My "merry band" of running buddies, as we like to call ourselves, noticed the red sky this morning and recalled this old weather warning: red sky at night, sailors delight, red sky in the morning, sailors take warning. Now the forecast is set for up to 34 inches of snow and high winds. We cancelled our weekend trip, but T&B will visit us here next weekend instead.
Back to the run. I am so fortunate to have a few different running groups, so I never have to run alone and rarely have to resign myself to the treadmill in the stinky stale air of the gym. Fresh air is where it's at, yo! You'd be surprised at just how many people are willing to get up before 5 to run, and actually relish it. I place myself squarely in this group - even though it is sometimes torturous to pull myself away from my cozy bed and cuddly hubby at 4:45, I have very rarely regretted it (no offense, Kyle!).
My Tuesday/Thursday group is a sub-group of a large Baltimore running club, the Baltimore Pacemakers. The Pacemakers do long runs together on Saturday mornings (at a more sane 7 AM), and track workouts on Wednesday mornings. This little group of us that convenes on Tuesday and Thursday includes 8 or 10 folks who run about the same pace and just prefer the company of others to the solitude that some crave while running. We range in age from 28 (ahem, I am proud to be the youngster) up to 60ish, men and women, several Ph.D.s, an M.D., a professor, an architect, one of my fundraising colleagues, a lawyer, a Washington Post editor, a published author, and a professional mom. In a normal setting I would probably be slightly intimidated by a group like this, but on the road before dawn, we're all just runners. Albeit, runners with very enlightened conversations through labored breaths.
Sorry, I tend to get wordy when it comes to running. I like it! What I meant to write about was what we experienced this morning, mostly before dawn and all before 8 AM. We started early to get 15 miles in before the storm hits. Several of these folks are heading to Beantown with me, and all have one spring marathon or another planned, so missing our long run isn't really an option.
On the first leg of the run I had an inspiring strategy conversation with my colleague about the shape that my program is taking and it's potential for the future. So much better to talk about that stuff outside of the flourescent lights of the office. We headed to Druid Hill Park, a place that has a bad rap in Baltimore as it's on the brink of a sketchy hood, but is really a hidden jewel full of challenging hills and a freshly paved 1.5 mile track around the lake. We encountered a contingent of Hopkins ROTC members, decked out in camo, combat boots, and huge packs, and exchanged cheers for one another as we passed. Which led to a shared book review on Jon Krakauer's "Where Men Win Glory" which I'm almost done listening to in the car. We saw the ducks gathering around the line between ice and water in the lake, wondering if they know the storm is coming? They probably have a better idea of what's going to happen than we do. We watched the sun rise over the city and noted the red sky and clouds. We talked about the crazies we encountered at the grocery store last night and what we all plan to cook up this weekend as we're snowbound. There was no mention of the Super Bowl, but one of the group who had recently hosted a party at her house for the Packemakers did share an interesting insight from her teenaged daughter: Mom, when you guys are running you never talk about running, but when you're not running that's all you talk about! So true.
I pulled away from the group a little bit at the end because the water breaks were becoming more frequent and I just wanted to finish. As they came in, a few told me how strong I was looking and we all shared a "great run, guys" and many thanks before heading our separate ways - to the lab, the hospital, the courthouse, the office, wherever. Even though I'm sitting here sore and tired now, I already can't wait for Tuesday morning. And for that matter, Monday morning, when I run with my team at the homeless shelter - there, though very few have jobs or homes, but similarly, you don't notice the differences out on the road. But more about that next week.
What was the best thing that happened to you between 5 and 8 this morning?