Since we all make resolutions around new years (Jan 1st, birthdays and such), my resolution this year is to be faster, leaner and stronger.
Oh wait, I'm already working toward that.
So to celebrate, I did what I love doing on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur: instead of shutting myself up in a stuffy, overcrowded building, I went down to Scituate Lighthouse to get a little review and perspective.
I honestly believe when you grow up somewhere you have this sort of odd connection to the place. For me, I spent the bulk of my teen years sitting on the jetty by the lighthouse. Sometimes I would ride my bike there, other times I'd walk from Minot Beach all the way along the shoreline (except for one little stretch that was a bit tough to scamble around - so I'd just walk a block on the road) to the lighthouse. As an adult, I find myself there when I need to think things through and I always go down at least once during the High Holy Days.
Saturday morning dawned gray and ominious. It wasn't long before it started raining, which frustrated me a bit. By noon time it had stopped and it hit me - why didn't I bring my running stuff and cover from the lighthouse to First Ave and back. According to the USTFA maps, it was 3 miles and - if I started and stopped in the right spot, I could make it the 3.1/5k distance.
The roads around there are relatively flat - so it wouldn't overly stress the knee I've been nursing pretty much all week. I wanted to run because, after a week of nothing, I felt like a total schlub and that was not a good way to start a new year.
Mr. Bear came with me and brought a book. He likes sitting down there and meditating or reading - it really is a relaxing spot. So I started on one side of the lighthouse and took off with the Funk soundtrack for background music. (Yeah, yeah, it was a Jewish holiday so maybe I should have thrown on some Matisyahoo or Soul Farm - but I hadn't synced the mp3 player in over a week so it seemed Funk would be the right thing to shake me out of my lethargy.)
I ended up running it in 42 minutes - not bad, not great. It's 3 minutes off my best pace (so far) and, at the turn around, I allowed myself to walk for a 2:30 because I could feel the inner loser start saying things like, "What about your knee?" I use the walking as a test in these situations. I set a time I'm going to walk - in this case it was until the end of the song - and I must walk the set time. If I'm antsy to start running during any of that time, I remain walking and begin running again at the time I determined. For me it's a sign that I'm able to continue running all the way.
Within 30 seconds, I was antsy.
By the end of the song, I was so relieved to start running again, that it was no longer a question of could I run the distance and was more of a statement I can run the distance.
It was also a good run. I love being able to smell the ocean and hear the waves crashing as I run. Even though Cedar Point is heavily built up with bungalows, cottages and more than a few mcmansions on stilts - there are some stunning stretches where you can look out and just see open ocean stretching out for miles. Also there are those handful of salt marshes between rows of houses out on the point itself instead of manicured lawns. When you get to the lighthouse and hae the open ocean on one side of the jetty and the harbor on the other, it can be as dramatic a contrast as night and day.
Yesterday they were both pretty even, but I've been down there days when the harbor was still and calm while the waves on the ocean side were breaking higher than the roofs of the big houses down there.
When I finished, I walked out to the end of the jetty and sat on the base of the beacon light at the end for a while just watching waves form and seagulls playing in the wind. One flew by with a crab in its mouth which it dropped slightly behind me on the jetty to break open the shell. There was only one stinkpot (motorized pleasure boat), but the person piloting it was taking it slow and seemed to be enjoying being at sea - a welcome relief as often I see people in those boats going like a bat out of hell, skipping across the surface like a rock across a pond.
Instead there is a calm around me. Eventually a dad comes out with his two little boys to interupt my reverie and I realize it's time to come in. I make my way down the jetty as I see another father and son heading out - this time carrying fishing gear. A little girl plays further down on the wall under the watchful eye of her parents and a wedding party begins making their way down to the harborside beach with photographer. As I get to the end, anther limo pulls up with a second bride for photos. I hear her tell them, "I have no problem climbing up on the rocks..."
It's funny because she's in a sheath style gown and high heels. As I get back to the car, the other wedding party is back from the beach shaking sand from their shoes and hems before climbing in the stretch Cadillac SUV limo waiting for them. We drive off shortly after they do and we notice the bride and her escort (looked too old to be her new husband... but who can tell these days) standing atop a particularly high part of the rocks so the lighthouse is framed behind them.
"It was a good run today," I tell Mr. Bear as we drive off.
"Glad to hear it. You're knee feels OK?"
"It feels just fine," I say as I lean back into the seat and peel open a banana and repeat "it was a good run."