Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Sunday, 13 July 2003

Went for a long run today, on the trails at Allerton Park.

I walked through the formal gardens, as far as the sunken garden, then ran along the trails, past the "Dying Centaur," and then down along the river, until I got to a place where the recent rains had pushed the river out of its banks and over the trail.

I tried to pick my way along next to the trail, but that was under water too, forcing me up the hill into a mosquito-infested thicket of nettle and probably poison ivy as well. Before I had to give up, though, I found a mammal trail that ran straight up the hillside and followed that to the road.

[Photo of me running around the SunSinger statue at Allerton.]

Although I was there to run on the trails, the road is probably the best way to approach the "Sun Singer," a large sculpture that is probably the most important of the sculptures on the grounds. The view coming up the road toward the statue is beautiful.

I ran around the sculpture, then headed back down to follow the trail back from the end, even though I knew I'd run into the flooded part again. This time, though, instead of trying to skirt it, I just looked for the first mammal trail I found after spotting the flooded part, and then followed that back up to the road.

I ran most of the way back along the road, until I got to the parking area for the "Dying Centaur," then headed back onto the trails. From there it's not really far to where the formal gardens begin, but there's a nice downhill and uphill bit that I wanted to be sure I covered late in the run, to teach my muscles to handle such things, even when they're tired.

It's hard to estimate the distance. I ran for just over 48 minutes, which I'd normally call 4 miles, but this time I walked (or rather, trudged through nettle) a bit of the way. That probably counts, though--and I certainly went further than 4 miles total, including the warm-up and cool-down walks through the formal gardens.

Just at the end of the walk I saw a fawn, still with its spotted fur. It ran away as soon as it saw me. Its bounding run--almost straight up, over some brush, then back almost straight down only to leap up again--made sense in a whole new way after having made my own way through the nettle. After running away at first, the fawn returned to get a closer look at me. I went on running, though, and it didn't chase me down the path.

I've reached the point where I can run a lot farther than I ought to. Until a couple of weeks ago, it was a struggle to run any distance greater than 2 miles. Now I can run 4 and feel like I might enjoy running some more. It's very easy to do something foolish at this point (as I discovered twelve years ago when I hurt my achilles tendon, an injury that took more than 6 months to heal).

If I'm smart, I'll wait a week or two before doing 5 miles, and another week or two after that before doing six. And then I'll quit increasing the distance and just focus on building a comfortable base of runs up to 6 miles totaling 15 to 20 miles a week.

If I can do that leading into the fall, maybe I can stick with running through the winter and avoid my usual winter weight gain.

I got the story that drew a rejection back out to a new editor on Saturday, combining the trip to the post office with a trip to the Farmer's Market.

I don't know if it's a real change, or just the time of day that we went, or if it's been like this for a while in the summer and I'd just forgotten, but downtown Urbana is turning into a busy place on Saturday mornings. It's great to have stuff going on and people out and about.

As soon as we were home and had the perishables in the fridge, we turned right around and went back out.

[Photo of hats Jackie made.]

Jackie had been knitting children's hats for some project that is going to take them to Afghanistan. Being Jackie, she got a bit carried away and knit eleven, mostly from hand-spun wool. We found out that they were going to be shipped out on Saturday, so we went to get a picture of them while they were still here.

After that, we went to the Green Street Coffee House, which is another one advertising free wireless networking. It turns out that their wireless networking actually works. (They also have free wired networking, with ethernet cables at several of the tables.) They wisely don't have any kind of authentication server, just an open Linksys access point. I got an iced tea (some weird chai blend of black and green tea), bought Jackie a mocha, and sat down to surf and write.

I didn't do any fiction writing. I'm working on an article about national-level Esperanto organizations in the internet age. I'll probably write the final version in Esperanto, but it's easier to do rough drafts in English.

We had lunch in yet another place that advertises free wireless, but the sign mentioned the same outfit whose networking wasn't working the previous week, so that wasn't much of an attraction.

You know, on my way out of the Green Street Coffee House, I looked around for the dreaded wireless network freeloaders hanging out on the sidewalk for a cheap networking fix. Didn't see any.


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