Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Jail Break!

For the last three weeks - though it seems like much longer - I have been a prisoner.  Call it snowpocalypse, snownami, or whatever other nickname you came up with for the recent snow storms that have paralyzed the D.C. area, I've called it the warden. 

Fortunately, I wasn't trapped in the house or relegated to the gym and the dreaded torture mill.  Instead, I found myself with two loops: a 4.8 miler in my neighborhood and a 4 miler in the neighborhood across the main road.  Sure, that's almost nine miles of sidewalk, shoulder, and street to tread on, but day in and day out, night in and night out, day after day, and yes, week after week, I felt as though I'd fallen into one of Dante's levels of hell. 

I tried everything to switch things up: going in opposite directions, taking certain sections at different points in the run, looping twice, changing the order, even running on the other side of the street.  As Morgan Freeman said in Shawshank Redemption, "Time can draw out like a blade." 

I started to get apathetic about my runs.  Little excitement.  Tired.  Cranky.

I did tempo runs, easy runs, recovery runs, fartleks, intervals, and, God help me, an 18 and a 16 miler.

This past weekend, that all changed.  Facing yet another 18 miler, I dutifully checked the 10-day forecast leading up to it and felt the relief wash over me when there was finally no snow in sight.  We enjoyed a steady diet of sunshine and above freezing temperatures.

Slowly, the world began to reveal itself once again.  The snow peeling away.  The grass came back (much to Mattie's delight).  The ice melted off the street.  And yes, there was a sidewalk again on the main roads.

And so, I found myself in high spirits as I trotted out along the Mt. Vernon trail for Sunday's 18 miler.  It took me alongside and over the Potomac, into the heart of D.C.  I ran on the edge of the reflecting pool, rounded the Capitol, and skirted the tidal basin.  Fatigue mounted as I prepared to head over the Memorial Bridge for the final two miles, but that freedom spurred me on.  I had visions of William Wallace belting out "Freeeeeedddooooooommmm!!!" at the end of Braveheart as the smile broke across my face.

What's more, it didn't stop there.  I headed out of my neighborhood last night and tonight, did 9 on the golf course that had me stalking herds of deer and sending geese off in honking alarm.  Even the rain that's been steadily falling hasn't been able to keep me from enjoying this new found freedom.  With the miles buildng up in what has become my Monster Month, the shackles could not have come off at a better time.

Don't look now, but those clocks go forward in just over two weeks.

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