I once ran from Delaware to Alabama. During that run, I crossed New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Virginia.
It didn’t take long, probably less than an hour. I felt fine afterward.
Oh, did I mention that these were not states, but the names of streets in downtown Indianapolis?
Yes, a bunch of downtown streets are named after states, for some reason unknown to me. All I know is when I go for a lunchtime run downtown, I don’t have to go very far to see all the great sites of Kentucky or Alabama — like AAA Bail Bonds or a Subway restaurant or a vacant lot.
That’s just a weird observation. They come and go at the oddest times.
Like this morning. For some strange reason, I was trying to come up with a name for my run.
It all started when I noticed I was beginning my run at the Jordan YMCA trailhead of the Monon Trail, near 86th Street.
As I trotted south on the Monon, I suddenly wondered what I should call my run. Ninety-time times out of a hundred, I have no urge to name my run anything, but today, it seemed like a good idea.
I decided not to fight the urge. OK, let’s name this run. I needed something to blog about, anyway.
Well, I started at the YMCA. I guess I could name the run the YMCA run. Wait, even better, how about “From Y to…” well, to something.
I guess the “something” would depend on what I saw at the other end, about four miles south.
Hopefully, I would see something that would provide a snappy name — like “From Y to Z” or Or “From Y to Why Not.” Or “From Y to Who What Where and When.”
Of course, the chances of seeing something at other end of the trail called “Who What Where and When” were pretty slim. So I had to keep my eyes open to all the possibilties.
I rolled the idea around in my mind and ran on, enjoying the cool air and the greenery. After a couple miles, I ran across the White River and took in the morning view. The river was clear. I saw a cyclist out for his morning workout.
Beneath us, the river flowed somewhere, maybe to the sea. Or maybe to the Who What Where and When.
Yep, this name thing was doing funny things to my mind.
I kept running for another few miles. When I hit four miles, I began looking for a place to turn around.
Hopefully, I would see something with a really cool name. Like a Jewish yeshiva. That would work: “From Y to Yeshiva.” Sounds like a TV comedy.
Maybe I would see someone doing yoga. “Y is for yoga.” I could live with that.
Eventually, I hit Canterbury Park, a small neighborhood park. But saw nothing out of the ordinary, or with a cool name. Just a volleyball net, some slides and a picnic pavilion.
Hmm, would any of that work? How about “From Y to Volleyball Net”? Oh man, that’s just desperate.
I trotted a little further and stopped at the next street crossing, 54th Street. This was my turnaround. This is where it had to happen.
I felt hopeful. The intersection of 54th Street and the Monon Trail is a pretty busy place, with lots of little shops and boutiques. Surely, I would see something with a cool name.
So I started looking around. I saw the following signs on buildings:
* AAA Mower Repair
* A Better Way Nanny Referral
* Locally Grown Gardens
* Momma Carolla’s Old Italian Restaurant
Oh man, this was not working. What a big bunch of nothing. These names were killing me. They weren’t even worth a photo.
If only the Indianapolis Zoo were located on this corner. Then I could call my workout “From Y to Zoo.” That was pretty snappy, I thought.
Unfortunately, the zoo was about 8 or 10 miles away. So unless I had another couple of hours to run, that wouldn’t work.
After a minute or two, I gave up, and turned around. I started running back to my car, four miles or so north.
I guessed the name thing wasn’t going to happen today. Not unless I wanted to settle for something like “From Y to AAA Mower Repair.”
The hell with that. I’m not naming my run after a mower repair shop.
I kept running. I got back to my car and turned off my Garmin. I noted that I had run 8:49 miles in 1:18:17. That worked out to an average pace of 9:14 a mile. Hmm, that was a little slower than I thought.
But what did I expect when I was standing around, reading signs, taking pictures, instead of running at a steady clip? Sadly, I concluded that taking pictures and dreaming about words can really cut into a workout.
I drove home and decided this name thing was a big flop.
But then, I thought, why give up so fast? I turned on the computer, clicked away to Google maps and began looking for landmarks near 54th Street. Iwasn’t going to give up on this name thing without a little more effort.
OK, let’s take a look. What do we have at 54th and Monon?
Thorp Awning. Indy Granite & Marble. Good Dog Hotel & Spa.
Lame. Lame. Lame.
But hello, what’s this? “Zest Exciting Food Creations.”
Hmmm, Zest. That’s sounds, well, zesty. It’s fun to say. “From Y to Zest.” It’s almost as good as “From Y to Zoo.” Yes, I could definitely live with that.
I said it again, this time out loud. “From Y to Zest.” It sounded like a Dr Seuss book. Yes, it was just weird enough to work.
OK, then. That’s the name.
But now I was curious. What is this Zest? And what is a food creation?
I did a quick Google search and found that Zest is a local restaurant, just half block up the road from 54th and Monon. It has an eclectic menu, sidewalk seating and live jazz entertainment.
The menu (excuse me, food creations) included such dishes as hummus, grilled pineapple salad and crab patties. One dish, called Ahi Tuna Crudo, is described this way: “ahi tuna & tobiko-lemon cream on avocado, lime & cilantro with red chili vinaigrette & wonton crisp. $12.”
Well, well. That’s a little exotic. Maybe I’ll stick to the cheeseburger. Or, since I’m trying to lose weight, the granola and almonds.
So anyway, I’ll have to check out this restaurant one day. It looks interesting. And it gave my run the name it sorely needed.
From Y to Zest. And back again.
Yes, that was today’s workout, running slow and thinking weird thoughts.
Yesterday was different. I did speedwork at the track: 5 x 800 meters @ 3:20 – 3:30. That range is not super-speedy, but good enough for now.
I started early, 6 a.m., to beat the heat and get my sleepy boy to cross-country training.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have much gas in the tank, or bounce in my legs. I had only five hours sleep, so it was a struggle.
I did an easy warmup, six times around the track (1.5 miles), then got into the workout. A stiff wind blew in my face on the back straightaway. My legs were moving a little slower than I wanted.
But I got the job done, more or less. Here are my times:
Loop 1 — 3:31
Loop 2 — 3:24
Loop 3 — 3:25
Loop 4 — 3:28
Loop 5 — 3:29
Those times don’t look too bad on paper, actually. I achieved my goal. But sadly, my legs were heavy and mind was not into this workout.
I lacked a certain something.
Maybe it was zest.
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