Saturday, March 5, 2011

Circles in the dark

The Thirsty Thursday crew (such as it was) took a field trip this week to Ipswich River Park in North Reading. We had heard rumors that the paths around the athletic fields were plowed all winter and I think all of us are getting a bit weary of dodging traffic.

It was a small crew this week, just Mark, Chris and me. I got up there about 6:15 to get in a couple of warmup miles before 6:30. When I pulled in there was only one care in the entire parking lot, a truck belonging to a guy who was throwing a plastic football around the parking lot for his German Shepard. Low and behold the paths were totally clear of snow and ice.

I jogged down the quarter mile path through the woods to the athletic fields. There was one light near the tennis courts where the half mile loop meets the little path to the parking lot but otherwise the entire park was dark. I could see some street lights on the road behind the houses that abutted the other side of the park, but they were basically just landmarks in the distance.

It took a few warmup laps all the way around to feel confident that there really was no ice or holes or anything because for the most part you could not see the surface of the path at all, just the outline of it framed by the snowbanks. After a bout 3 laps, I saw a shape jogging toward me and could tell it was Mark from his gait. We looped the fields a couple of more times before Chris jogged up.

For simplicity's sake we kept it easy and just tried to do something with some turnover. Four times half mile with a half mile easy seemed like the right level of commitment for a workout in the pitch dark in early March when it was 17 degrees out. It was kind of surreal to be running fast in the dark like that without being able to see what you were running on.

When we jogged back to the parking lot later our three cars were the only ones. We caravaned over to Grumpy's for some good beers, good food and some planning of the Trans Vermont Beer Run in July, when it will be just a tad warmer.

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