to be out running, especially with friends.

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