Sunday, August 1, 2010

Comfort Run

Like comfort food, this morning's run settled me a little. I lived in the Avalon Estates neighborhood for six years and ran in it just about every day the past three. Going back this morning brought back lots of memories and was a nice change of pace from where I've been running since. The way I write you'd think I'd been gone for years. It's  been all of three weeks.

I parked my car at the roller skating rink at the end of the street, pulled on my hydration pack and eased into my run. Almost immediately I was greeted with familiarity. Erin was out walking her dog. It wasn't yet twilight at 5:15am, so as I passed and said good morning I made sure to use her name so she'd know it was me. She returned the greeting just like any other morning. As I loosened up I turned right and ran past my old street, Auburn Rd. I didn't turn in. Left on Greencrest and then all the way down to MLK. I ran up past the Sunrise road and could see a hint of burnt orange glowing on the horizon. I hoped by the time I came back I'd be able to see the sun rise.

Left on Moses and then right on Upper Kingston. This portion of the run was relatively new to me before moving. Even though it was always right there I never explored it until just this spring on my bike. Once I got comfortable with it I started running on it more often though. It rolls a little and there's very little traffic. Speaking of which, I was treated today. I ran a stretch of about seven miles without seeing a single moving vehicle.

I ran all the way to the end of Upper Kingston where it intersects County Rd 85. I paused just long enough to eat a PowerBar Gel and began the return leg. On the way back I briefly stopped at a clearing that holds meaning, said a short prayer and then picked it back up again. I dreaded the thought of this run after yesterday's grueling pace run, but was pleased that at six miles into it I was feeling pretty good. It was mostly downhill and the miles faded away almost too quickly.

As I turned back onto MLK I was rewarded with the brilliant sunrise I'd hoped for. I made my way back down into my neighborhood and caught a glimpse of Vicky running ahead of me. She turned off before our paths crossed, but shortly after I saw the elderly woman on her single-speed bike. She used to have tassels dangling off the ends of her handlebars, but I didn't see them today. Finally, I saw the elderly gentleman that walks the neighborhood every morning. As usual, he was carrying his stick to fend off stray dogs.

Do you long for roads you once ran on? Do you go out of your way to visit them again? Do you do so to seek comfort? I've run on and off quite a bit the past 20+ years, but never stayed in one place or stuck with it long enough to develop an attachment. Until now.


  1. It's so nice to read that you had a good run. I think I'm getting attached to the Cloverdale area, but love surprises too (left instead of right, takes my brain a while to catch up and buys me a quarter-mile of new thoughts). I've also started putting this particular half-mile-long gentle decline in mile 3 or 4 to give me a gravity-assisted "boost" that helps get me home with a bouncier step. Nobody knows a neighborhood and her roads like a runner.
    Again, soooo happy you got this comfort run in. xo

  2. I wonder if I have a comfort running route??... I would have to say it is probably in Point Clear Alabama @ the Grand Hotel. It's mainly out and back but it has a bike path the entire way and there are always bikers, walkers and other runners out during their daily mile. I always look forward to my visits there... and the runs I get to do while there.

  3. Hilary, I really like surprises, too. I love exploring new routes and wandering off course. Sometimes there's just no substitute for the familiar, though.

  4. I've gotten bored with my regular routes. But I ran a 20 miler back in my hometown when I was there for my 20 year reunion and I ran some places I hadn't run in over 20 years. And I have to admit that I got great comfort from running there.