Monday, January 30, 2006

Park Run

I wasn't feeling so good last night and wasn't any better this morning, so I went to see my doctor. By the time I got out of her office, got my prescriptions filled and took care of what was supposed to be a quick bank errand, it was late enough in the day that it made no sense to go back to the office.

Suited me just fine. Nothing interesting was happening there, anyway.

So I went home and even though I still wasn't feeling all that great, I had reason to think a run would help. It was a gorgeous day for it-- clear blue sky, a cool breeze blowing. Everything seemed to sparkle. I would've had to have been dying not to have wanted to run.

I drove to Memorial Park rather than run on the trails near home because my quads and hamstrings were tight and wouldn't have liked the hills around the bayou. And besides, I wanted to have restrooms and plenty of water fountains close by in case I started feeling bad again. So the park it was.

I usually only run at Memorial well after dark or as part of my longer Saturday runs. So I was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn't very crowded. I walked a little bit to warm up, then took off. Immediately I could tell it was going to be a tough run. My quads were protesting every move and I felt stiff, heavy and slower than tree moss. Ugh. But the glorious weather made it hard to get too bogged down in how my body felt. The sunlight was sparkling off the oaks and magnolias, the shadows were cool and refreshing and from time to time the wind would whip around a corner and play with my hair or tug at my cap.

So what if my body felt lousy? It was good just to be alive.

Toward the end of my run I saw a regular I hadn't seen in awhile-- Anorexic Woman. She's kinda scary with her sunken cheeks, hollow eyes and toothpick legs always encased in thick tights, no matter what the weather. But even she couldn't put a damper on my mood because she got me thinking of some of the other characters at the park-- people I hadn't seen in awhile because I hadn't been by very often in recent months. I thought about Lucky Shirt, who always wears the same dingy gray rag of a wifebeater tank, full of holes and clinging to his body only by threads and misplaced optimism. I thought about Park Guy, a golden-haired Greek god whose speed is matched only by his aura of mystery. No one knows his name. He never shows up at races. He politely and casually drops everyone who tries to run with him and so as often as he comes to run at the park, he remains unknown. I also thought about Park Guy's physical opposite-- an elderly man, torso curved to one side like a comma, who nonetheless manages to heave himself around the three mile loop nearly every night. He's scary, but his determination is fascinating. And then there's the Guru-- shaped like a cannonball, his skin the color of weak tea, sporting a white beard that flows below his waist as he trots around the park, glaring at everyone from underneath his fierce white brows. And watching the drama are two retirees who set up their folding chairs every afternoon in the median near the golf course, where they talk and wave to the regulars as they run past.

It's a strange bunch at the park sometimes.

I ran four miles and decided that splendid weather or no, my body needed some food and rest. I walked around a bit before getting in the car, reluctant to leave. The sun was a little lower in the sky and everything seemed to shine in the golden light. Shadows were lengthening, blue and slightly mysterious, across the trail and into the darker paths where the rabbits and coyotes play out their life and death games. It was that hour when all of nature seems to be holding its breath, teetering between daylight and dusk.

Anything can happen at that hour, because that's when magic happens.

Recent Workouts
Today: 4 mile run
Sunday: 45 minute core and strength training, 45 minute spin


nancytoby said...

Great post! Thanks for taking us along on your run! And maybe offer Anorexic Girl a sandwich?

Rachel said...

Jeez. Not feeling well and you ran, worked out, and had a spinning session? Maybe your body is telling you that you need a day off! Overtraining is so easy in the world of triathletes. Be careful and take it easy!

bunnygirl said...

Rachel, it's just UTI symptoms in addition to a bit of monthly cramping. I didn't want to get particularly graphic. It would've spoiled the storyline. ;-)

Cliff said...

I never see any regulars on my runs.

Maybe i am the only regular ;)

Kewl Nitrox said...

So, is it safe to run when one is not feeling well? I tend to shy away from training when I am not well. Is that being too careful?

Great post on the park. Thoroughly enjoyed it, except the elderly man reminded me too much of myself. ;)

Rachel said...

UTIs suck! They are the absolute worst. Hope you feel better soon! I've totally been there. Cranberry juice. I swear by it.