Sometimes, you just need a weekend at home. And when you live in New England, there’s something to savor about summer turning to fall. New England is, after all, mecca for all true fall aficionados. We wrote the book on fall. And it’s totally here, folks. School’s back, it’s dusk at 5:30, and we planted the mums. Yes, that’s right. You heard correctly. The mums are in the ground.
We decided last-minute to forego the annual Labor Day weekend on Cape Cod. There was this question mark about the weather. A little storm named Hermine was heading up the coast? But in truth, we stayed home because… we needed it. Three blissful uninterrupted days on our home turf with no real plans. My husband was so excited. He likes the Cape as much as I do, but as King of our “Castle,” he needs downtime to muck about with yard tools and other contraptions in the basement. And I love our home too; even more so when we choose to stay home with intention.
How did we spend it? My weekend started on Thursday afternoon, with a 4.5 mi run along the upper Charles River near my office in Waltham. It’s truly a tranquil oasis along a sleepier section of the famed river, transformed from a previously industrial no man’s land. Unfortunately, the severe drought affecting the region right now was glaringly obvious on this run. And distressing. Wow, the river is low. It’s one thing to read that this was the driest summer on record, it’s another to see ducks standing in the middle of a riverbed where water should be.
When I run immediately post-work, my mind almost always continues to “work” on whatever I’ve left unfinished that day. And this definitely colors my run. I’m harder on myself. Sometimes, more exacting about foot strike, arms, staying loose, breathing. I tend to run faster and with more discipline. My mom tells me that my father, who was also an attorney, worked out cases during his evening walks. I wouldn’t really know how he worked or walked since he died when I was 15, but I often wonder about him. I wonder if he would have caught the running bug if he lived long enough.
I wish I could say that I have family members regaling me with endless stories of life with dad, filling in my blanks with colorful recollections, but not every big, Irish Catholic family is voluble and jolly. After my dad passed, everyone kind of drifted away from one another. Over the years we made our own little families, apart from one another. It was too hard, I think. I was a lot younger than my siblings and cousins. So I’m left with my own scant memories and that will have to be enough. The run felt good though. I kept a steady 9 min / mile pace.
Without the hustle and bustle of getting down to the Cape on Friday, I treated myself to a strength training session with intention.
We were up and at ’em on Saturday morning, at the Bradley Palmer State Park in Topsfield, MA for a family hike with trail pup. It’s a rambling mess of a park with many horse paths for all the horsey people from the fancy northern suburbs. It is also the site of an annual 50 mi ultra each fall called the Stone Cat Trail Race which I have a distant, very distant, eye on… Someday, after I get my leg fixed.
During afternoon naps I headed out on what turned into a 9 mile run around the lake near my house. The weather was near perfect running conditions and I was feeling good, except when I stopped feeling good, about 3 miles from home. I finished the run without incident. I just felt… old.
It was my longest run since the marathon at the end of May. I figure if I don’t get back in the habit of one long run a week I will lose fitness and the ability to train up quickly for any races that pique my interest. It got me thinking that I should find a half marathon to sign up for, sometime before the end of the year. So that’s on my radar now.
Sunday was a rest day after enjoying a lovely date night with the hubs. Lots of gardening and organizing and craft-making was engaged in by all, adults and toddlers alike. And the puppy park. Can’t forget to mention the bonding time with trail pup.
Everyone, and I mean everyone (dog, toddler, baby), slept in on Monday. Sign of a good weekend, right?? I still got to take a 30 mi ride on my bike along the Minuteman Bikeway and out to Concord, MA. It was an awesome experience. Some might say, “Revolutionary.” I averaged 15 mph over the 30 mi. Incredibly, my last split was my fastest (5 mi in 18 min. 45 sec)! I only wished I’d shared it with someone. Does that sound corny? I suppose it does. Tri Friend was out of town. I should have hooked up with my other friend who rides (That’s right. I only have two friends that ride. For now. Sigh). Next time.
I capped off a great weekend over a glass of wine with a new friend I’ve met through my son’s school. I sussed her out but I don’t think she’s the running, biking, swimming type. I will not hold it against her. She did say she might be up for a TRX class sometime… so all is not lost. 😉
What’s your favorite downtime activity?
What quality do you value most in a friend?
Has running ever led you to change your perspective on something?