As the last to arrive, last-minute preparations went quickly as I contemplated whether to go with road or trail shoes for the planned Memorial Day run.
Leaving from Goose’s house would offer a new route, including gravel, and a wrong choice could make a long run seem even longer.
We pushed off and quickly found ourselves running north and sharing pavement with oncoming traffic before cutting through a neighborhood to head west out of town. Heading into the teeth of a stiff wind, there would be no protection from the elements — gambling the rain would hold off long enough to get the miles in.
For the first few miles, there was little chance at conversation as the wind howled and pushed the stench from the lagoons into our faces. A goose swam in the creek below and after 3 miles, we turned onto the gravel and took the full force of the northeast bluster.
It’s runs like these that reinforce a marathoner’s resolve.
There are no guarantees on race day, especially when it comes to the weather. Over the years, Grandma’s Marathon has offered a mixed bag for weather, even though conditions generally suited my preferences. So tough runs — due to weather, lack of sleep or energy, an aching body or simply just not feeling it — like Monday’s 15-miler offer the steely mental toughness needed to run long distances. When a bad patch pops up during a marathon, these tough runs make it easier to push through to the finish line.
At the halfway point, we turned around so the wind could push us back down the road — at this point, the tough work was mostly over. Finally, we could have a normal conversation. Geese played in a field.
For whatever reason, I tend to find names for running routes, which comes in handy when making plans for future run adventures with friends. So I declared this the Goose run, appropriately named for my friend’s 10-week-old puppy and all the geese spotted along the way.
On the drive home that afternoon, I’d devised a plan for Tuesday — a double with short runs in the morning and afternoon. It presented a challenge since it wouldn’t leave a lot of time for recovery.