|Monday, 7/28||Regular Run||6||9:40|
|Tuesday, 7/29||Regular Run||8||9:45|
|Wednesday, 7/30||Regular Run||3||9:12|
|Thursday, 7/31||Regular / Speed||5||9:30|
|Saturday, 8/2||Long Run||14||9:52|
Last week was a pretty successful training week, meaning that I met my weekly mileage and didn't get hurt doing it (my standards for training success have lowered over the years). One change I knew I needed to make was leaving my Seminole Heights neighborhood for Tuesday morning's "medium"-length run (I can only circle the Sem Hi 'hood so many times), which meant getting up extra early to drive to Bayshore. I looked for many excuses not to do this run, even after Tim and I got to the start of it (it was very lightly sprinkling outside), but eventually I did the eight miles--every difficult step of it. And guess what? I got rained on, and I was thankful for it in the stifling heat. Also, I saw more dolphins than I'd ever seen in the bay--probably a dozen--which always feels like a magical experience.
The other runs were typical runs around the 'hood--encounters of the homeless man under the Hillsborough Ave. bridge, sometimes peeing in the river, sometimes washing himself with what looks like a bottle of Listerine; invoking the ire (and frightening speed) of the pit bull that lives thankfully on the other side of a fence along Highland Ave.; and wincing at the random honking and hollering from rude drivers-by (why do people feel a need to do this?).
This Used to Be My Playground
I was looking forward to visiting my family in Central Florida over the weekend, partly because I enjoy visiting my family but also because I like to run the Seminole Wekiva Trail, which both my mom and dad live roughly two miles away from (separately). The last time Tim and I ran this trail together, we sort of got lost (OK, I got us lost). But this time there was less pressure on the still early training run, so I didn't even worry about which direction to go in; I knew that if we ran out of mileage one way, we could go back the other way for more. So we headed north toward the underground tunnel that was locked last time (and seemed to disappear thereafter), hoping for a different result this time.
Fortunately, the tunnel was open, but Tim wanted to go back the other way (probably traumatized from his last experience), so I went ahead by myself. And this is when the memories from my childhood and adolescence came flooding in. This was a new part of the trail for me, so I wasn't entirely sure where it would lead. But after passing over a beautiful babbling brook and then past the softball complex, I came to Sanlando Park, the tennis park that various members of my family used to go to when I was young, while my sister Anna, cousin Tara and I hung out, and that my sister Anna and I went to (to actually play) when we were seniors in high school. We were never very good, and I was less good than she was, but what I recall most about our little matches is exhausting ourselves silly and falling into performance-hindering fits of laughter. I don't know if I could ever take tennis seriously because of this.
I was hoping to get to seven miles in one direction and then turn back for fourteen, and I knew I was going to get close going in this direction. But I could see the San Sebastian trail head when I was at about 6.5, so I figured I'd run to the end and see where I could get some extra mileage. When I reached the end of the road, I realized I was at a main road, State Road 436, near a shopping complex that used to house a Borders bookstore (remember those?) that I'd patronized many, many times as a teenager and for some years later. Anna and I used to go there some evenings prior to going out swing dancing--an activity we picked up also in our senior year of high school that turned into a life-changing experience. One of the last times I visited the store was after I'd moved away to Tampa. I was visiting family one weekend after I had recently gotten back in touch with a professor I had for less than a semester at UCF (I had a false start). She had helped me through a difficult situation, and I'd always remembered her kindness. So we arranged to meet up in person, and Borders is the place we met to reconnect. It's probably my last memory of the store.
I ran for a quarter-mile on 436 and turned around to hop back on the trail. For some reason, in the first half of my run I hadn't noticed another distinct part of the trail that grabbed me on the way back. The path cut through a neighborhood with a sign that read "Spring Oaks." I saw the sign and thought for a second about why I should know that name. Then I realized that I was only blocks away from the first house we moved to when we moved to Florida. And a few blocks in the other direction was my grandparents' house, where we spent so much time growing up. And directly to my left was Westmonte Park, the park that Anna and I "ran away" to as kids, that both sisters and I went to for day camp in the summer, that we swam at, picked fights with boys at, and where our mom attended Jazzercize classes while we got barbecue-flavored Fritos and Bleep Blips from the vending machines. I was tempted to pause my run so I could go check out the park and the old corner house, but I was too far along for a detour and wanted to get back before the sun became too oppressive. The memories were what mattered, anyway, and those would always be there.
Food, Family, and Blood Pressure
I finished my run without too much trouble, aside from the usual deterioration in the last couple of miles. I even picked up a credit card on the side of the road so I could call the bank to alert the owner (turns out the owner had already canceled it--so much for my heroics).
|The guest room is overtaken by toddler toys.|
After we cleaned up, my dad started making breakfast and my mom came over with her contributions. Although my parents have been divorced for over twenty years, they remain good friends and live not far from one another. I count this among my many blessings. We sat around for quite a while reminiscing about old family memories. And Tim endured it all like a champ.
|Coffee, eggs, pastries, fruit, and . . . blood pressure cuff?|
|We had so much fun with this (obviously).|
The real reason for the trip, however, was so that my dad, my sister Catie, Tim, and I could see the movie Boyhood playing at the awesome Orlando movie house, the Enzian (even though it was also playing at our own Tampa Theatre). What the Enzian lacks in architectural interest it makes up for with its table seating and acclaimed menu, which we ordered off of for lunch while we watched the film. And vice versa for Tampa Theatre--amazing architecture, lousy seating and food selection (but I love it anyway).
|Older sis, Catie. We rarely spend much adult time together, so this was a treat.|
After the movie, Tim and I headed back home to Tampa. It had been a long day, but a totally worthwhile one.
I'm (mostly) on schedule for training this week. In my next post, I'll discuss the speed work that hasn't happened, the time Tim didn't try hard enough to get me out the door for an early run, and whatever other fun or tragic things occur between now and then.