Saturday, October 15, 2011

First Massachusetts Long Run

1 hour 57 mins. (15-15.5 miles)

For our first Saturday in Massachusetts, Jordan and I had big plans. For starters, it was move-in day at our new place. This meant we'd finally be able to unload Felix (the Jetta Sportwagon) after a week of Jordan craning his head and muttering "I can't see anything" and me wrin
ging my hands nervously every time he tried to change lanes. I'm sure my boss, Huub, who has been acting as our hotel proprietor and pancake maker for the entire week, was also excited at this prospect. But before we left Chez Valkenburg, he offered to take us on a running tour of his favorite long run route to and around the nearby peninsula of Nahant. Though I traditionally do my long runs on Sundays, I couldn't think of any reason not to move it up a day this week. After all, I'd only worked out once and it was already several days ago, so why not run long a day early and facilitate better recovery leading up to next Tuesday's workout? I was game.

After several days of seemingly incessant rain
and fog, Saturday dawned beautiful and crystal clear if a tad breezy. We slept in past sunup for the first time all week, not stepping outside with Huub until after 8am. Though Huub rarely runs more than an hour at a time, he was confident he could survive the entire run albeit at a restrained pace. Since we had no idea where we were going, the plan was to hang back with him to and around the peninsula, which should take about 75 minutes, at which point we were free to rev the engines for the return trip. We began the run by turning right on Atlantic--which, not coincidentally, borders the Atlantic--and hitting the pavement toward Swampscott. The unfortunate name of this seaside town belies how picturesque and truly lovely it actually is, particularly on a stunning autumn morning such as this one. Tons of people were out walking, running, riding their bikes and otherwise embracing physical activity with the cascading surf as their backdrop. For the entire run out approaching Nahant, we were faced by a stiff cheek-flapping headwind which would've made maintaining a respectable pace rather futile, so I didn't mind tucking in behind Jordan and moseying along at Huub's speed. When we turned left on the causeway to the peninsula the gusts intensified, but once we entered the refuge of Nahant the conditions improved measurably. By an hour into the run I was itching to drop the pace, but every time we approached an intersection or fork I had to wait for Huub's guidance, so eventually I just fell back in step with the boys.

Once we turned back onto the
main causeway, our return route apparent, Jordan and I made our move. The 20-mph wind which had previously been buffeting our every step now acted like a jetpack strapped to our backs. Organically the pace dropped almost two minutes per mile, and before I knew it I found myself running near marathon pace with little strain. I couldn't help but be reminded of the 2011 Boston Marathon, which boasted similar conditions, and found myself jealous of all those who'd taken advantage of the opportunity to run screaming fast times on that day. It's no stretch of the imagination to envision that conditions would've been ripe for a huge PR.

Jordan and I finished the run with Huub not too far behind, then spent a few minutes doing some stretching and core in the basement fitness center. After showers, breakfast crepes and some freshly made espresso it was time for Jordan and I to head over to our new home at the fort! For those of you who don't know, we've acquired a seasonal rental through the end of May overlooking the harbor near the grounds of historic Fort Sewall, a public landmark that represents the easternmost point in Marblehead. In fact, we learned upon meeting the owners yesterday that the original part of our house used to be the fort caretaker's cottage. Our place is furnished (with another family's belongings, which is sort of weird but unarguably convenient), and offers some of the most stunning ocean views I've ever seen. I must admit that typing this right now while overlooking boats bobbing in the harbor waters does seem a bit surreal but I'm certainly not complaining. We're lucky to call this place our home for the next few months while we seek something more permanent. And I've heard that watching storms from here is amazing! Check out a few photos while we try to get settled in.

Driving up to our new home, the square one right on the water

I took this photo from our dining room window. True story.

Our nice, big living room with doors opening into the two guest
bedrooms. Ocean views from both! Come visit!

"Our" fort, Fort Sewall


mfranks said...

Wow, that's gorgeous. Congrats on the new chapter.

Mad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mad said...

your place is cray-zay!

(and yes, i misspelled 'your' again. wtf.)