Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Swamp Running

On a sweltering Saturday in late August, 2007, Betsy Shaw and I set out on a road trip from Raleigh, North Charolina to Gainesville, FL. We were driving my new car down so I could be there to move into my new apartment and start my junior year of college in the fall. I had been away from my beloved Joshua for two and a half months and I was so so anxious to see him.

This past Saturday, doing the exact same drive, I had a similar anxiousness but it wasn't for any particular person- I had Josh sitting next to me the whole way. I was anxious to see my town- to get back to this place that I called home for so long, that I'd been away from for an astounding nineteen months. I knew I'd feel pangs of nostalgia and I was certainly right about that. I actually teared up on the drive as Josh and I talked about our friends and our first memories of moving to Gainesville. We spent pretty much the whole night smiling, eating our favorite Gainesville food, and reminiscing about just about everything. It was wonderful.

But don't be fooled, I couldn't return to this place without doing some exercise, especially after the nine hours I'd spent in a car. So, not at all spontaneously, Josh and I went straight to the swamp (football stadium... ahem, the best, most wild of football stadiums) with camera and running shoes in tow. I have never written about "stadiums" on this blog and that is a shame. Because, for four years of my life, they really were my favorite form of exercise. I'm sure you get it but to run the stadium simply means running around the stadium by going up the stairs in one section, over to the next, down those stairs, over to the next, and so on. They are quite challenging and provide a great workout. But there really is nothing better, especially after so long away, because there is some sort of energy you get from just being in that place, from feeling that sense of camraderie, love, excitement, and craze that every true gator must feel in the swamp. Even when it's empty, when there is no football team to cheer for on the field, you just feel at home there. And sometimes, if your names are Carrie and Nicole circa 2009, you may get to have a private viewing of Tim Tebow and John Brantly practicing on the empty field. You may forego running stadiums to sit there forever and gawk at those heros of yours.

On Saturday I didn't see any football stars. But I felt that familiar energy. I also felt extremely nostalgic and happy and sad at the same time. Josh and I contemplated what we looked like to these people. Did we look like college students? Freshman there for preview? Or did we look like alumnae? Parents? Strangers? I felt truly old when we saw students (hopefully Freshmen) and observed how young they seemed. But young or old, student or alum, I will always be able to do that run. I did two laps around and it was rough. I then did two "gator mountains", running from the bottome to the top, 90 rows above the field, all at once. I thought I'd be in such great shape from all my long runs in DC but this was a whole different ballgame. I am gladly very sore so I have something to remember it by. Josh opted out of the running and took lots of photos of the stadium and of me in it. Here are some of the good ones.

There she is.

Tiny little Carrie running around.

This is where the magic happens.

Mountain #1

Almost done...

Can these legs get me up another time?



And see ya. I'm never coming back down.

I should also note that this kind of running is not at all conducive to running applications like mine,
Nike Run Pro. I was curious to see how many miles it is to run stadiums but, only four minutes in, I discovered this was a bad idea. 

It had me running only .25 miles in over four minutes at 17 minutes and 14 seconds a mile. This was going to seriously bring down my average speed so I stopped. And here is how it mapped my run:

So I stopped the app. I didn't need it anyway. I would kick it old school and have the time of my life! Go gators!

*Photos courtesy of Josh Bassett

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