To enhance your appreciation for my 20-miler this morning you'll have to open this map in another browser.
I was ready to set out shortly after 8:30. I dawdled because the NYC Mararthon will not start until 10:10 a.m. Might as well simulate as much as possible.
All was quiet in the house but for the oxygen pump doing its work. I had all sorts of dressing options. It was 45 degrees, breezy and sunny. I chose a short sleeve shirt and no gloves or hat. It was very nice by my estimation.
The first mile was uphill out of the colony and I took it slow to warm up. This summer hamlet is very quiet in mid-October on a Sunday morning. I headed west on US1 to Dunn's Corner with a fair stream of traffic and a steadily improving pace. Nothing in my body was hurting at all today.
At Dunn's Corner I headed north towards Bradford. That took me "up-country" where there are farms and hills and fall colors. Manfredi Farm still had corn and lots of pumpkins. I trotted past mules, sheep, goats, horses, and roosters. The sheep and goats bid me a few bays of salute.
I passed an RV park with free golf on an immaculate par 3 9-hole course and up some hills to Bradford. At SR 91 I headed west on the Bradford-Westerly Road where there is no shoulder, few homes, a lot of hills, a swamp and Chapman Pond. Past the pond, the rail line appeared and a couple of Amtrak trains flew by. The steep hills of Westerly's Italian neighborhood presented themselves and I pushed up them with pace and comfort. Three pizzarias, then a Tim Horton's donut shop. I stopped and begged a glass of water. I was about eight miles in.
Past the train station I ran through downtown Westerly, a town past its prime and not reinventing itself very well. I ran by the store that, in the '60s, was where my mom took me to buy wide-wail corduroy jeans (by Lee). Today it's a consignment shop.
Down to the river with a wave at Connecticut across the bridge, I headed south along Beach Street towards Watch Hill. Along the way I ran by the River Bend Cemetery where Mom has a reservation alongside her parents.
The rolling hills of the road to Watch Hill kept me sharp and slow. I ran by several marinas and boat yards where I have gone to sea on some memorable cruises. More water was available at the Cooked Goose where gourmet breakfasts fill the place especially on Sunday. This stop was at mile 12.
I continued on to more familiar roads near Watch Hill then cut across to the Shore Road. I passed the Lawrence's house then cut south to the beach at Misquamicut. The roads were virtually empty compared to the summertime. None of the beach clubs were open. No stores either. The state beach pavillion had turned off its water supply so I was running dry. Over a short distance of grass I ran with a dozen or so butterflies.
The three mile stretch to Weekapaug was flat and tedious. I could hear the ocean rolling and waves spanking the shore on the other side of the dunes. Tall grasses on the pond side were rustling in the wind. Gravel skipped as I chipped it on the roadside.
I was hoping that the bait and tackle store or Lambs would be open at the Weekapaug breachway but, alas, I was on my own for the last three miles home. I chewed on my last Clif Blok Shots and had enough saliva to get them down. Weekapaug is a pretty little beach house enclave and a few people who live here yeararound were out for walks.
I mounted the Noyes Neck Road inclines to the Shore Road, passing the farm where cows loiter in mindless bliss. Turning east, I had two miles to close out for the day's 20. The Clif Shots had given me some energy and I kept the pace up enough to reach Shelter Harbor again and run the false flats of Gounod Road, around X Corner and finished at Sea Tower, feeling mighty fine and tired.
As I walked back to the house I saw unfamiliar cars in the driveway. The hospice nurse and aide were there to tend to Mom. I had my fluids, a stretch and went upstairs. When I went in to see her, she opened her eyes and Dad told her I'd just run 20 miles. He asked what she though of that. She was able to say, "Wonderful."