A holly jolly Christmas

A story in three parts:

I. Chasing Sunlight
II. Wheels
III. 8,000 steps of true love

I. Chasing Sunlight

Friday evening. Day before Christmas Vacation. Not so many folks at the office, but a ton of stuff to finish before the New Year. Finished 2 out of three major tasks for the week, and decided to take the last one home to finish over the weekend (yeah, yeah – taking a couple hours after everyone else was worn out and asleep on Christmas sounded like a better choice than being late for another supper). 3:50 and I was on my way from the lab to the office to do time cards, etc. 20 minutes of paperwork and frustration later and I was on my way home.

I almost didn’t stop – it was on the ragged edge of being able to have enough time to get in a run, stop at the Arcadia Y in Wyoming for a shower, and make it to the traditional Christmas Eve Eve dinner at Mystic Pizza. But, venting the other day seems to have done me a world of good – I was itching to run. So, run I did.

The day was beautiful as I got off the Newport Bridge. Watched the sun sink below the horizon as I drove towards Beavertail. Pulled off at the beach parking for the 3 mile run to the point and back. Cool but nowhere near cold, not much wind at all.

Did the “hide behind the car door” quick change, fired up Wilco’s “Kicking Television” (another flashback – 11 Jan 2005 I was all over “A Ghost is Born” … this isn’t bad at all if I can kick the funk and avoid the end-of-season collapse in Aught Six) and ran toward land’s end. The sun had been down for about 10 minutes by the time I started running. Mini-goal was to be back before twilight gave way to darkness.

I can’t say enough about how beautiful it is running on Beavertail. It’s all elevated above the water, long views of the grey, grey North Atlantic, and the Rhode Island shoreline which is a lot less developed than one might think – it’s all cottages and homes instead of condos and resort hotels. Rounded the corner at the light, and looked over at the shrinking spot of red dotting the western sky. Looked back to the east, and saw it was still slightly rosy – good sign for running down the darkness.

The slope away from the lighthouse opened onto a field/parking lot. The beacon from the light kept sweeping across the field, a white wiper across a darkening windshield. Passed folks walking back to their cars, and a guy setting up a telescope to take advantage of unseasonable warmth and beautiful clear skies.

Made it back to the car before dark. Felt great to get into the front seat and turn on the motor with it still blowing heat. Beautiful view of the last bit of color as I crossed the causeway between the north island and south island. Tasty pizza an hour later…

II. Wheels

Saturday – probably 50 degrees. I was pretty much bound to go for a bike ride, as was the rest of the Southeastern Connecticut cycling community. Great ride from the house to Stonington. Nothing spectacular was accomplished, other than actually catching and talking to another cyclist for a couple of hundred yards, until she headed down US 1 towards Mystic and I kept going to the Borough.

The bike was sweet – finally broke down and bought some high-tech chain lube (White Lightning if anyone cares). Silenced everything. Still need to adjust my front deraileur – I get chain rub if I’m in the big ring and anything other than the 4 tiniest cogs. Not an awful thing, but I’d like to get another two in the big ring just ’cause it looks cool.

Nothing earthshaking here; just a darn fine ride at an unexpected time of year.

II. 8,000 steps of True Love

Christmas Morning was as it should be – children jumping out of bed early but not too early, presents from Santa, good breakfast, more presents from people we love. Played Lego. Played Duplo. Played cars and planes and trains and everything else.

About 1, Nate goes down for his nap, Jake snuggles down with his Grandmother for some stories, and Melissa and I headed out for a run.

Have I mentioned I’m completely in love?

In any case, it was absolutely amazing – 4 miles to River Road and back, beautiful weather in the 40’s or so, and absolutely perfect pacing. I stayed half a step behind Missy to make sure I could slide behind when cars came. She’s gotten quick, she’s gotten confident, and I was in fine fettle chasing along. We laughed, we cried (no, not really), we bought the soundtrack. “Merry Christmas”es were exchanged with the walkers on the road.

10 years married, 15 years together. The absolute best Christmas gift I got this year was 8,000 steps of undivided attention.

Have I mentioned I’m a lucky guy?