Saturday, October 25, 2014

Friday Run

Occasionally one of you will comment on a blog post of mine. I always try to respond but guess what? I can't do it. I can't comment on my own blog What?!?!? Something weird happens when I make the attempt. A pop-up box fills the computer screen and then disappears. Just thought I would let you know.

Friday I took my wife's dad to the VA in Jackson, so that knocked me out of an adventure run. I did, however, have time after I arrived home to do a long one out Money Road. Since Money Road is always there and since it becomes a little boring sometimes, of late I have been driving to roads I haven't been on in years and taking some nice ambles, enjoying myself wonderfully. To my surprise, my Friday afternoon run was a real treat.

The delta can be a dreary depressing piece of real estate that can try one's ability to have a positive outlook on life. It is pancake flat, mostly agricultural, and totally lacking in outstanding features. During the winter, the few trees are dead and the fields, devoid of their crops are just vast stretches of mud. Add to that an overcast sky, I often become moody, emotional, disturbed even.

The delta is, however, pretty two times per year. I find it has a visceral charm in the spring and again in the fall. In the spring, the freshly green trees on the horizon frame a flurry of activity in the unplanted fields as tractors are breaking fresh ground, fertilizing, pulling planters. I always want to take my shoes off and run in the newly turned dirt. In the fall, there once more is a furious frenzy as tractors, combines, and big trucks race to harvest the corn, soybeans, and cotton and transport the crops to market before the rains begin. The wide open spaces of freshly harvested fields surrounded by patches of wood displaying the first hints of autumn color always transport me back, back to my youth, to hunting with my dad, to football season, to steaks cooked on a grill in the backyard. At times like this I don't think, I just let that mood wash over me, and I try to let it totally engulf me like water does when I swim.

I shuffled north Firday afternoon over the Tallahatchie Bridge and onto that road I run and write about so often. Immediately I left the pavement and ran the turnrow where the footing was soft but smooth and I was safely out of the traffic. When a ditch forced me to abandon the dirt and return to the asphalt, I heard an automobile slowing drastically as it approached from my rear. Remember how nervous that makes me?

"Excuse me, Sir," I heard a female voice say. "Can you tell us how to get back to Highway 35?"

Pilgrims I presumed, though I asked no questions. I meet them often on this road. Two middle-aged women, this time, needed directions.

"Straight," I pointed north. This road goes to Highway 8. Turn right on 8 and about ten miles later you will come to Highway 35."

I ran a little over three miles (3.07 to be exact) and walked a little over one (1.01) for each cycle. The goal was to go a bit over eight miles out and then back. Now, I am starting to build some distance. Something new happened on this shuffle, something that I don't remember happening before. It happens in the water often but never on the road. My legs felt tired and sluggish on the first cycle. I wondered if I should not turn around and try again the next day. On the second cycle, however, my paced dropped, my energy soared, and my enjoyment went off the charts. I can't explain that.

I turned around after two cycles, the second being a great one, the third a good one, and the fourth was not miserable. I never bonked although I drank only water and consumed a mere two gels. I did slow on cycle four but finished with 16.38 miles, tired but feeling good. I went inside, took a bath and petted the cats. Then I waited for my sweet wife to come home.