A view from my side.
Since soccer finished in mid December, I’ve started running again. I found a park nearby that has a short asphalt walking track and a quarter mile asphalt road that leads up to it. I love running on asphalt. Not as hard as concrete sidewalks nor as uneven as cross country, asphalt is the perfect combination for me: firm and fairly even, but with enough “give” in the surface to cushion the impact on my knees. There are a few running spaces near here that have a crushed gravel surface and that works well too. But, for the most part, asphalt works best for me.
I’ve only just started again, but the nice thing about this park is that it is lit up at night. So I’ll be able to run there after practice when we start up again in 3 weeks. I can leave campus, drive home, change my shoes since I’ll already be in the proper outdoor clothing from practice, and off I go. The lights are spaced out a bit, but provide enough lighting to see and be seen. The road up to the park is straight, well lit and basically flat. There is a huge square parking lot off that road, that is shared by a senior center and a tennis club, and it provides a nice long, slow rise from the road to its far end. That gives me some elevation to work with. On the back side of the run is a bridge over a small creek that leads to another parking lot at some county offices. There is set of stairs there to take me up to that parking lot and I run along the backside to where the walking/running path meets it on the other end. No stairs there, just a hill.
The basic loop is a mile. If I add in that loop on the backside that includes the stairs, that adds another quarter mile. Depending on how I’m feeling, how late it is, how cold, how wet, etc., etc., etc., it makes for a very convenient place to run. So far, I’m running 3-4 laps at a nice easy pace. It takes time to get to the training paces I used to run at, and I know I don’t train with that intensity anymore. I’m comfortable with the idea that I don’t need to run 6:30 minute miles to get the benefit of run. I’m good running 9:00 or even 8:30 minute paces theses days. It’s fun and it relaxes me. It gives me a way to burn off not only some calories, but the stress of the day. What being on the field doesn’t melt, the run finishes off. It’s a nice feeling.
I use 2 apps on my phone now to keep me company while running. The first, RunKeeper, uses the GPS on my phone to track the distance, time, and pace. It keeps a record of my pace for each minute over the total run. I have it notify me every 5 minutes of the total distance and current pace over that distance. I can adjust my pace accordingly and it gives me a good read on how fast I “think” I’ve been running. The other app is Audible. I signed up at Audible.com, an Amazon service, for audio books. Yes, I know I can borrow audio books from the library and download from Overdrive (I have that as well), but they don’t always have what I want. So, for the small monthly fee of $8.00, I get one book at no cost and others I may want at a discount. It has proven a great way to “read” some of the books I’ve put on my list lately but haven’t had the time or energy at night to read before going to bed.
It also works remarkably well as a motivator to run. I really want to hear what happens next in whatever story I’m listening to and I know I won’t simply sit and listen at home. So, off I go for another 30-45 minute chunk of the latest book I’ve downloaded. I’ve even stretched a few runs to get the last few minutes of a section in the story. I mean, seriously, who wants to stop just when the bad guy points the gun at the protagonist’s head and slips his finger inside the trigger guard, right? I can go another half lap or so to get through that scene.