I very rarely write about running. Why that is, I don’t know. I’ve run almost every day for the past 30 years.
I suppose I don’t find much to say about putting one foot in front of the other. However, I’ve done enough reading about running to know that some runners like to do some sort of a special workout on a milestone birthday, like run a mile for every year or whatever.
Life being how it is these days, I didn’t have time to run 50 miles on Thursday. So as I headed out for some exercise I thought about what I could do to make this birthday workout into something memorable. Maybe I have time for 50 minutes, I thought.
And so I warmed up by walking for about 7 minutes, and then began to slog away through the mud and the snow. Somewhere about 25 minutes out, I thought if I turned around right then and slogged on back home I’d have that 50-minute run. Big deal.
But there was the crest of a hill just ahead, maybe two-tenths of a mile. Perhaps I could make something interesting out of this workout by picking up the tempo, running to the top of the hill, and then trying to make it back home in 50 minutes.
But first some rules: No overstriding — I couldn’t think of anything worse than spending the first couple days of my 50s quad-sore. And there would be no kicking myself if by some chance I didn’t win my race with the clock.
I picked up the pace, reaching the top of the hill at 28:44. That meant I’d have to run back home about 7.5 minutes faster to get there in 50 minutes.
I know the landmarks fairly well. And it seemed like I was gaining time. About 2 miles from home a killdeer plover, the first I’ve seen this season, winged away from a snowbank with its distinctive cry. They always seem to arrive following a spring snowstorm. I took it as a good sign.
I checked my watch and it appeared I was indeed on pace.
About a mile from home there’s a fairly steep hill. When I reached the top I checked my watch again and felt even more confident. As I turned the corner on the last half-mile I knew I had it, but not by how much. So I kept up the tempo, trotting past my front gate in 48:44, more than a minute ahead of my goal.
There was nothing to do but celebrate with a short cooldown. I stopped my watch at exactly 50:50.
Time, I understand, is relative.