A Damp Spring Morning

Brighton RockIt’s a quiet, damp spring here in the DC area. It rained last night and early this morning, tapering off just as I was starting to wake up. That’s one of my favorite ways to be greeted in the morning, the sound of raindrops gently tapping on the sidewalks and window panes.

For the first time in a week, my car is actually a metallic blue once again. It’s been a ruddy shade of green or even yellow with the amount of pollen covering it as of late, and my head actually feels a tiny bit clearer even though there’s still a lot of pollen in the air.

Even though it’s merely cool and not cold outside, I’ve broken out the tea and am enjoying sipping it out of a new mug—a gift from Matt during his stay. A good friend of mine has a ritual every Saturday morning involving meeting a friend first thing in the morning for coffee and the crossword puzzle at a favorite coffee shop. I love the idea of having that sort of regular stop in one’s life, that familiar like-clockwork get-together friends. I have that in a limited form; the Tuesday and Thursday night Pacers runs when I manage to get out there (something that’s been slack in 2007), the weekend long runs during marathon training season, or years ago my regular Monday or Friday night dinners with a group of friends.

For now, though, I can pretend it’s still part of winter and that means my mug of green tea that is slowly drank over the course of an hour while sitting at my desk. The mug may be knew, but everything else is comfortable and the way I like it.

It’s a really nice day. I wish they could all be this good.

365pictures: Days 121-150

150 days in and this is a bit of a mixed batch. A couple of these scream of desperation to me, but I try and make them chronicle my life if I can’t get something particularly clever or good.

On the bright side? Well, it kicks off with one of my favorite pictures I’ve taken yet (no trickery or photoshop used either), and goes from there with great events like a wedding, a birthday, two races, family, a drag queen, and glimpses of spring.

In many ways I think this is the most mixed bag yet, both good and bad. I’ll take it, and I hope as always you enjoy.

(The full set, for those coming in late or wishing to revisit past glories and failures, is located here.)

Party FlowersBouquet of WhiteCandle Burning BrightlyWishing For WarmthThat Smile
Spring Just OutsideWell, I used to be hungry...All Your Sphere Are Belong To UsSpring?Belted In
Project RomanticDaily PlanetTaking FlightDumpster DivingA Whole Lot of Candy
Ready to Play?Top of the WorldReturn to the SpiralHouse ArrestThe Bitter End
Food PyramidA Kiss is But a KissFrat Party or Restaurant Patio?DuskAlyssa, Center Stage
Up in the AirLocal SportsClouds on BranchesStrange ShoesBeware of Serial Killer

Breathe Deeply

It’s a beautiful day as I sit in my car, waiting for the light to change so I can pull onto the George Washington Parkway. When I put down the windows is when I can suddenly smell it; the real scents of spring.

It’s mostly the Potomac River that I’m about to drive by that’s wafting into the car. It smells of green, and sediment, and strangely (and impossibly) of the ocean. Breathing deeply, as I slowly pull onto the road itself, I have to resist the urge to close my eyes for even a second to really savor its aroma. On the river itself, near Key Bridge, I can see scores of crew teams rowing their boats in perfect, even strokes. The sun is shining off of the shirtless men’s backs as they lean in unison, perfection from where I’m driving.

I finally stop the car on an overlook and gaze down for a minute, taking in the sights. My favorite e.e. cummings poem keeps leaping to mind, with one verse in particular. “i who have died am alive again today, and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay great happening illimitably earth.” And that’s what it really feels like. After the grey skies and damp chills of yesterday morning, the world has come to life all around me this morning.

I gaze down on the fishing boats that have populated the portion of the river I’m now looking at, and I’m envious of the chance to truly enjoy the beauty of this morning. Instead I settle for rolling the windows down further and breathing deeply as I can. It’s a beautiful day, and the start to a truly beautiful season.

Some mornings you truly understand what a true gift, a real blessing it is to be alive and around the rest of the world. Those are really the best mornings of all.

Smells Like Spring

Once More Around the Tidal Basin

Today was the fourth year in a row I’ve run the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler. This was the first year that we didn’t lose an hour of sleep the night beforehand, which was nice. This was also the first one I didn’t have anyone to really run it with, which was a little sad. (Long story.)

The race itself went well, though. I was feeling the after-effects of the half marathon from eight days ago, so it’s always a little frustrating to know you’re not even close to your best, but I was still really happy with the end result: a 1:26:09, which is an 8:37min/mile average, and slices 6 1/2 minutes off of last year’s time.

My mile splits do a lovely bell curve for the race: 8:23, 8:24, 8:31, 8:31, 8:32, 8:51, 9:02, 8:44, 8:38, 8:28. Clearly miles 6-7 were the tough ones, although I was more than a bit pleased to pass the 10K mark at 53 even and note that if the race had been over there I’d have gotten a new PR for it as well. (It sounds silly but I always play the “What if this race had been X distance instead?” game in my head. The whole could’ve, would’ve, should’ve mentality.) Once again, no walk breaks aside from a 10 second stop during mile 7 to gulp down a cup of Gatorade.

The best thing was seeing a lot people before and after the race. Before the race started I’d run into Ali, Carla, Chris, and Del; Carla and I started together but separated after the first minute. (Sorry Carla!) On the course itself I caught glimpses of Carla, Dave, Julie, Mark, and Randy (gotta love out-and-back stretches of the course!), and I managed to even see Carla, JP, and Randy finish the course. Finally I was too cold to stay any longer and I fled for the metro and the promise of brunch with a couple of the guys at Freddie’s. Mmmmm, mimosas.

Anyway, it was a good time, but I’m glad that I don’t have yet another race next weekend. Oof! (Carla’s trying to talk me into a race on the 21st. We’ll see.)