Sunset Run

Worked late tonight (and woke up late – but it was all right – Christian called to let me know he was blowing me off …). Steve and Chris swung by a restaurant for supper; I decided that I really, really needed to go run, plus, the Sox were killing the Angels.

Newport is an exceptionally beautiful place. Just hands down. Today was a blue sky fall day, temps in the low 60’s, and a few, few fluffy clouds. I left from Chris’ house about 6, and headed south into town. Ran down Thames towards Naragansset Ave, and took a left up the hill. As I crested the hill, I was treated with a view through a tunnel of trees looking out onto the North Atlantic. The sky in the east was just beginning to show indigo with the band of pink atop it that most folks miss while staring west at a sunset.

I hit the Cliff Walk, and instead of turning north to begin closing my loop, I decided that this evening was something magical, and I needed to extend rather than close. So I headed south, down to Ruggles, adding another mile, and watching the band of pink begin to climb in the sky.

Hit the turn at Ruggles, and started running north towards First Beach. Life was good. I was on stride, in rhythm, and I was totally hitting the runner’s high. Having experienced endorphins straight to the brain while running, I’m petrified of trying any sort of opiate, which is supposed to be the same feeling without the exertion. Needless to say, I was feeling great, and when I thought about cold beer in the fridge back at Chris’, I was able to dig even deeper and keep the feet falling.

As I crossed the Naragansset (I know that the street’s changed names by the time it hits the ocean, but that’s just silly, so I’ll call it Nara.) access point, I spied a runner a little ways ahead cresting a hill. The remaining bit back to Memorial (same thing as Naragansset) was a push to try to catch her, and we hit the sidewalk at the end of the walk at about the same time.

The band of pink was really racing across the sky as I headed up the east side of Memorial. The evil hill that I’ve been struggling up for a year was suddenly an ally as I headed down it, and stretched and FLEW. Really. I think my feet touched ground like three times in the .3 mile downhill.

Turning north back onto Thames, I started thinking I might cramp. But I wasn’t about to let a small thing like physical discomfort get in the way of today’s run. No siree bob. Small dog struck again – there were two guys up ahead of me, and I felt the need to blow by them, even though they were probably at sub-9 minute pace, and I still had about 1.5 to go (at about mile 4, I decided that I needed to do 7 today. Why? Because).

The last mile was kind of slow, because I was completely spent. Legal twilight ended as I got back on the road along the bay headed towards The Bridge, and the last bit of pink eased under the horizon as the sky became completely indigo. The last mile seemed to take FOREVER, but I ended up doing it.

A big shout-out needs to go to the folks at WEFUNK, a sweet funk and hip-hop show out of Montreal that puts their 2 hour weekly broadcast online as a downloadable MP3. I’ve probably got a whole gig of their shows on my iPod, and it’s always worth a listen when there’s nothing else on. Not sure which show I found, but the downhill was run with Chuck D screaming in my ear. Beauty.

Oh, the numbers – 7 miles in 56:48, for an average of 8:07/mile. This 8 minute thing may not be a fluke – I probably could have pushed a little harder and trimmed the minute off the run to get the average under 8. Mile breakdown as follows: Mile 1/7:29 – very slight downhill, beautiful evening, good tunes – how could I go slower? Mile 2/7:54 – traffic through downtown, and the beginning of the climb up Nara Ave. Mile 3/8:16 – lots of uphill, trying to figure out how far I wanted to go. Mile 4/8:15 – Cliff Walk. Mile 5/8:23 – Sure, I was small-dogging the woman, but I’m still fat and out of shape. Mile 6/7:50 – This was the flight downhill. Like I said, it was the most amazing thing I’ve felt running in a long, long time. Mile 7/8:41 – Just trying to finish, and up the slight hill that mile 1 was down. Best pace was 6:15, which I’m sure was down the hill.

Got back to Chris’, the Sox hadn’t choked, and Chris and Steve brought me a cheeseburger. Life is good. Tomorrow, I head home early so that Melissa can go to the Y in the evening. And I run at mid-day with a new client.

Life is good.