20 February 2011


A treat to run outdoors for the mid-point of this year's Big Sur training:
13.1 miles at the end of week 8.

The route snaked through a Winfield neighborhood to Jewell Road just behind Central DuPage Hospital. Crossing the tracks at Winfield Road, it goes up Park to Washington to Summit to Gary's Mill Road. One of these days I'm going to have to run all the way up Summit ... but not just yet! I believe it is actually steeper than any segment of the Big Sur course, so even though it is not as long as most of the inclines there I just don't relish doing it. Park/Washington/Summit works pretty well for these training runs.

West on Gary's Mill Road makes me miss cycling. It is a standard route "out of town" for the Saturday morning cycling group. Running it in the winter is lonely by comparison, and since the shoulders are either icy (as they were last year) or mushy (this year), it requires a bit of caution and judgment regarding on-coming traffic. Do they see me? Will they move? Can I get on the shoulder without twisting an ankle?

The day was full-on sunny, and the temperatures in the mid-40's, with a fair west wind that had some nip to it. I was glad to be in running tights, and had put on a head-band "just in case." Once I warmed up, the "in case" was pretty much when headed directly west. My and large, I feel that drivers along a stretch of road like this sort of get it when they see a runner, and have not yet felt threatened. I guess it helps to use common sense and run when when traffic would be lighter. This was early afternoon, on Friday, with the run finished before 3.

Just before Gary's Mill bisects Roosevelt Road, there is a charming neighborhood off of Morningside, to the north. Largish lots, many of them with small horse barns and paddocks. The loop is about 1.5 miles around, with an interesting though not challenging terrain. Doing the circle twice makes the full run, house to house, 12 miles. An additional loop in my neighborhood, plus a bit, makes a neat little half-marathon distance. A fairly steady 9-minute pace brought the run in at just under 2 hours.

So, we enter stage 2 of the training, and so far so good. In the first stage, Kathryn and I ran together only twice. (More on that another time.) We are eager to make most of our long ones together. Onward!

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