A cool, bright early morning. Blue sky without a cloud in sight. A slight nip in the air accompanied by a gentle breeze. The view is clear over to the Toggenburg mountains and into Austria, with tiny wisps of morning fog in places. The lake is calm, a few tiny ripples breaking up the reflection of the trees at the water’s edge.
I didn’t have a camera with me, but that is what greeted me at 7.30 this morning when I drove the 5 minutes from home down to the Greifensee and started running. The view was so mesmerizing that the first few miles had gone by before I realized. I ran 3 miles to a village called Riedikon and then branched out overland away from the lake to run a pretty loop through woods and fields and tiny, pretty hamlets, a run that I haven’t done for a long time, but used to run at least once a week with a much missed running buddy, who went home to Canada a couple of years ago.
There were very few people around, a couple of dog walkers that’s all. As always in rural Switzerland, each and every one is greeted with a cheery Gruetzi or Morgen! The 5 mile loop seems to fly by and I’m actually surprised that I don’t lose my way. It’s almost as though my body is on autopilot and remembers the well-worn tracks, although it must be a couple of years since I last ran them.
As always my mind is busy with a thousand thoughts. Afterwards I never quite know what I’ve been pondering, a sick friend, what’s happening with the hurricane in the USA, plans for next week….I just know I never get bored. Sometimes I just find myself in a zone…running on autopilot in a world of my own, which is OK as long as the pace is right.
The last few months of long runs have taught me to run alone. No music, nobody to chat to, just me and my thoughts. I keep thinking about taking my ipod, but somehow it seems so unnecessary. I think it would break my link to nature.
Time flies by and suddenly I find myself back at the lakeshore and mingling with triathletes and supporters. I had forgotten that this part of the lakeshore would be so busy this morning. It’s fun to run along watching the latest group of swimmers, their little blue bathing caps bobbing along through the waves. Further along on a parallel path, but running in the opposite direction I watch the teenagers coming towards the end of their run, running towards me looking exhausted. I think they run about 2.5km. To me now that distance passes in the flash of an eye.
I keep a check on my pace as I pass though a couple of villages. Buying a super high-tech watch has turned out to be a great investment, even if it did take me a while to learn to use it. It counts down my mileage and tells me what the split is for each mile. I’m way under the Runner’s World training pace I’m supposed to be doing, but that seems to be the case each time I run and I’m feeling so comfortable I’m not going to slow down. My legs seem to be doing this all on their own. No pain, no strain, just flying along. Sometimes I’m frantically checking the watch for the next mile, but today I seem to be surprized each time it beeps, signalling another mile done.
A couple of times I stop for a quick drink of water and a fitness gel to put back some of the energy I’m using up, but I never feel tired enough to need to stop or walk.
A little over two and a half hours and I see the boat dock in Maur, full of people waiting to do a morning cruise on the lake. They’ve picked the right day. It’s warmer now, but still just as beautiful.
16 miles. No pain. At home a little stiff in the hips, but no blisters, no aches. I felt great. I could have run further.
Today the trails belonged to me and showed me why I run. Today this whole marathon project seems real and within my grasp.