I left the house this morning at 5:30 with great energy, newly determined to sign up for the Grindstone 100 in October. I am told that registration opens April 1st. Sophie's excellent blog gave me all the details from last year's race. She loved it. Looks like my kind of race. Nice trails. Lots of climbs. Nice people.
Since it was so early in the morning, I tried to gather all of my running stuff as quietly as possible. A woken-up boy means trouble. Once those boys get up, there's just no getting out of the house. But I couldn't find the iPod. I knew Brian brought it with him last night to Simon's karate class. WHERE did he put it? WHERE?
I tiptoed past the Cinnamon's crate many times in search of the darn thing. It's a miracle she didn't start barking. She is a freaking barking machine. Nice dog, but man, enough with the barking. How do Brian's parents stand it, I wonder?
I never found the iPod, but I did find the little digital camera, so I brought that along in my running vest and took a few snaps along the way.
My Little Town at 5:30 in the morning.
This camera does not take great photos in the dark, but here are a few of the Mystic River. It was very low tide and there were lots of water fowl splashing about. None of which you can see here. Just use your imagination. Geese, a couple of different kind of ducks and a blue heron.
This camera is, however, exceptionally good at capturing supernatural phenomena. I did not see this river spirit in real life, but here it is in the picture. Plain as the nose on your face. River spirits come out early in the morning and bless the runners. I must have been blessed, because I had a great run.
After a dark trot up River Road and then up the always daunting Pequot Hill, I caught my stride and settled into my favorite part of the run through the rolling farmlands of North Stonington and Ledyard. Here is the first light on Al Harvey Road, just after I heard a barred owl sighing his familiar tune: Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?
Brief fantasy that I was actually running through Northern California....
But alas, no. It's Ledyard, Connecticut's one and only winery! Pinot noir? Cabernet? The mind stands still.
Good morning, cows!
I am about three hours into the run at this point and the bagel I ate at 5:15 has worn off completely. I am famished. All I have to eat are a couple of Clif bloks in my vest. I briefly consider busting through the fence and elbowing my way into the trough. Scuze me! Scuze me! Moo! Scuze me!
Shortly after my little snack, I hit the biggest climb of the run, up Gallup Hill Road. It's a mile or two up various grades of hill. I absolutely love it. I'll have to come run hill repeats up here this summer when I have a bit more time to train.
Down on the other side of the hill is the loveliest little farm. I don't think this photo does it justice, but here it is anyway. Sometimes a pair of twin Jack Russell terriers come running down the dirt road to greet me barking for all they're worth. I like to call them Jack and Russell. Why not? But they weren't out this morning.
And then I descend one final time down through the trees and back to good old Long Island Sound.
Please notice the house and boats on the right side of this next photo. We have contributed a hefty chunk to the mortgage on these fine items over the years. The whole business belongs to our family dentist. Great dentist, mind you, but still.
I don't know who owns this next house, but I wish I did. I imagine afternoon tea on the deck must be a feast for the eyes.
I'm a mile from home now and I'm falling down hungry. I'm trying to train my body to run on limited food because I always get sick in the long races. The less food I eat the better. But, man, if I had a couple of dollars with me I certainly would have stopped in here for a strudel topped blueberry muffin! Just thinking about it brings me to my knees.
Last hill! It doesn't look like much of a slope from this photo, so you're just going to have to take my word for it. It's tough. Especially at mile 25. Quite a haul up there.
Still going up the freaking hill. I'm more than half way up now. I'm getting there.....
And finally into my very own neighborhood and home sweet home.
Life seems to have gone on just fine without me. Nell and Brian brought the boys to their gymnastics class and played Rummy Cube while they waited. And now back home as I walk in the door, everyone is firmly entrenched in his or her own little world.
Brian is frying up some farm fresh eggs (from the farm where the kids take farm class).
Nell is reading the horse books that we got yesterday at the Book Barn (best used bookstore east of Powell's in Portland, OR). Nell is a horse crazy girl.
Simon is reading to his Webkinz. Simon has THE most literate Webkinz....
And Ben is having a ................. moment.
No matter what he's doing, Ben always makes me giggle. Either right away or much, much later.
Great run. Great day. Great life.