Monday, March 3, 2008

A "Think Different" Kind of Monday?

Since May 23, 2005 I have logged 78 Monday evening runs in the Eastover neighborhood. The original route actually started a couple of months earlier from Providence Sundries, however, parking was an issue so the run was moved up near the Harris Teeter - the actual Sharksbite name derived from the Wolfman Pizza that we were ceremoniously kicked out of, just like all the other restaurants before.

The route was 5.55 miles and we began at 6:30 sharp, noted by the bells from the church across the street. So that was a nice run of about 433 miles! Ever since being too big for a parking lot the run has dwindled down to next to nothing, I have run alone for several iterations over the past few months. Why? It may have all disintegrated over one horrendous event that took place in that parking lot. I missed the damn thing by a couple of minutes, but apparently its effect has effectively destroyed the Sharksbite club that I knew. A real shame. I will say no more.

My average pace over the duration was an 7:42 minute mile, with one standard deviation of 18 seconds. That rolls to an average time of 42 minutes and 39 seconds - one standard deviation of 1 minute 40 seconds. My glory PR (personal record) came on September 19, 2005 when I held on with a lead group for a time of 39:40. I did manage to break forty minutes on four occasions - one of which was my favorite of the 78. It was January 29, 2007 when May King and I pushed each other to a great finish. Winston joined me on the run twice, one of which was my slowest time (46:26) during a sweltering 89 degree run. The temperatures during this tenure ranged from 35 degrees to 92 degrees. Average temp was 71.3, with a one standard deviation of 14.9 degrees.

Why am I spouting all this nonsense? Well, I think it's likely I will run again there no more. Why go out of my way to run alone? I never had any of those fast times by myself! The final determination came from developments at my place of employment. We are taking over the remainder of the second floor, and one of the spoils is a shower! So why not be more efficient, and make a statement about being environmentally conscious and run to work?!?

So today was the big day. Of course last week I had planned ahead by leaving a change of clothes, everything I needed to shower, and extra food for my Monday lunch. I was up at 7:00 this morning, not in a particular hurry but aiming to leave at 7:50 to give me plenty of time before the 9:00 staff meeting.

I decided the northbound route would be as straightforward as possible. That meant instead of snaking up via Murrayhill and Poindexter I would go straight up my beloved South Boulevard. The temperature was perfect that morning, about 40 degrees and sunny. I had never run straight up before. It wasn't as bad as Pat McCrory would have you believe. It was definitely like a rollercoaster, just that sort of appreciation you don't get when pushing a gas pedal and brakes. It was like learning about someone you thought you knew! But maybe like a weird uncle you don't like, because as soon as Tremont came I crossed over to follow the path that runs adjacent to our new light rail line, Lynx. I then came to our door with a time of 36:15. I later learned the route was 4.4 miles, so that put me about an 8:12 pace. I had to stop at four major intersections to wait for a light to cross.

There was a secret hope that I would be the first staff member to use the shower but that honor was taken by my co-worker Rich. He reported a fairly high overall grade for the experience, citing the water pressure as fine, but apparently there was some sort of funky smell. Thankfully I am known to be hard of smelling. Usually I like to cool off more, but I didn't have too much time. To throw in a Seinfeld reference, I was worried like George Constanza that my shower "wouldn't take" but thankfully that was not a concern. And then a few minutes before the business at hand began.

By the time 18:00 rolled around I was ready to leave. I had a crappy day, but did have a few minutes to think of another route home. I wanted to at least complete 10 miles for the day, and throw in some new streets I had never run before on. My southbound route began in a very familiar way of heading down Morehead and up Dilworth. After crossing East Boulevard I jumped over to Charlotte Lane, which was new for me. I then crossed over Kenilworth/Scott at Lattimore. This area brings back two particular memories. The first involved my first-ever trip to downtown Charlotte. I came down to participate in my first-ever triathlon, back when the MAP Sprint Triathlon was at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center. I came down from Durham with my dear friend Alice. We got lost as hell trying to find the Run For Your Life store (I totally laugh at this nowadays). Anyway, I believe we were on Lattimore when she accidentally turned onto incoming traffic. The other memory was when I was running along Scott with Winston. Before getting to Dilworth Gardens this ferocious dog came screaming out of nowhere and grabbed Winston by the throat, rolling both into the incoming traffic. I later learned the dog's name was Comrade, and he had spotted Winston for the greedy capitalist that he is. As crossed this time I did see another one of my co-workers out for her evening run.

As I swung down Floral it brought memories as this was the route I took to get to Freedom Park when I lived on McDonald Avenue. And then memories of the Thursday night run climbing up Cumberland. Instead of Forest Park I took Idlewood, which is a lot more gentle than its steep neighbor. When going down Willow Oak I cannot help but think of the Mary Lou and George Buck! What was new was taking a right and continuing past Park on Hillside. I had never been back in this neighborhood. The twilight was now on me as I fought my way up Heather back on to Park. From there it was a standard return trajectory on Montford, finishing up with all three White Oak steps. Unfortunately I left my watch behind at the office, so I don't know exactly how long it took me. Taking my pace from the morning and adding a little I figure it was in the neighborhood of 56 minutes - I did later learn the route was 6.5 miles.

So when I got home I may have confused Winston, who saw me leave this morning in my running attire. Perhaps I was running ALL DAY!

If only.

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