The Kid shows up at Lock 29 in Peninsula on time. He is surprised to see that running partner Dave Gajewski is already there and ready to run. The two get off to a timely start.
The morning is unseasonably cool. The Kid is slightly beat up from the previous day’s Twin Sizzler 5K race. But he has begun runs in greater states of soreness than this. His Achilles Tendonitis hurts, and everything else does too. But he thinks he can handle the pain for these first three miles with Dave, as well as for the next ten with the entire gang.
That first mile truly is slow and painful. But then the conversation changes to politics, the pain subsides, and the pace picks up. It seems that the Kid’s Dander is up a bit. By the time they return to Lock 29 he hardly believes that they’ve got three preliminary miles under their belts. The crisp air is very comfortable for running.
Ten to twelve Medina County Road Runners have made their appearance for the planned ten-mile run. The Kid introduces most of them to Dave, and soon they’re all off once again. It occurs to the Kid that he’s got more than ten years on the next oldest runner. Although the Kid has forgotten any aches and pains he had when he began, he still feels a little bit elderly as he tries mightily to match the pace of these youngsters. The planned (by Keith Johnston) ten minute per mile pace has gone south of nine, and is approaching eight and a half, and the Kid is working hard to keep up. But he manages somehow.
The gang is running north on the towpath, along the beautiful Cuyahoga River, and it’s as nice as a day can be. The scenery is stunning and the park is practically sparkling.
At five miles north of Lock 29, the gang comes to a sudden stop. A conversation ensues as they debate whether some should simply keep going or head back to Peninsula in order to run back out for a few more. It appears that Caitlin Oblander, Christy Gnat, Patti Tomasello, Brian Rosenstock, Rick Roman and Renee Harden had been thinking of running fifteen or so, and have now decided to keep right on going past Station Road Bridge in Brecksville.
Now that the decision to go on has been made, the Kid has a choice of his own to make: keep going with this ambitious bunch, or turn back with the practical people, happy with thirteen for the day. After a small verbal nudge from Dave, the Kid finds himself continuing on in the northerly direction.
At this point the pace continues to quicken, and the Kid notices that his GPS is now squawking about a few sub-eight minute miles. Conversation, not to mention breathing, becomes more difficult. He mentions to Brian that the return trip may be tough. In other words he says, ‘we’re gonna pay.’ Brian, huffing and puffing a bit himself, agrees.
They pass the Brecksville eagle nest and decide to stop for a look. The path from the towpath to the river (the nest is on the opposite side) is short, and they think they may see a white-headed eagle inside the nest. But no one is sure. Everyone nevertheless enjoys the interlude. Other pit-stops are made at Brecksville and Boston Store.
At some point the group gets split up, but all are running well. Even though the Kid is feeling the miles and slowing down a little, the conversation with Dave and Caitlin in the later miles, not to mention the great scenery and fantastic weather, keeps him going.
As they finish up, the Kid has something on the order of eighteen and a half miles in, and he enjoyed every one of them. He thinks, not for the first time, that running, and indeed life in general, are wonderful.
Probably just a stupid runner’s high. He’ll get over it.