100 Mile Challenge: Miles 11.04-14.37 – Little Lehigh Love

Even through the music from my ear buds I hear every step in the gravel along the way. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. The sun has not yet made its way above the tree line and a mist hangs low across the ground. Drops of water, finally letting go of the trees above following the quick storm last night drip on to my face. The cool, late summer air fills my lungs, providing the motivation to continue this run that my legs are holding back on. It is all almost too perfect…like a scene from a movie. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

Miles Run: 3.33
Time: 38 minutes, 5 seconds
Miles to Go: 85.63
Days to Go: 118
Average Miles Per Day Needed: 0.73

I had heard of this park since we moved here almost 16 years ago. An almost perfect little stretch of green fields, old architecture and paths in Allentown, PA with the Little Lehigh running through its heart. A wall of trees surround it’s subtle hills and long flats giving no hint of the surrounding city she sits in. Beautiful little bridges stretch back and forth over the river while ancient ruins of maybe a more active past life lie in different corners. She is an oasis and almost feels like a mirage. I wish I found her sooner. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

It’s not a Sunday. It is a Friday morning, but Pleasant Valley Sunday playing through my ear buds provides a perfect soundtrack as the cool wet air runs past my face. I smile a bit to myself and my legs start to feel strong after slogging through the first half mile. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

The cool morning air reminds me of the start of so many other great adventures and it is almost as if I am breathing in those mornings in far off places again. The Easter Morning with the boys in the woods just outside a lodge just outside Yosemite Valley walking among the giant trees. Staring up at the 14,000+ foot top of Pikes Peak as we wait for the train car in Colorado. Loading our cooler full of snacks and water onto the small fishing boat that would snake us around the Pamlico sound in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Hiking down the path into the the dusty gorge the separates the old city side of Rhonda, Spain from the new side. All these memories flood into me with each ever shortening breath of the late summer air. I think of the boys new school years and the special challenges this year brings and I know this morning air is also at the beginning of a new adventure and I can only hope it is as happy as those other adventures. It is even more special because this is home. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

Deer almost overwhelm the area at times, yet the doe that walks slowly across the path ahead of me with the individual rays of sunlight separated out by the mist casting her shadow out long before me transforms the Lehigh Parkway into Elysian. She takes a quick look at me and before I can get my camera out, she is gone. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

With about a mile left in my run, the batteries in my ear buds go and the sounds of the park surround me. The Little Lehigh gurgles and splashes and in quieter stretches you can here the same tiny drops of water from the trees dripping into the stills. The birds sing and chirp and welcome in the morning. Strangers passing by cheerfully say, “Good Morning”, sometimes from behind masks. CRUNCH. CRUNCH. CRUNCH. CRUNCH. CRUNCH. CRUNCH. Ben’s high school cross country team passes by me, each saying “Good Morning”. CRUNCH. CRUNCH. CRUNCH.

Before I know it, my run is finished and I feel good. Refreshed. Renewed. Ready to take on the day.

It was a good run.

Andrea found this challenge online to run 100 miles between now and the end of the year. I have been wanting to run more consistently and have also been wanting to write more often, so I thought it was perfect. I figure I could run and document it here in my blog.

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