Friday, October 22, 2010

Run To Work Day - Double Or Nothing

I pressed the Outside Temp button on the dash. The display read 41. Not bad, I thought. Cool enough so once I warmed up I'd be comfortable. I stepped outside, turned on the taillight on my pack and put my Camelback on. Other than a Ride Share van, my van was the only other vehicle at the Hastings Park 'n' Ride. The full moon was on it's downward trek to the western horizon. It was ten minutes before five in the morning and I started my run to work. Carrying a light in one hand to help me with the dark spots, I headed east on Hastings and Farwell to Market. From Market I followed Peone to Bruce Road.

Peone was where I reached a tranquility point. With no cars around and the moon casting a shadow before me, I turned off my light and ran in the middle of the road. The cold hugged me. The silent darkness gave me an eerie feeling that I wasn't even there. For just a few minutes I was in the most calm and comfortable state. It's difficult to describe. Eleven miles later it would be a different story.

When I got to Bruce Road I slowed to fuel up. While I walked I ate half of an English muffin with peanut butter and drank half of a Gatorade loaded with chia seeds. While patiently climbing up Argonne hill I found myself being blinded by the ever-increasing number of oncoming vehicles and unable to see the debris on the shoulder of the road. After reaching Bigelow Gulch I jumped to the other side. That worked a lot better for me. Headlights coming from behind helped light my way and the red light on my back told them of my presence. I drank the rest of the first chia-infused Gatorade when I got to Upriver Drive and headed west on the homestretch. Okay, a long homestretch.

The sun was beginning to rise so I put my light away. The trail along Upriver Drive is nice but I preferred the level surface of the roadway so I ran in the bike lane on the shoulder of the road. I only had to get out of the way of a couple of cyclists. We exchanged, "Good mornings" with each other. Around the 15-mile mark my left arch started hurting. Can you get a cramp in your arch? I walked a bit and drank half of my second chia seed-Gatorade mix and then continued at a slower pace. After a mile it went away but I kept it slow just to make sure. Reaching Mission Park I was now on familiar territory. But I was feeling the 17 miles I'd completed so far. The usual spring in my step while running on the Centennial Trail from Mission to downtown was long gone.

I arrived at work just in time for work--8:00 am. I wasn't due until 9:00 because I took an hour off to give myself time to clean up, eat and recover a bit. After showering I went to the coffee shop across the street and order the biggest chai tea with the fattest milk--they threw in half-n-half--and washed down a cinnamon roll and a banana. The total distance was 18.9 miles.

View 18.9-Mile route to work in a larger map

I suppose I could have run around the block once to make it an even 19. Screw that, I was tired. The Bikilas held up well but I have to be honest here. My feet and calves were sore for the last four miles.

A hot tub and a cold beer sounds really good right now. Oh, and ice cream.


Spokane Al said...

Wow - very impressive Hank.

Do those chia seeds in your drink provide a noticeable improvement?

Hank Greer said...

Well, they're definitely not hurting me. The mix seems to give me enough energy. Today was more difficult because of the big jump in mileage, but for the 10 mile runs they seem to work like a gel pack. (Funny enough, chia seeds turn to gel as they absorb the liquid they're in.) But overall, I do feel like I have plenty of energy.

Pat S said...

Totally cool, Hank.

Once, when I lived in Seattle, I decided to walk to work and back. 18 miles each way. I left at 3am and got back home at some late after-dark time, beat to shit. But what a great adventure, no regrets.