I’d love to tell you this was a first for me or that it was a one time crazy thing we decided to do, but that wouldn’t be completely true. The idea just didn’t make sense. It didn’t make sense two years ago when I ran my first pre-work half with Devan and Alec or the three or four times since that day I have run the distance before work. Running a half marathon before breakfast, before work, and before most people wake up is a little crazy.
Chris is crazy.
He has always been crazy enough to join in on a Swanson adventure. I was itchin’ for more miles before the weekend and sent him a simple text… “Half?” – it was Tuesday night.
Wednesday morning arrived.
And from there it was on. We stopped setting up water stops and banana drop offs over a year ago. I threw on my fuel belt and Chris grabbed a regular plastic water bottle and we were running a few minutes after five in the morning.
If we thought too much about the run it probably would not have happened. Morning runs keep us from thinking too much and most of the time there are not conflicts. The conflicts seem to increase if the kids wake up early. If I am able to run and return before my three kids under the age of six are up it makes for a better day. My mind starts working at about seven in the morning, so the more miles I get in before seven the less I remember and the further I can run. Half of my runs are a blur.
There has to be a sane number. 20? 30? 40? I am not sure what the sane number of miles are that a person should run in a week and be fit. Whatever that magical number is there is probably a number that is a relative sane range. Let’s say the magical number is 30 and the range is 5 meaning you could run between 25 and 35 miles and be both fit and sane. There are factors that would change that number for each individual depending on their job, family, health, age, location etc.
Whatever that sane number is for me I surpass it quite often. Crossing that magical number can be exciting, challenging, and at times irresponsible. This morning had a little bit of all three.
Fog covered Riverside Drive. It was warmer than expected and our long sleeve tech shirts were not the best choice for the day, but they did help spark our conversation as we discussed the Bay Bridge run that Chris just completed. Running over The Chesapeake Bay with 20 thousand other people can create quite a few stories to share on our morning runs.
Good conversations make the miles fly by. They say if you can sing you are running too slow and if you can’t talk you are running too fast.
The first six miles we were talking and enjoying the random topics that bouncing off our minds. Cars raced by us and we often were running in the grass on the side of the road. Our bright power headlamps kept us visible and relatively safe, but we usually jumped into the grass just to be even more safe.
Our halfway point was the Upper Ferry. Had we arrived an hour later we could have crossed the ferry and completed a nice 14 mile loop around The Pemberton area of Salisbury. It is a loop that is a common run in our running club, but that wasn’t happening today. We turned around and begun our return.
The sun and our speed began to rise. With each mile we talked less and ran stronger. Normally on these long morning runs we focus more on the distance and enjoy the conversation, but this morning we felt really good and just naturally began running a little quicker each mile. I held my phone in my hand and it was splattered in sweat by mile nine.
Ten. A few sentences.
Eleven. Silence. Just breathing.
Twelve. Barely breathing.
After twelve miles we were near completion of our run. We ran streets near Salisbury University to complete the half marathon and when I ran past my car and up to the curb near Chris’ place I was exhausted. I stopped my Nike running app on my phone and downed the remainder of the two bottles of water on my fuel belt. I had completed 13.1 miles in 1:57, my third fastest half marathon time.
I smiled, drove home and made the kids breakfast. It was then time to go to work.
Running beautiful routes with good friends brings out the best in my running. I run because I love running. I run well because I love running in beautiful places with good friends.
I will never be fast, but I will always run.
and I hope to always run in places and with people that inspire.
….because I am addicted.