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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Running on vacation? Seriously!

I have a lot to blog about and Run #4 was kind of boring, so I'll try to keep this one short... We were away for the weekend at my in laws', and I wasn't even sure I'd run when we were there. I mean really - run on vacation? Also, there is nothing silent or even remotely quiet about their house - the floors creak, the water pipes oh-so-kindly announce to the world when you've gone potty, the stairs shimmy, and the door slams, even when you hold it so it doesn't... My MIL and FIL's bedroom is on the first floor, right near the front door and the above mentioned shimmying staircase, so unless I repelled off the second floor balcony, there was no sneaking out of the house without waking anyone up. That, and the simple fact that I've been in this family for 15+ years and other than the rugby matches they watched in college, they have yet to see me exercise or do anything remotely active. (And really, the jury is still out on whether or not rugby can really be considered exercise. Pure stupidity and foolishness, yes. Exercise, ah - it's questionable.) Why ruin a good thing???

Well, I brought my running clothes just in case. I mean, I had just gotten cute new shirts, so I knew I'd be tempted to wear them! And believe it or not, that was all the motivation I needed! I set the alarm for 7am, and even got up when it went off! In fact, I think I was so excited to run (well, to wear my cute new shirts, at least), that I had trouble sleeping that night. I kept waking up and checking the time, and finally, at 6:58, hopped out of bed with an extra spring in my step because I knew it was go time! I got dressed and was excited to see there was enough light coming through the well-past-their-prime blackout shades of my husband's youth to check myself out in the mirror and see that indeed, my new shirt was pretty dope! I tiptoed to the bathroom (past my youngest's room so I had to hurdle a couch and crawl on all fours in order to avoid guaranteed wake-the-baby-and-end-your-hope-of-any-alone-time creaky spots. I peed, brushed my teeth, and peed again - you know, just in case. I had to do this all with the door open - because as I said, there is nothing even remotely quiet about this house and the squeaky bathroom door might be the loudest offender of all! Nonetheless, I'm working on peeing very quietly and if I do say so myself, have gotten pretty good at it after almost 5 years of having a child sleep right next to the bathroom!

I peeked out the balcony to more fully consider my repelling options, but had to, sadly, decide against it. Had the patio umbrella below not been open, I definitely would have done it. Well, that, and the small fact that I forgot my rope. But next time... So, I tried my best to sneak out of the house, but likely woke up all six sleeping people to one degree or another. I'm certain my most un-Navy Seal-like trek up the long gravel driveway, which is overlooked by all four bedrooms, didn't help with my effort to be stealth... Regardless, I plugged my ears to any potential crying-out-for-me-and-sabotaging-my-run children (or husband) and kept on walking!

Initially, I wanted to take a route up the road that follows the channel out to the lakes. It's not at all a desserted road, as there are houses and camps all along the way, but it is certainly wooded. The view would have been picturesque, but I was afraid I might run across a bear and well, that would just ruin any benefit that would come from the gorgeous views. So, I decided instead to turn left and head into town.

It's a small tourist town, complete with many out of towners who have no idea where they are going, no care in the world that other people might, and that the stupid deer standing in the middle of the road is a) not the first one everyone else has ever seen, b) not a friendly sideshow at the petting zoo, and c) not to be fed, talked to, or invited into your car! (No, I'm not kidding. I've seen them try. New Jersey breeds some weird people, I'll tell you...) So, people watching was sure to be entertaining, even at 7am on a Saturday!

I scared some bunnies off the mini golf course, scoped out the new arts center, and counted the cars in the bar parking lot whose owners had clearly decided to stumble home last night instead of risking arrest by the police, conveniently located across the street with a big bench out front, which I don't doubt they use to rest while waiting and watching for the drunks at closing time. I passed the public beach house and when I saw the "Public Bathrooms" sign and realized the gate was open, had a fleeting thought that I should pee. Really - again? I just went, twice, ten minutes ago. I eventually convinced myself that I would forgo the bathroom now, but if I really needed to, I could circle back and do some cross training by hopping over stray toilet paper pieces, squatting over the sure-to-be-peed-on toilet seat, and maneuvering my way out of the stall and bathroom itself without allowing a single centimeter of my skin to touch any surely-contaminated object.

I have to say, I'm glad I kept running and passed the bathrooms. Not only did I almost instantly forget that I so urgently had to pee, but had I stopped, I would have missed seeing a friend that morning. Yep - I had to go 210 miles from home to see someone I know on a morning run, but at least I didn't have to run all of those miles! My friend Sarah was out running, too, and we passed each other near the tennis courts. Following serious runner ettiquette, we didn't allow ourselves to stop and chat. Instead, we said, "Hi!" and "How are you?" and "Getting your run in before the kids wake up, too?" while each eloquently doing a pirouette and mini-backward run, before continuing on our way. It was good to see her, nonetheless, and it made me feel like I was finally part of "the club." You know the one - the one where serious runners belong - the ones who get up early, even on the weekend, and even on vacation, to run. That one. I know you're jealous...

So, I came to the end of the lakefront, banged a right across an oddly placed cross walk that was well past the intersection but I used it anyway - who am I to attempt jaywalking at that hour of the day, in a foreign land? - and up toward the church I got married in almost 8 years ago. It was interesting to see it from this angle, and by myself. Usually, I'm rushing to it, at least 2 minutes late and dragging 3 kids, that I never take the time to really look at it. It's quite nice, really. And peaceful at this hour, too. Ahhh... I passed the church and continued on to the school. I banged another right and up a short street that runs along the side of the school, then, you guessed it, another right onto the Main St. Some people were beginning to get out and start their day, but truthfully, there weren't nearly the people watching opportunities I was hoping for. Oh, well - it let me zone out and honestly, I can't even remember much else about that leg of my run. I sprinted for the last 1/4 mile, then I was home.

I tiptoed back down the gravel driveway, maybe a little more successfully this time because I was all warmed up and feeling nimble and limber. I found my rope, but if I wasn't willing to repel down, what makes you think I would consider climbing up the balcony? I went in like a civilized DIL - in the squeaky front door. All was quiet still on the homefront, though, so I got myself some water from the fridge (no ice because I knew that would make way too much noise) and tiptoed upstairs. Before the final creak, though, I heard my 1 year old in my room, laughing and playing in bed with my husband. I admit, I had a fleeting thought to pretend I didn't hear her and keep walking to the shower, but then I remembered running past the church and thinking about my wedding so long ago. "For better and worse, in good times and in bad..." I did the right thing and went in to save my husband. And her.

2.6 miles, 29:31 minutes. Not particularly impressive in time, but it's my longest distance yet and I wasn't even dying. Looks like a 5K might not be too far off after all!

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