besides fighting boredom on my 100-miler this fall, i know i'm going to have to keep running when i'm tired and sore. training for that kind of running is why i did my third straight long run this morning. i was really sore all day yesterday and woke up today with a little creaking in the bones. perfect!
it was about 50 degrees when i left the house and headed east toward highway 61. my plan was to run out to the county lake, circle it and run back. though i glanced at my garmin from time to time, i really wasn't concerned about pace at all. i looked out of curiosity at my distance and time of day more than anything else.
on highway 61, i ran south to highway 54 and took it east away from the city lights to highway 64 which goes south to the lake road. it was about the time i stepped onto 64 that i made a slight change of plans. i thought, why not run on all the major highways in and around pratt? crazy as that idea was at the moment, it became my set goal.
i ran down 64 to the lake road, turned east and looped around the lake. it was still this morning, so i could hear and see all sorts of things. i heard frogs chirping in the ditches, a crow cawing as it flew overhead, some geese and a mourning dove or two. i saw the shadowy figures of deer streaking across the rv area headed for the woods. as i ran along the lake, i heard the plunk of a fish that had jumped out of the water and fallen back in. i listened to the hiss of water rushing down the spillway. as i rounded the last corner and headed back to highway 64 i saw a heron rise from the lake and fly off across its glassy surface. it is a great day to be alive!
i returned to highway 64 and ran up and over the hill that's dissected by country club road. the traffic picked up just a bit around this time. four or five cars passed me in quick succession. the batteries in one of my knuckle lights had died earlier in the run. i was sure glad for the other one. the drivers saw it and steered out and around me.
at the bottom of the hill, i ran passed the county fair grounds and then turned north on the final highway, the good old 281. i crossed the bridge and entered the city again. running up main, i enjoyed the sound of my footfalls on the brick streets. i ran through deserted intersections, checking for cross traffic, ignoring stoplights.
when i got back to highway 54, i considered running east on it to get back home, but the road was clear so i ran straight across it and ran north to school street. turning east on school i ran the rest of the way home. i hit 10 miles just as i stepped off the brick and landed on asphalt again. i thought about stopping, but decided to finish out the loop instead.
i ran past the house to the crosswalk and noticed i was just short of a mile farther than any other run i'd done all year. did i stop? no! i ran that extra .03 ticks to end with 10.30 miles.
i walked a block to cool down. while i was on edgeford, i stopped to chat with a friend. he asked how far i'd run. i told him. "are you training for a marathon or something?" he asked. "no," i answered, "i'm going to run a 100-miler this fall." "wow!" he said. a little bit later he asked, "when you were in college did you ever think you'd be running like this?" "no way," i answered. "i was a sprinter in high school. i thought a second lap around the track was pointless."
the quarter-miler has learned new tricks. in seven months, he'll be running 100 miles in (hopefully) less than 24 hours. it's a crazy world!