For my 41st birthday this year, I held on to one tradition, that being running from my home and running through multiple towns and seeing a few friends/family along the way, and later returning home in mid-afternoon. The day started sans alarm and I saw my whole family off and going on their days. I have some flexibility in my job so I got work done early and then took my business phone with me on the run so I could answer calls and even make a scheduled conference call along my journey (which I did!). Within my first 2 miles along my traditional daily route, I snapped this photo, not because of the snow, but because of its beauty. While snow should be LONG gone by now (and it was by afternoon), this was gorgeous. For us in NE Ohio, our winter is now ranked 5th longest from the first snow to the last snow..in history. Temps at the beginning of the run were in the upper 20s but would rise to the low 40s.
|Click on photo for high resolution version to view or save|
My route took me through a lot of country and into the nearby city of Kent. Around mile 11, I came upon this elderly Korean lady standing in the middle of the road, standing beside her old, gold Mercedes with the door open. She stopped me and told me how her feet kept cramping up and she didn't feel safe to drive any longer. Long story short, I helped get her car off the road and into a nearby driveway and spoke to her husband who was en route to Cleveland. I got him turned around and gave him directions to find his wife who was in the middle of nowhere. He hung up but not before saying "thanks for being a good samaritan!" ... no accidents, right? I got running again but with a bigger smile knowing that God used me just a little bit just then.
Not too much further along my route, I came upon downtown Kent and the selfies began. First up was a stop at the Haymaker Farmer's Market mural under Haymaker Parkway before I headed down along the mighty Cuyahoga River on the Portage County Bike & Hike Trail. My target was a locally-owned, Christian bookstore so I could surprise the owner, Ann, for a 2nd year in a row on my birthday run.
|I found this home as I came out of the trail near the river. Had to snap a pic.|
Moving back east now towards the center of Kent, I made my way through the library (bathroom break!) and then down along the boardwalk high up over the Cuyahoga River. I always pass through here on my birthday run and take a photo of me running on the walk. There was one distinct first this year: snow on the boardwalk. Where the sun hadn't touched yet, snow remained. Last year, I cut my run short around 20 miles near this point due to the heat. Heat? Not so much on this run but still gorgeous sunny skies.
In years past, I mapped out every mile and turn before I left. This year, I just wanted to run and decide every turn as I reached it. I have a pretty good guesstimate of distances and had my Garmin to track my overall mileage which was plenty sufficient. At this point of the run, I knew I'd certainly hit my 41 kilometers with a little extra.
A Recoverite shake, a few snacks, a hot shower (I was freezing due to being so dehydrated) that lasted a LONG time, and then some rest before heading to dinner a few hours later for my birthday dinner. Not a bad birthday at all. A pretty good one. Like I told my wife a few days back: While I am not meant to be alone in life, I believe I am while on the run. I can't adequately explain that but it's needed and I am thankful I have it. Polar opposites, for sure. I've had lots of those miles over the past 5 days and hours of thoughts to process much of life..it's past, present and future. For my 41st, it's just a day to me but a day I like to hold on to just a tradition or two that are mine and I can cling to. I got that...and for that I'm thankful.
Have a great day, friends.