One of the things I like about running is that it gives me an excuse to let my mind wander. Not that I really need an excuse. My mind is pretty free-range all the time. It's just that I don't even try to rein it in while I'm running. For example, I had my own “Ugly Sweater Run” through West Branch on New Year's Eve day, because I totally spaced off the start time of the official “Ugly Sweater Run” in Coralville (the downside to a free-range mind). My train of thought while running, ran like this:
Warm up, .25 mi. brisk walk: HOLY CRAP! The wind is blowing right through this ugly sweater! It is surprisingly not warm. This may not be the best idea I've ever had.
Sullivan St., distance run 0-.3 mi.: Hmmm, wonder which is crazier: my crush on Billy Joel – who is right now preparing for a concert in sunny, warm Orlando – or that I'm running 3 miles wearing an ugly sweater in 22 degree Iowa instead of sitting stage-side?
Base of Orange Street Hill, .31 mi., elevation 730.27 ft.: The best part about starting a run with the Orange Street Hill is that it's all down-hill from here. Heh, heh, heh.
Apex of OSH, .56 mi., elevation 785.23 ft.: Oxygen deprivation sure makes me giddy. Whew! The really best part about running up Orange Street Hill is that it heats you up. This ugly sweater is surprisingly warm!
Descent OSH, first stage, .56-.67 mi., elevation 785.23 to 743.04 ft.: Controlled descent. Don't fall now. Controlled descent, don't fall now. Controlleddescentdon'tfallnow.
Descent OSH, second stage, .67-.96 mi., elevation 743.04 to 708.87 ft.: Wonder how many layers I need on my ears to keep them warm?
Mile 1: Wow! After Sunday's six-mile run, this is gonna be cake!
North Fourth St., 1.17 mi.: Speaking of cake, am I burning enough calories for two pieces?
Orange Street Hill Part 2, 1.26 -1.34 mi., elevation 737.37 to 749.88: The best part about OSH Deux is... oh crap. There is no best part to this hill. I hate this friggin' hill.
OSH2, 1.34-1.42 mi., elevation 737.37 to 749 ft.: You know, I could have told the kids I was going for a run, hitched a ride to the bar, slammed a couple beers, hitched a ride home, and no one would be any the wiser. Why didn't I think of this...
Apex of OSH2, elevation 780.45 ft.:...UNTIL NOW!?
North Sixth St., 1.5 mi., elevation 769.9 ft.: DO NOT spit into the wind. Any wind. Controlled descent, controlleddescent, controlleddescent!
North Sixth and Main St., 1.68 mi., elevation 723.96 ft.: Look out for traffic crossing Maaaaaaiiiinnn StreeeeCRAP! The sun's in my eyes! I can't see! Stupidcarsgetoutamyway!
Main St., 1.68-1.93 mi., elevation 711.37 ft.: Ahhhh. The flat part of town. And windy. Windy part of town. Good thing this ugly sweater is warm.
Main St., 2 mi., elevation 710.93 ft.: But it isn't moisture-wicking. Holy Crap! I have sweat-cicles between my.... I have one big, flat, chest-cicle!
Main St., 2.04 mi. @ 718.43 ft.: This end of Main Street is...
2.16 mi. @ 744.55 ft.:...nothing but...
2.23 mi. @ 735.44 ft.:...one little hill...
2.3 mi. @ 752.98 ft.:...after another.
2.43 mi. @ 719.85 ft.: “Iowa is flat” my ass.
Main and Pedersen St., 2.58 mi., elevation 721.27 ft.: Where did this traffic come from? Gotta cross, gottacross, can't stop, can'tstop and... GOFASTSPRINT! SPRINT!
Pedersen St., 2.6 mi., elevation 727.08 ft.: That *gasp* might not have been the *gasp* smartest move since there is ….
Pedersen St., 2.66 mi., elevation 739.76 ft.: ...one last *gasp* friggin' hill. At least I don't have to run up Hilltop Drive (short side elevation change 24.57 ft. in 88 yards).
Pedersen St., 2.81 mi.: Wonder how much snot these gloves can absorb?
Pedersen and Orange St., 2.84 mi.: Almost done and my hands are sweating. At least I hope that's sweat.
Orange and Greenview, 3.02 mi.: If you can sprint to the end, you didn't run hard enough. I think I caaaaaannnnnnnn'T SPRINT, can'tsprint, CAN'T. SPRINT. No sprinting, Sir! After six miles Sunday, these three were awful.
Greenview and Sullivan St., 3.1 mi.: And breath! Phew! Time? What?! I knew I shoulda used the Billy Joel playlist!
Breath. Just. Breath.
Cool down, .25 mi. stagger: Running today?
Tomorrow? Hill Top Drive.