Monday, August 1, 2011

Going East: New Jersey Running

As you, hopefully noticed, I recently ran a half marathon. Of course, that meant that on our vacation, I would need to be doing some training runs. 

For better or worse, that meant that Ed and I were heading out the door at 4pm on a hot and humid afternoon to get in my last long run of 12 miles. We were promised scenic towpath, which would hopefully make the weather more bearable.

We snapped a quick pictures of ourselves before getting drenched with the humidity and we were off. 

This pathway is a wonderful feature of Princeton - incredibly lush and beautiful and flat besides.

After about a half mile, we came upon a very green swamp area to the left, which reminded me that the first colonists of the east coast had huge malaria issues. Of course, then I started worrying that perhaps alligators could somehow get all the way up here. I always thought of alligators and swamps stuck together.

 I asked Ed and he told me, "Don't worry. Of course there are not alligators here. Only crocodiles".

Unfortunately, less than two miles in, my legs started hurting. I decided to keep it to myself, because turning around early wasn't an option. I tried to get distracted by the gorgeous surroundings. 

Such a teaser. Luckily there were more exciting animals that were cute, not dangerous. There were many little turtles dotting the edge of the canal and at one point, I saw something cute and furry with its nose sticking out of the water, and then quickly slipped under the water. We asked steven later (I wondered it if was a river otter) and he said it was probably a beaver!

At some point, water began showing up on the other side of the tow path as well, and soon we were crossing over water next to lake Carnegie. 

Finally, we reached six miles and I let Ed in that I felt more or less like dying and was worried about getting all the way home. We stopped, took a break, had some food and water, and rested. Of course, the heat was so palpable that it was difficult to cool down.

Knowing I wouldn't magically start feeling better, we started back down the pathway, with sore legs and a somewhat defeatist mentality. 

One of the pluses of a later start was that it did start to cool down somewhat, which was a welcome relief. 

Nonetheless, I started having to walk some every mile, and was in more or less agonizing pain. I remember thinking that I felt worse than when I ran 50 miles. 

With only 2 miles left, Ed encouraged me to run it in, and I acquiested. However, after a mile or so, I looked to the side of the trail and saw this little guy. 

Now, on the way out, I said that I would want to take a turtle picture on the return trip. This being the return trip, I pulled over to the side to take a picture. Ed immediately tried to be tough love coach and told me under no uncertain terms that I needed to start running again. I, in my infinite wisdom of a runner about to hit the breaking point, very strongly responded that I would be taking a picture and he needed to back off. Of course, Ed immediately turned sweet and explained that he just wanted to help me finish (which I knew, even though my screaming legs made my response a bit stronger than it needed to be)

Finally, we exited the towpath and ran the last bit through the housing complex, until the lovely garmin hit twelve miles. Immediately, I started walking, thankful to finally be done.

As a reward for our efforts, we went out to a delicious Italian meal with Steven and Hilary for dinner. It was spectacular, and we got to have Hilary's favorite - balsalmic chicken pasta - which was every bit as good as she said. 

Ed and I decided to go half and half with the balsalmic and a delicious seafood pasta - I couldn't decide which one I enjoyed more, so I was glad we shared. 

After dinner, we had just enough room to go to "The Bent Spoon" known for its delicious and inventive ice cream. I had creme fraiche and blueberry marscapone. 

Perfect end to a perfect day. 

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