On my birthday - Aug. 9 - I bought myself some new shoes. It wasn't a birthday present to myself or anything, just happened that the local running store that gives Lopers 10 percent off shoes had a 15 percent sale for us, and I couldn't pass that up.
But I didn't get a chance to break them in until Monday. And did I ever set a high bar with this those shoes.
I took the shoes with me to the Lake and was happy to have gotten a chance to run early Monday morning. Like clockwork, I'm up by 5 a.m. most mornings, whether I need to or not. Vacations of course are for lounging around, sleeping in, enjoying some relaxation. And while I don't get the first two while running, getting in a run in the wee hours of the morning is very relaxing and the perfect start to any day.
It was the perfect start for that day, and the perfect way to break in my new shoes.
I got up a few minutes before five, laid in bed for about 5-10 minutes and then got my stuff together. By 5:30, while everyone else was sleeping, I was stretching next to my truck, picking out a playlist. There is a bridge near where we were staying, a bridge that on one side features a the Glen Canyon Dam and on the other a very deep gorge. Very deep. I had clocked the distance from the bridge to the hotel on the way past the day before and it was about 2-3 miles.
So I set out for it. With the sun just beginning to cast its light on our sliver of Arizona, I ran down the street our motel was on and turned onto the highway, State Route 89 I believe. It wasn't dead - there were cars cruising past - but it was light traffic even compared to the light traffic around my block that early in the morning.
The only thing I noticed right away was the ridges on the side of the road. Not sure if they are commonplace on most roads outside of SoCal but I've only seen these ridges on my long drives out of the state, the ones that will jar you awake if you doze off and start to slide off the road. Anyway, they were a minor hindrance on my run but I did well to avoid twisting my ankle on them.
Now, as I hadn't run since the Monday before, I didn't want to try and set any new speed records. I figured a good five- or six-mile run would suffice, and really would just be happy with running to the bridge.
I approached the bridge and realized that I would be quite a ways up. I wasn't scared or anything but certainly being on the bridge on foot would be a different experience than driving over it.
Now, the Glen Canyon Dam dams up the Colorado River in Page, Ariz., where we stayed. So not only would I have the pleasure running next to a colossal structure like a dam, I'd be able to say that I ran over the Colorado River.
It was almost perfect timing when I approached the river. Playing on my iPod was one of my favorite running songs, Highwayman by Johnny Cash. While Waylon Jennings was singing about being a dam-builder "where steel and water did collide... on the wild Colorado" I was looking at it. By the time I got on the bridge, though, Cash gave way to Metallica.
As I ran close to the bridge, I had to take a deep breath, not because I was tired or fatigued or anything. It was just a bit surreal to think that I was about to scale this massive divide.
Pretty steep (I didn't take this picture but it's a great shot of the bridge).
I ended up running six miles on the nose in 59:55.
Not sure what order my runs rank but this one is certainly in my Top Five.