Seven weeks until the Chicago Marathon. OMG. There is no way I am going to get the heralded three 20-mile runs completed, or even three 20-mile walks. Yesterday I went for an 18 miler and pretty well walked the second half. IT band issue from the start. Question to other runners: is the reason I keep having some new issue pop up because I am too old to be running, or does it happen at younger ages too?! So frustrating.
Still, it was a pleasure to be out on our trail system, which generously hugs the banks of our rivers, the mighty St. John (first three pictures) and the Nashwaak (bottom picture). It was a beautiful day in Fredericton, the first day in eons that we have not had oppressive humidity. The whole world was out: running, walking, biking, walking dogs, you name it. All ages to boot. And thanks to the extensive amount of walking in my “adjusted” long run, I spent more time than usual watching people enjoying the day, the beautiful scenery, and each other.
We are among the many municipalities and regions that have benefited from abandoned railway lines being converted to recreational trails. What a marvelous investment: the infrastructure of an outmoded (for better or worse) form of transportation being repurposed for public recreation and exercise. Interestingly, some of the most scenic property anywhere had become the purview of railway lines. Possibly this was because the builders could avoid steep inclines by constructing lines alongside rivers. Whatever the reason, we now have freed-up riverside trails for the public, lovely routes with minimal inclines. As well, railways often had to cross rivers, so now we have several former railway bridges that have been turned into walking bridges. How good is that?!
During this uncommonly hot and humid summer, which has had me walking more – and running less – than I had planned, I have had the unexpected bonus of spending more time admiring the landscape and the treasures along the route. It’s amazing how much more I see when I’m walking than when I’m running. Granted, this undoubtedly means that I am walking idly instead of mindfully, but that has its own rewards. I’ve noticed that the scent of the wildflowers growing by the side of the trail is amplified in moist air, heady and lingering. I’ve noticed that the osprey nest is being used for a new family this year after a year of lying dormant. I’ve noticed remarkably extensive and lovingly tended gardens that I usually cruise by. So there is an upside to more walking, it’s just not getting me to the finish line quite as quickly as I’d like.
Today my body is telling me that it feels fully exercised. It’s not saying, “You call that a long run?” It’s saying, “Don’t plan on doing that again for a few more days,” just like it would be saying if there had been less walking and more running. So it can’t be all bad. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it!