The clocks have jumped ahead an hour, so the scene is now set against a dark backdrop. The faint promise of daybreak is just beginning to illuminate somewhere beneath the horizon. Seagulls circle overhead, squawking at each other, urging the sun to rise so that they can begin their morning scavenge on the soft ground below. The lights along the path haven't quite gotten used to the time change and they opt not to light the way on this morning.
Two runners dance about the path, hopping over uneven seams and deep gouges in the pavement, hoping to keep upright.
Rounding the first bend, first light begins to break behind a fence of billowy clouds resting atop the water. The sky and Lake become a shimmery slate blue, divided only by the horizon. A mallard swoops in and lands almost soundlessly atop the glassy water and floats lazily along.
The fishermen are back at it, taking advantage of the flash warmth. Their faces already tanned and leathered from a winter spent "ice" fishing along the Pier in an unusually sunny winter. The runners always wonder, What's their story? Where do they come from? Who are they? Why do they fish right here?
The usual nightowls are closing out their shift, sitting at various intervals along the breakwall, sucking desperately on cigarettes. The light breeze carries the stench towards the runners, but then they round the final bend and scuttle up the grassy incline and make their way towards the Island.
Two geese stand at the shoreline, the water now lightly lapping up against it. One goose is reading the riot act to the other, neck fully extended, parallel to the ground, squawking at the top of its lungs. The other goose is waddling away as his friend begins to flap its wings aggresively in hopes of stirring the other. The scene is hilarious to outsiders.
The Island is quiet and the breeze bends the prairie grass to its will. Birds are emerging from the three white birdhouses hoisted high atop their poles. They're like the plantation homes of birdhouses: stately and beautiful.
The runners begin to push the pace a touch more, why not. Ten miles has become the new five miler. Legs are changing shape in response to the increased mileage. They both mention as much, rounding the top of the Island and heading towards the turnaround a mile and a half away.
The forsythia are in full bloom now near the marina...that was how they always knew it was spring as a kid. As soon as the bush out front began to bloom they knew it was spring, and that meant it would soon be summer, and that meant watermelon seed spitting contests, water gun fights in the backyard, and catching fireflies with the neighborhood kids down the block.
It appears spring has sprung in Chicago :)
The effort is nil, the strides are smooth, the air fresh, and the sun is finally showing its glowing face. It's orangey morning glow isn't enough to warrant sunglasses just yet; that won't happen until it's higher in the sky. For now, it's lovely to see it making its morning ascent, waking the masses, urging them on their way. The runners hit the turnaround, right on pace.
Back on the Island, the 'biker gang' is finally out, A little behind schedule, boys. Their pack is small, as it's still early in the season, but they are a tight knit gang, flying past the runners with a smile, in perfect sync.
Headed north for good the wind tails the runners, pushing them along ever so slightly, ensuring that negative split ;)
A couple smiles by in the opposite direction, dressed head to toe in winter gear. Did they not get the memo? The runners look down at their bare legs and arms and just smile. To each their own, they suppose.
Legs are tired as they near their final destination, but the runners are already looking forward to tomorrow's run.
2013 Races & Wishlist
Moab's Red Hot 55k (UT - Feb 16) 6h:25m:35s (course PR)
Antelope Island Buffalo Run 50M (UT - Mar 23) 8h:47m:24s (4th F, 3rd AG)
BoSho Trail Marathon (UT - April 13) 5h:50m:30s (not last!)
Grandeur Peak Fun Run (UT - May 18)
Pocatello 50M (ID - June 1)
Bike MS Utah (UT - June 28-29) (100 mile bike ride)
Speedgoat 50k (UT - July 27)
Jupiter Peak Steeplechase (UT - Aug 3)
Mid Mountain Trail Marathon (UT - Sept 7)