The Running Tourist

It is the last day of September and my third run visiting or re-visiting the roads, coves and beaches of this part of Cape Cod — the elbow of the arm that makes up the cape. The sky is cloudy. The temperature is about 64 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius). I’m enjoying my new hobby.

Yesterday, I started my visit with a run to Homeport, a diner in East Orleans where fishermen get their meals. Homeport is the type of place where regulars (See picture above) tease the waitress, who can recite by heart what they’ll have for breakfast. It was about 9 a.m. and pouring rain. After 2.6 miles of getting splashed by cars and vans, I arrived soaking wet. My husband greeted me with a large towel and set off to read the newspapers: the front page of the New York Times’ sports section was music to the ears of a Philly fan. (See picture below. Warning: you might get hurt if you like the Mets).

After about half an hour, it was still raining hard outside and warm and cozy inside. It was hard to find the motivation to resume my run. Why would I do that to myself? Since I’m not training for a marathon, I can’t blame irrational, masochistic decisions on a race. It had to be something else that pushed me out of the door: either I just enjoy running, no matter what the weather conditions might be, or I am so stubborn that when I decide on a plan I stick to it no matter what. Probably a little bit of both. Running does fill me with joy, especially after I have warmed up, and I often find myself smiling or singing along the music on my iPod.

My first stop was a town landing on Gibson Road. After 10 minutes, I spotted boats in what I thought was a perfect light and stopped for a picture. The rain finally stopped and the rest of the running went smoothly. There was a special place I wanted to visit again: the Mill Pond, where last year I went to see my husband — then boyfriend — fishing. Last year, I managed to miss the windmill, on Mill Pond. The name should have tipped me off. This year, I did notice. I tried to take a good picture but didn’t seem to get the light right. I got home and calculated on that I had run 9 miles, or 15 km, at an average speed of 8:15 minutes a mile, or 11.7 km/h (excluding the stops.)

Today, I want to visit Harbor Rock, a little port about 3.8 miles, or 6.1 km, from the house. My legs feel good, even though I have run 27 miles, or 43 km, in 3 days, more than I might have if I were training for a race. When I train, I always make sure not to run every day, to spare my legs. It might seem counter-intuitive but it’s a lesson I learned from training for last year’s Austin Marathon with an injury. I was forced to cross-train — on bikes or step machines at the gym — and I shaved 16 minutes off my previous marathon time.

This year, I can run as much as I want. I arrive at Rock Harbor and try to get the perfect shot of the Cap’t Cass seafood restaurant, closed for the season. I come back home through the Cape Cod bike trail. tells me I ran 8.4 miles, or 13.5 km, at a pace of 7:52 minutes a mile, or 12.3 km/h (excluding the stops.) The reason why I didn’t linger is that I have an appointment for a deep tissue massage at 3 p.m. Unlike last year, my leg muscles and my feet aren’t too painful — all things considered since deep tissue massages are by definition painful. It feels good to be pampered.

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