Want to run with me today?

I’m doing a 16-miler, but you can join me anywhere along the route.

Sixteen miles is about where it gets intimidating for me.  It’s where I draw the line and carry my pack with water.  I have a love-hate relationship with the damn thing.   I need it, and it enables me to carry other things, too; my phone, some Gus, my debit card (in case of emergency bakery stop), my gloves that I always end up stripping after a mile or two.  BUT, the sound of the water sloshing DRIVES ME CRAZY!!!  Does anyone else have this problem?  Is it me?  Is it my pack?  Should I just always use headphones on my long runs, so I won’t hear it?

Unlike many people, I love an out-and-back.  Well, I don’t love the out, but I do love the back.  I tell myself that I’m just going to do 8 then come home.  For some reason, that’s seems different from telling myself that I’m going to do 16.  I’m always in a much better mood after the turnaround.

So back to our run together, we had a great conversation on the way out about Christmas; shopping, traditions, etc., random running stuff, and the like.  Now we’re finally almost on the way back.

I’ve run past Fort Williams Park and Portland Headlight hundreds of times.  I don’t know why it never occurred to me to actually run into Fort Williams Park, but that’s what we’ll do today, and of course it’s gorgeous.
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This is the first view we see as we come into the park.  Promising . . .

We crest a nasty hill and are treated to this view.  Not bad.Untitled

Let’s not think about running back up this steep hill we’re enjoying running down.

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Finally, we’re at the lighthouse.  Let’s stop our watches and walk around for a bit.
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Not sure the iPhone does justice to the most photographed lighthouse in the US, but we’ll do our best.
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Better keep going.  Oh wait, here’s another good view.

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Wow, there’s some other interesting photo ops and more tourists and locals walking their dogs than I would expect this early.  Let’s wait until we’re on the way back though for any more pictures.  It’s crazy to be stopping every 30 seconds.  Let’s try to get to mile 8 in the park.

Whew, finally hit mile 8.  Let’s do just a tiny bit extra, just in case, then turn around.  Here’s one of the creepy military thingies.  I’m sure it was busy and not creepy in its time.
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Here’s another great view of the lighthouse on the way back.  You can see another lighthouse on the right.  In my sailing days, I probably knew what it was called.  Bird-poop Light, I think.

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Time go go back up that nasty hill.  No worries, more great views at the top.
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Nice excuse to stop to catch our breath for another picture.

Okay, time to get serious and quit stopping every few minutes.  We have at least a couple of miles until the next photo op.  Well wait, there are some pretty nice Christmas decorations.  Oh, and my favorite fancy house along the route.  No, stop (well don’t), let’s have some discipline.

A couple miles later, we arrive in Williard Square.  As usual Scratch is busy.
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Do we want to stop there for a treat to bring home?  Or go off the route a bit for Portland Patisserie?  Or hit up our regular stop at Tandem?

Nah, let’s keep going.  Mike’s taking some time off to nurse his hurt knee, so I’m sure he’ll have the mimosas waiting for us at home.

We’re at about mile 11 now, should we have that other Gu?  Let’s wait and see if there’s a gazillion ducks at mile 12 then decide.  The ducks were there on the way out but only 4 stragglers on the way back.  Not worth taking the phone out.  We’ve stopped enough already.  Let’s totally forget about the Gu and admire the view back into Portland.
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Alright, fine, we can do without the Gu. Only a little over 3 miles left, and we’re climbing back up to the bridge. Let’s stop and take another picture of Portland.
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One more little climb, and we’re on the bridge.
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Once we’re halfway across, we can look at the Time and Temperature building to see how hard core we are for running in the cold and estimate when we’ll get home. Wow, it’s already 45 degrees. We were hard core for starting at 27 degrees though. Due home around 10.

Woo hoo. Finally back in Portland.
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Ugh. Coming back up State is harder than usual. Should have had that Gu.

Aaah. Finally at the top. My dang phone is too sweaty to take a picture, so we spend at least a minute fidgeting with that. Don’t know about you, but I’m not minding the break at this point.

Finally get the phone working and take a picture of Longfellow himself all decked out for Christmas.  Last chance for Tandem.
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Now we just have 2 miles left and great downhill stretch down State St.

Aaah, Home Sweet Home.
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Come on in for a mimosa. (My favorite recipe is Contadino Sparking Pinot Grigio from Trader Joe’s with a splash of grapefruit juice.)
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Thanks for joining me! You in for next week?  It will be a much shorter run at Portland Brewer’s Holiday Dash 5K, and you can join me for real. There are still openings.  There will be brunch and lots of beer.  You can’t go wrong!

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