But it is becoming more of an enjoyable sport for me every year.
I think my #favoriterun is the one at the end of my favorite tri. Yup, you guessed it, the Steelman at Lake Nockamixon in Quakertown, PA.
I've run the route four times. It was the first 10k I ever ran [whoops for training runs.] It was the first race I ran after having children.
It's a tree-lined paved path that borders the lake. It is not too skinny, not too fat. It has one incline. On the way back, that is the one descent.
It starts out from the transition area into the sun, into the marina boat launch. You start to realize that you just swam, and biked your a$$ off, and now you are running. You are going to need another gel. You are going to need to stop running and start walking. You don't know why your legs are running other than the fact that you just put on your running shoes. Your feet are in the right place and are moving one in front of the other but your thighs are going to walk. But then you see the race photographer. And you round the circular point at the marina for the first turn-around and you smile and give the thumbs up for what is sure to be a kick-a$$ race photo. And now you start running.
After the first turn-around you get to view the entire lake you just swam. And it is now mid-morning, and you have been through a world of hurt before now. You take a breath and you realize you have another six miles to the finish line, even though you are just about the pass the chute on your right.
You head onwards, pass that chute, with your friends. You feel a sense of comraderie. Some friends are headed to the finish line, some friends are passing you, and some friends are letting you pass them. There is no way to know which wave they started in, which distance they are racing, and which pace they are striving towards, so you are all just in it together. You are starting this leg together.
You head another mile and a half along the trees until you reach the next opening view of the lake. And you know you have another mile to the turn around. But you enjoy the view. You remember a shorter race you swam from this point in the lake. You remember a point in time when you thought a two mile run was challenging.
Another run through the woods and the half-way point awaits. You are completely exposed to the sun as you round the circle and cross the mat and hear your chip-timer beep. You have three familiar miles to go. It is getting later in the morning. You are looking forward to getting back to the shade.
One mile to the descent. It is crowded now. Everyone wants to finish and the sprint-distance friends are on the course. You are ready for this. You take the downhill like your hubby-the-coach told you: take it. Let your weight fall. Do not stop yourself. Take the speed that gravity gives you.
You take that momentum and you gain in speed for that final mile. You know you can sleep later. You can walk later. You can take that cold, cold orgasmic shower they have waiting for you at the finish line. There is so much water. So much food. So much happy. Waiting for you.
There is a sign telling you to turn left to the chute. It is still .2 miles of gravel to the finish line. Why is there .2. Why don't we do k's. Why are we weird. There is no more pavement. But there are people. There are non-racing people lining the chute and rooting for strangers because they are awesome. And you are awesome! You are finished.
You hit 'stop' on your timer and your run is finished. And your race is finished. And your medal is upon you. And the cold, cold, awesome shower awaits.