Saturday's forecast called for cold and rain. In other words, dreary. But my a couple of my regular running partners and I were committed to getting a long run in. And over the years, I have discovered that when you force yourself to get out the door regardless of how you feel or how bad the weather, you are usually rewarded with a memorable run. And that was once again the case this weekend.
We started on the Prairie Path near my home in Elmhurst, for a ten miler on what has become my 'home' course. I had to be back home early, so there was no time to travel to a more 'exotic' running location. When I left the house there was nothing to suggest it would be anything other than a routine long run.
Then we started down the path and started to take in our surroundings. And we quickly realized it was not going to be routine. We were in for a visual treat. The trees were offering a fall rainbow of colors from bright yellow to orange, brown and brilliant red. It was incredible. I quickly realized I had left my camera at home, but at least I had the camera on my blackberry available to document some of it.
So, while the pictures are not the highest quality (or shot by the best photographer-me), they at least give some idea of what surrounded us along the entire run.
The change of seasons is almost always a great time to run. Spring offers promises of new birth, and a new running season. Fall offers a transition from summer into the holidays, and yes, winter. But it comes with perfect running weather, and for about a week or two, brilliant colors as the leaves turn and fall to the ground. It is brief though. I noticed the big tree in my front yard turning the most amazing color about three days ago. When I got home from the run today, nearly all those beautiful leaves had fallen on the lawn, leaving the tree bare. Now I just get to rake them up.
Adding to the enjoyment of the fall color on this day was the nearly bare running path. It's two weeks after the Chicago marathon now, and a week before New York. So the folks training for marathons are pretty much done for a while, and the path is once again the domain of those (like me) running just to get some miles in. I don't mind running on a crowded path. It's fun to see other runners. But it's also nice to be alone or with a small group of friends taking in the surroundings.
At this point, none of us are training for anything. I have a couple races planned for the rest of the year, but no plans to try set any p.r.'s in them. So it's back to running for it's own sake. And for my own enjoyment. And there are few days as enjoyable as this one.
See you on the roads....