Sunday, March 19, 2006

Sunday in the Park

I drove out to the park by myself today. Eric caught an earlier ride to start with the 7:00 am group - they were going to run trails. I made the mistake of dropping into the valley and taking River Road to get to Tacoma - and boy, was it foggy. Really foggy. Once I got to Tacoma the fog cleared out and it was beautiful and sunny. I got there about 7:45 and chatted with Rick while we waited for everyone else. At 8:00, the trail group swung back by the cars to pick up Ruth, and the rest of us headed out. Emily wanted to run the park backwards, so we decided to give it a try. Five Mile Drive is a one way street that loops the park, and everyone tends to follow the road in that direction, with the traffic.

Running backwards means an uphill start. Seems like when I start uphill, my heartrate goes high and stays there for the run. I decided to take a walk break partway up the hill just to keep that from happening. It seemed to work well, I kept an average of 142 for the run. We had a large group - seven of us and though others led the way, everyone followed my run/walk schedule.

The last time I ran the route backwards, there was just two of us, and it was the other runner's first time in the park. My infamous sense of direction added a couple detours to the route - those intersections in the woods are hard to recognize when you approach them from a new direction! Today Rick was really good about keeping us on the correct route - I would have messed it up every time. Though we were running on the roads, it was beautiful. The sun was filtering through the trees, everything was green and quiet.

After we came down the big hill, we ran past the backside of the zoo. There is a big blank wall on one stretch - as we were running by we heard a huge roar - it actually made me jump. We were trying to figure out what the zoo had that would roar - they don't usually keep any big cats. I thought I had read something about a new tiger that was in quarantine. I checked when I got home and found that they've added a couple of Sumatran Tigers to the new Asian Rainforest exhibit. That's what we heard - it was pretty cool. We were talking when we went by and I think it set the tiger off, just like it gets dogs barking.

We got back to the car just a couple of minutes before the trail runners. After a little more chatting, we loaded up and headed to Starbucks. It was packed, but we found some stray tables and chairs, strung them together and squeezed in - I think there were 14 of us in all. We had a great time - one of those days where we kept switching chairs and conversations. We phoned Rob in the middle to see how his run had gone and chatted with him a while. A few people drifted off, but there were still eight of us sitting there, when we finally decided to go. I flipped my phone open to check the time and discovered it was after 11! We spent almost two hours sitting and talking! I knew we'd gone long because Eric and I had a second round of drinks - that doesn't happen too often. But you know what? I didn't care that our morning was gone. There aren't many better ways to spend a morning than a beautiful run and a long visit with friends.


Jack said...

I think time spent running with friends is quality time indeed - I rarely get to do this anymore. Sounds like you had a great time.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

What a great morning!!!

robtherunner said...

Rub it in Pollyanna!

Sorry couldn't resist the above comment. How could you guys have such a great time while I was wallowing in my own selfish self pity party all by myself???

olga said...

I feel bad for Starbucks other customers:)

Donald said...

Sounds like a great run!