Sunday, August 26, 2012

Run Where You Are

Running on the beach, Nantasket Beach to be exact, has provided the most scenic backdrop you could ever dream of.   Which brings up the most critical running advise I could ever give anyone; and that is to  (drum roll, please)  RUN WHERE YOU ARE.  Wherever that may be.  And I mean that in both the figurative and literal way.  If you are away on vacation for example, run where you are.  If you are nursing an injury and have to lessen your running distance, same principle applies,  run where you are.    
A word about running on the beach - water has always held a deep fascination for me.  Growing up in Mystic, CT on the docks, water became what I see as my natural backdrop.  The water, the smell, even the rotten-egg low tide.  The childhood simplicity converging with intense complexity, as long as my memory serves, I have always had an undying love affair with the water.  It’s no wonder that when I run on the beach, it’s an automatic given – I cry.  Yes, it’s true, I have been here a week; and crying on the beach like retired NFL coach Dick Vermeil pretty much every day. 
My ritual is to get up in the morning, put on my sweaty sports bra that has been ‘cleaned’ with salt water and left to dry on a terrace.  After that, it’s the stinky shorts, again, sprayed cleaned with salt water, and put on along with the wet sneakers.  Next step, while boys are still sleepy-eyed, I hit the sand.
Breathe……. The tide is low in the morning.  So I run along the hard packed sand close to the water’s edge.  Up to the end of the beach – Point Allerton – and back down again.  It usually starts with a stiff jerky run as my 40+ year old body warms up to the morning.  Once I see some dead sea animal washed ashore, then I know my run has officially started. 
The sand is different than the hard pavement of Hudson streets; and my feet fall heavy on the sand, sinking in.  The waves give a melody that softens my heart; and the seagulls won’t move as I pass by.  I move higher on the sand, and it gives under my feet.  I pass by the abstract person with leathery tan skin and continue my journey toward Point Allerton.  My mind wanders as the sea’s crashing waves are steady and rhythmic.  Random Person #2 has clearly set up for her ‘Official Beach Day’ staking out prime property in her chair long before others have woken and brushed their teeth.  “Good morning” as I pass by. 
I turn at the rocks, the point of no passing, and head my journey back to my temporary home on the third floor of our hotel.  As I stop in front of our hotel, while still on the beach, I just can’t bring myself to leave.  The sand is soft, and though I forgot to mention, I ran the second part of my run barefoot with sneakers in hand.  I throw my sneakers to the high end of the beach and scream “BOYS”.  They hear me from the open window that faces the water and watch as I splash into the water (to ‘clean' my clothes, of course).  I know, within 5 minutes, they will join me.  And I am grateful for this beach run. 

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