The (Running) Troubles, Part 2

An unintentional four-day rest does wonders for your running. At least it did for me tonight: I had the best, longest, and farthest run since returning to Iowa.

As the weather has cooled and my legs have adjusted to the east side’s undulating landscape, my summer running troubles have gone out with the season. Tonight I was a machine — comparatively speaking, of course. My run was nothing like the epic seven-milers I did in the Bolsa Chica housing tract, and pitiful compared to what the former cross-country runners do around here, but it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to know I am on the right track after starting from scratch.

Speaking of track, more work is being done at Bates Field where I have not only been enjoying high school football but running on the track. I have used the track to ease into running IC’s hilly east side, alternating runs there and in the Friendship area between First and Court, a place I like to call Little Cedar Rapids. (The single family style homes, circa 1960, remind me a lot of Cedar Rapids. Plus, there are a lot of Branstad, Grassley, and Miller-Meeks signs peppering the front lawns, very reminiscent of the City of Five Smells’ slightly conservative lean.) However, the track’s top layer — its distinctive red running surface with lane demarcations — has been shaved off. Why? Probably for resurfacing. The former surface was 10 years old and there was substantial wear to the inside lanes along the main stand straightaway. While heading to Little Cedar Rapids tonight, I passed Bates and noticed the freshly shorn course; it was a denuded asphalt foundation. Though I saw a woman walking on it later, I thought it better to stay off.

Slowly and surely I am adding time and distance. When I decided to start over again, I was running eight three-minute stretches separated by one-minute walks. Tonight I ran 13 three-minute stretches for the first time. In a week or so I plan to start running 10 four-minute stretches, introducing my first time increase.

Running longer means I am also running farther. I have tried my best to stay within Little Cedar Rapids, especially on the leveler streets, but today I decided to tackle the hill leading to Peterson at the ends of Arbor and Shamrock. I shredded each, proving once again that it is truly mind over matter; any hill his conquerable. At least with an adequate amount of rest. We’ll see how well I run them on Wednesday.

Though my summer running troubles are behind me, late-autumn and winter running troubles are just around the corner. Tonight I kept an eye out for places that will become dangerous with a layer of ice or snow. Snow is not so much of a big deal, but ice is what worries me. Covered in ice, any sidewalk or street is a hazard. Winter running is not out of the question — I often saw runners, bundled up, pass my parents’ place during my holiday visits — but there must be a trick to maintaining a routine through the frigid doldrums of January and February. The last thing I want is to trip and fall on the ice and be incapacitated in a strange neighborhood or on the outskirts of town. Note to self: take your cell phone when running.


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