After officially committing to run the Vermont City Marathon a few weeks ago, I’ve successfully maintained my weekly mileage at or above 25/week. Long runs have been going well, though my legs are feeling the effects of the faster than desired increase in workload. Two weekends ago I did a twelve miler from home, after which I decided to commit to the big race. The following Friday I ran a hilly 15 miles from my office in Manchester along the second half of the Manchester City Marathon route, and although it was hard, I was encouraged by the fact that I ran it at a sub-8:30 pace.
Today, I ran a little over 15 miles, and it felt much better than last week. I ran the first 10 miles solo through some surrounding neighborhoods. It was windy, but the day was beautiful, and Spring has finally arrived in full-force in New Hampshire. The snow is almost completely gone, and I actually heard my first spring peepers (they’re little treefrogs if you aren’t familiar with them) calling from a swampy area along the side of the road. After the first 10, I stopped by the house for a drink and to pick up my favorite running partner, an ~80-pound black lab named Jack (I’ll devote a whole blog post to him in the near future). I did another 5 miles with Jack, which was great because with the snow gone we were able to return to our favorite running trail by the Merrimack River. This particular spot is great because it’s a popular dog-walking trail, and I can let Jack run off-leash. We must have passed 10-15 people on the trail, and equally as many dogs, and Jack was in heaven. He’s really good about just saying a quick hi to the other pups and then bolting off to stay with me, and I really enjoy running with him. One of the best parts of this particular trail for Jack is that he loves to swim, and at one end is a spot where he can take a dip in the river (he apparently has a selective ability to feel cold, but that’s another story for another post). So he got some exercise, some solid dog-socializing, and a quick swim – what more could a lab ask for (well maybe a giant pile of dog-food on the side of the trail).
Anyway, we ran the trail down and back, then headed home for a few hours of Spring backyard cleanup with the family (after 15 miles of running and 2 hours of raking leaves and sticks, I’m pretty much dead to the world right now). One of the joys of having a dog are all of the “presents” you find when the snow melts in the Spring, so the yard cleanup had an added element of danger. My kids were really excited to be playing outside, and I was amazed at the progress my son has made since last Fall in hitting a baseball off of a tee. My daughter was just happy to be able to use her swing set again, and Jack had a blast hanging in the yard with his “pack.” All in all, it was a great day, and I’m looking forward to a long Easter break next weekend.