I’m probably going to keep this post tonight short, sweet, and simple. I almost always do my long runs on Saturday morning, but due to other obligations I had to shift this week’s to Sunday. I sure wasn’t going to skip it, what with the Boston Marathon only seven weeks away and 16 miles on the docket. And oh, what a glorious February day it was in Northern Illinois. High temperatures in the lower 60’s (thanks, El Nino!) and near-perfect conditions (albeit a bit windy) when I hit the trail shortly after 8 AM. For this 16-miler, I hopped on the Fox River Trail about two miles from my house in North Aurora, right at that sign you see above. When running long like this, I start out running southbound to the trail’s terminus in downtown Aurora, turn around, and head northbound for as long as I need to hit my mileage goal for the day. One benefit to doing this: I can stop back at my car at the 7-mile mark to refuel with water and gels, and carry less with me on the trail.
Oh, by the way, today was my best friend’s 12th birthday. And by best friend, I mean my Boston Terrier.
Meet Copley. Yes, he’s named after Copley Square, which is also the location of the Boston Marathon finish line. I got him as a puppy, five years before I took up the sport of running and long before I ever planned on running the Boston Marathon. But, being a Bostonian to the core and no longer living in the region, when I decided to get myself a Boston Terrier puppy I simply had to name him something related to the city.
Copley Square is named after John Singleton Copley, an 18th-century artist who painted the most famous portrait of Paul Revere, which wound up being the inspiration for the supposed image of Sam Adams that today adorns beer bottles. I know all of this partially from high school history class, and partially because I was a tour guide at Paul Revere’s House in Boston’s North End in the summer of 1997. You want Boston bona fides? I have Boston bona fides. Enough to know you really should never ask a Bostonian to pronounce the word “bona” without the “fides” unless you want it to sound obscene.
Anyway, I mention Copley’s birthday because as luck would have it, about 12 miles into today’s run I crossed paths with a couple and their Boston Terrier puppy! He looked almost just like my Copley looked as a puppy, so I had to stop for a minute to ask them about him and pet him. They’re such great dogs, and dogs really are such great friends.
Later this afternoon, my five-year-old daughter Caroline (who will finally get to hear “Sweet Caroline” in person at Fenway Park in April) and I took Copley out for a special birthday walk on the same trail. It was a day to feel thankful for small things.
And that’s one of the many good things running helps you do – feel thankful for the small things. I got outside for a few hours this morning, in February, and could move quite well. I saw bridges and dogs and the river and other runners and cyclists. The exercise and fresh air does such wonders for the mood. As I’ve posted about in previous entries, I am so thankful to be able to do this.
And oh, by the way, the run itself went great. My splits were dead-even, and put me on a pace to beat my marathon PR by about 10 minutes if I can sustain that pace through all 26.2 in Boston. That’s the goal. And while you never know what surprises race day will bring, I’m optimistic that I just may achieve it.
50 days to Boston.