My wife does not do mornings. Period. Or, I should say, given the choice, Lindsay would not do mornings. During the week she is usually out of luck. I let her sleep in as long as possible, normally rousing her just after 8:00 AM to relieve me of the wake-up shift so I can head to work.
On weekends, I do my best to pay her back with a few extra hours in bed. So long as the weather cooperates, this usually presents a nice opportunity for me to load Lily and Piper into our stroller and get in a morning run.
Today, the weather more than cooperated. Temperatures were in the high-50's/low 60's and the few clouds in the deep blue sky were devoid of any menace. Both kids were bright-eyed and eager to bump along the Lancaster Junction Recreation Trail, the converted rail line trail nestled a few miles from our Manheim home.
We had more company than I'm used to with several bicyclists, walkers, dogwalkers and joggers out enjoying the preview of Fall in this the last official weekend of Summer. The trail is broad enough that passing was no problem even with the sprawling width of our double stroller. I offered friendly "morning's" to everyone that we passed and Lily pressed me for why I was talking to strangers. Once I convinced her that she could talk to strangers as long as Daddy was with her and said it was "ok", she beat me to each "hello" and Piper added enthusiastic waves and laughter.
When we reached the Colebrook Road crossing, I asked Lily if she wanted to turn around or keep going. Her answer would decide whether we logged 3.1 or 5 miles. After addressing her standard "why?", I was rewarded with the green light of "I want to keep going".
To the delight of my two escorts, cows, goats and birds, birds, birds greeted us from just off the trail as we traversed the next mile. When I turned the stroller around at the final gate that marked the end of the out-and-back path, I was met with protests. I stopped to explain that there wasn't any more trail to be had and grinned proudly at their disappointment. I too wished that there was more ground to cover. Lily settled back in to her seat and agreed to returning to the van so long as I agreed to make the stroller go "fast".
I did my best and was pleased to hear my increased pace validated by the giggling of little girls. After again crossing Colebrook Road, we saw some runners up ahead who had apparently taken an early turnaround as we hadn't seen them on the way out and they were already pointed back towards the trailhead. Lily urged me to "catch them, Daddy", encouragement I didn't need but fully appreciated as it justified my stubborn need to track down runners from behind (when able). This was silly, of course, as I was chasing people who weren't given fair warning that they were being chased and, in all likelihood, people who had absolutely no interest in racing in the first place. Still, Lily loved the game and laughed endlessly, prompting Pipe to clap her hands and cackle in support of her big sister. Since my legs held up and the unsuspecting were successfully passed, I enjoyed the game too.
This was my second time running in the Brooks Mach 11 spikeless cross-country flats that I'd found at a preposterously low sale price a few weeks ago. A Runblogger http://www.runblogger.com/ review of the Mach 12 had led me to the close-out deal on its precursor. The shoe review keenly pointed out that many of the minimalist trail shoes now flooding the market at $100+ are little more than cleverly marketed reproductions of traditional cross-country spikes that sell for half that price. Lacking the pedigree of a formal running education, I naively had no idea that such a thing existed in the first place. Long story short, after wearing the shoes for two fairly short runs during my support of the Susquehanna Super Hike last weekend, I had them back on my feet today and am finding that they are quickly becoming favorites. I haven't yet decided if I will wear them at the Blue's Cruise 50K two weeks from now, but I plan to wear them several more times before then (including at the Conestoga Trail Run) and see if my confidence in them increases.
We crossed the imaginary tape awaiting us as we returned to the parking lot and retrieved our respective water bottles from the diaper bag. After a short drive home and a Man Man sing along, Lily retired to her room for rest time, Piper agreed to a nap and I showered before settling down in front of the keyboard to celebrate another Saturday morning together.