Thursday, November 17, 2005

Spelunking...It's Not Just A Euphemism Anymore

Central MLK 4.9mi

Daylight Savings Time is a sham. I don’t care one way or the other but, for chrissakes, let’s decide on one way and leave it at that. It’s not like we’re adding hours to the day. We’re just giving more up front and taking it off the back end. It’s like a Bush tax refund.
What this all means is that I’m going to spend a lot more time running in the dark. That’s fine, but with my penchant for procrastination, now I have one more reason to cancel a day’s run. Tonight I fought the urge and strapped on my headlamp for some neighborhood spelunking.
The evening commute is still going full steam, and I try to stick to the areas with sidewalks and streetlights. The oak-lined streets of Seminole Heights provide new challenges at night. The thick canopy of trees provides a welcomed respite from the midday sun, but in the dark it blocks out the streetlights in the places where they are needed the most. Over the years, the tree’s extensive root systems have pushed up on the sidewalks, heaving them into jagged concrete moraines, perfect for stubbing toes and twisting ankles.
Tonight I stay to the sidewalks though, unwilling to battle the traffic in the dark, and despite the obstacles I feel like I’m really moving. At MLK I turn to the east and push against the river of headlights until I reach Central Avenue. I realize that I have never run on the eastern side of Central, so I cross the street and follow the sidewalk as it meanders up and down to connect with each cross street.
Sometimes it takes a few miles before I can get up any speed. The halfway point is usually a good point to gauge how much gas is in the tank. Today I ease up for the mile or so past the halfway point, then slowly I start to ratchet up the pace. By the last mile I’m running about an eight minute pace, hoping that I’m picking my feet up enough to avoid the broken sidewalks because now I can’t see anything at all. I have to remind myself to stop and check for traffic as I cross Florida Avenue and sprint the last tenth of a mile to the house.


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