Today was an interesting day. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but it was an absolutely beautiful day. I’ve only been in Alabama several days but I think it’s getting the Most Beautiful state award. After spending so many intimate moments with the asphalts and landscapes of so many different places, I’ve realized how much I need green in my life. The desert was incredible, the mountains were beautiful, the canyons awe-inspiring. But surround me with green pastures, blooming wildflowers, and a treeline that’s crowded with bright leaves, protecting the mystery of the forest below, and I am truly happy.
This morning, I started my run with a stop at the local post office to mail a package home to my parents. Goodbye sneakers #6, heavy jacket, and books. I got on my way and soon lost myself in what quickly became my 3rd favorite run of this trip.
A few days ago I left highway 82 behind, and from here on out, it’s a lot of backroads. Today I flew along the hilly backroads with such joy that I ran right by my first turn and didn’t realize until a mile or so down the road. I got a pretty good clip going, whipping around blind curves, cruising down hills and chugging up them. Felt like I was taking my Corvette stroller out for a ride : )
As I was ranking the run in the top 3 of this journey, I came to the end of the backroads and linked back up with a busier, 4-lane road. A sharp dose of the negative half of civilization hit me hard- speeding traffic, complicated intersections, and curbs. Lots and lots of curbs. Not a fun time when you’re pushing a stroller.
Anyway, I tediously picked my way along the avenue, getting stopped twice by police who warned me against proceeding. I finally made it past all the shopping plazas and headed out on the other side of town. A couple miles down the road, I realized I had missed a turn again, and had to backtrack back through all the shopping plazas and intersections to get back on the north side of town. Good grief.
I made it back to my turn, and I’d have to say that’s when the real fun started. Runners- you know sometimes when you’re on a great fantastic run, and then the last few miles or so stretch out over an impossibly long period of time and space? The last 4 miles of today’s run took me an hour and a half to complete.
Imagine a narrow road, twisting and turning like a backroad through the countryside, up and over hills, turning blindly down into sharp curves, crossing creeks and rivers. It’s a beautiful road, one that climbs way up to a peak that allows you to see out over the whole county and up into the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Gorgeous, right? Now throw in 5:00 traffic coming out of the biggest city in the state, take away the shoulders and leave 2 feet of rocky grass before the land drops steeply downward. All I can say is that it was a tedious 4 miles and at the very end of the run there was an incredible giant of a hill. It was like a video-game run. I think I made it through quite a few levels : )
Anyway, it was still a wonderful run, and now I’ve got that great ‘I’ve been running hills’ soreness in my legs. And after a great run, I was treated to a delicious meal with Hannah’s family, homemade turkey fingers, made from fresh wild turkey her Dad hunted last week. A perfect day : )
(Side note: apologies to my parents for making them worry all day long. I’m sorry Mom and Dad! Love you : )