Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hadley Park

Stopped by the Hadley Park Community Center today. I've been looking for a place to swim and the HPCC is a short 5 mile bike ride away and it's free. I had no idea Nashville was hip enough to create FREE facilities like this. It was clean, everyone was nice, there was no one there. The lap lanes are short, but they're long enough and they're FREE. All the machines and weights are brand new, no one was using them and they're FREE to use. I couldn't believe my luck.

After swimming a half hour (easing back into it) I decided I would celebrate by buying some new swim shorts. I've lost about 15 lbs since I got the board shorts I've been using and I pretty much can't keep them on. My dad always swam in a speedo, which I thought was a little tacky, banana hammocks don't really have any place in a community center. I opted for some something slightly less revealing but just as tight. When I bought running shorts I went all the way and it gave me a false sense of commitment which translated to me working harder, an acceptable by-product. First few times in the pool, I'll probably wonder what I was thinking, but I choose to rock the lycra on the bike, out in the open, why not in the pool, eh? While I was in the store, I got to looking at running shoes. I was thinking this morning during my run that I probably needed an upgrade from my Nike Free's if I was going to start putting in more mileage. The Free's are supposed to only be good up to somewhere around 5 miles and I'll be doing longer days than that. I'm also hoping to save them for travel since they pack up so small. Anyway, got to looking at shoes and ended up with these sweet little numbers from Asics. I'll give them a whirl tomorrow on what will probably be my longest run since my accidental 11 mile run out in Washington last summer.

I'll recount the tale: The band was playing a festival in Cashmere, WA and our hotel was right next to the river and a bike/running path. I headed out for a short run, thought I'd maybe do 3-4 miles. Started up the river and crossed over on a bridge. Stopping at a map, I noticed another bridge down the river. Without taking the time to add up all the little mileage markers, I decided I'd just go ahead and run down there, cross over and run back. There was a kids fun ride going on and I was leapfrogging several families. They'd come by then stop at the rest station where I'd pass them. At one point, about 6 miles in, a family passed me for the third time and the father, a fit man on a single speed mountain bike asked, "you running the loop." "Sure," I replied. He said, "You're not from around here, are you?" I told him I was from Nashville, in town for the festival. He got all worked up when I told him I was in the Stringdusters, he and his family were planning on coming up to the festival just to see us. He offered me some water and I asked how far I had to go. "About 11 miles."

I was not cut out for this, I'd only been running seriously again for a few months and had never tried to bite of anything more than 5 or 6 miles. At that point, I was past the point of no return. I kept on, begging water at the kid's rest stations and finally made it back to the hotel, a little worse for wear but feeling ok. If it hadn't been for the kids ride going on it would have been a tough day. I told my bandmates I'd "accidentally run 11 miles." Our guitar player stated that those words would never be heard coming from his mouth. That evening I got an appreciative round of applause from the mostly sedentary crowd when a band member introduced me as the "idiot who accidentally ran the entire River Loop that morning." Here's an incredible YouTube video of me acting a fool onstage later that night during the encore. I do my "thing" about a minute in if you're pressed for time. Notice the classic bluegrass haybales!

It's interesting what you can do if you have to do it. I remember that run often when I'm trying to push through a physical wall on foot or on the bike. It's kind of like how I explain riding a single speed. When you don't have any choice, or choices, you just stomp on it. I think that's what's so appealing to me about only one speed, no choices save for go and stop, and that's not a very difficult decision to make, right?

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