12th Avenue Intervals

“It takes courage to do it, to be a runner. We all found that out a long time ago. Because it’s about more than fatigue. It’s about pain, and dealing with it for a long time. And it’s about resolve.” — Quenton Cassidy in Again to Carthage

The early wake-up ring never sounded. It didn’t have to.

This morning, like most days, I was already awake. And I ran through the same set of questions.

Do I really want to get up to slip on shoes and head out into the cold? Maybe I should just opt for an evening run? Could I squeeze out another 30 minutes of slumber and still run before heading to the office?

My feeble excuses to put off the day’s run wouldn’t cut it.

Pulling out an old pair of running tights, I grabbed some reflective gear, my watch and a warm hat before lacing up my shoes.

There was a definite chill in the air. Settling into my pace, hoping to warm up quickly, I set off for the 12th Avenue North bridge for intervals.

Done correctly, a trip across the bridge — up one side, over the flat expanse, down the other side — comes out to nearly a mile. A trip across the bridge and back counts as 1 interval.

Sure, it isn’t the most scenic run. But surprisingly, exposed to the elements, the wind never seems that bad.

Running to the bridge, 3 intervals and the return trip home gave me plenty of time to think. And nearly 10 miles before work.

A consistent routine is exactly what helped get me out the door and train for so many marathons. It wasn’t always easy — in fact it rarely was easy — but comfort came from the trials endured in training. Familiarity of running early filled my mind with possibilities — for today, for the summer and untold adventures.

It’s surprising how comforting intervals can be at 6 a.m.