Saturday Linda and I ran 14 miles. Around mile four, as we approached the turnoff to East Rock Park, I asked her what she wanted to do; we could follow the road alongside the park with its slightly rolling terrain or we could run to the summit and back down before continuing on our course.
“How much mileage will it add if we run to the top?” she asked me.
“Two or three miles?” I answered, not really sure. I’ve run to the top of East Rock enough times to know but I didn’t and still don’t since I didn’t check my GPS. “If not, we’ll just run further into New Haven.”
“If we run to the top it’ll be painful,” she said, as if I needed to be told. She looked at me, knit hat pulled low over her forehead, thinking. “Let’s run to the top.”
“I’m going to be super slow,” I warned her as we scrambled under the metal barrier that prevents cars from driving to the top. I trailed Linda, followed the switchbacks up. As promised my pace was slow. We didn’t waste any time at the top, circled the monument and headed back down. At the bottom we continued into New Haven, looping back on Prospect by way of Edwards. The entire run was painful, not just the section up East Rock. My lower back ached, my body begged me to walk or, better yet, stop. I told Linda to go on ahead but she refused.
I told myself, after 7 miles, ‘halfway done’.
I told myself, after 8 miles, ‘only 10K left’.
I told myself, after 12 miles, ‘only 2 miles to go, about twenty minutes, you can do anything for twenty minutes’.
When we finished our run I let us both inside my house. Linda went to the bathroom to change into dry clothes, I laid down on my living room floor, wet clothes and all. I offered her a towel, a glass of water from where I lay. She didn’t want either and I was glad not to have to get up at that moment.
After Linda left I ate three ibuprofen, took a hot shower, dressed and got ready to go to my aunt’s house with my sister. By the time Liz picked me up I had, more or less, recovered and was ready for the rest of my day.