Friday, September 19, 2008

On my feet again

I'm a runner again.

Apparently my three day hiatus from running did not completely eliminate my ability and desire to run. Okay, I know that sounds silly but I am paranoid that way. I have this secret fear that someday I will stop running, and never start again. Farfetched? Perhaps. But that's pretty much what happened 20-some years ago. I had been running pretty regularly in college and then had to stop when I had my wisdom teeth removed. The wisdom teeth healed, but I didn't run again for almost twenty years.

The difference between then and now is that I was never as committed to running in high school and college as I am now. I did it, because I felt like I should, but I never particularly enjoyed it and I never considered running more than three miles at a time. Very, very different from now.

I was up so late last night that I had no intention of trying to get up at 6 or 7 a.m. Besides, I'm on vacation! I didn't set an alarm, trusting that I would wake up at some reasonable time. I did wake up around 8:00 (still the equivalent of 5 a.m. at home). That was after a very cold night. (More on that later.) I didn't really feel warm until almost 6 a.m. So those last two hours of sleep were definitely the most rewarding!

My plan was for a 5-6 mile easy run—into Ogunquit, along the Marginal Way beachside path to Perkins Cove and back, then return to the cottage for breakfast. Or something along those lines.
Despite the nighttime chill, by morning the sun was shining brightly and although not hot, the outdoor temperature was pleasant for running (and I suspect warmer than it had been inside the cottage). I headed out to the road and then south along Route 1 toward Ogunquit.

I think the distance to town is about three quarters of a mile, and another quarter or so to the start of Marginal Way. Except that I missed the path and continued on into town, until I realized I'd gone too far and turned back.

Marginal Way is a winding blacktopped path along the rocky shoreline between Ogunquit and Perkins Cove. I think the one-way distance is about 1.3 miles. The curvy, sometimes hilly path is a scenic route for walkers and runners. When I first started out this morning there were only a few others I met along the way, but by the time I finished I was weaving around crowds of walkers.*

When I reached Perkins Cove (the first time), I didn't just turn around and head back. Instead I followed the sidewalk and road to the end of the little development, noting several restaurants and shops along the way. But what I really was looking for, and was overjoyed to find, was a sign pointing ahead to public restrooms. I followed the sign to the doors marked “Gulls” and “Buoys” (how cute). I do appreciate a town that has nice public accommodations!

Then I turned around and followed the coastal trail back into Ogunquit. I wasn't ready to quit yet, though. Instead of turning back toward the cottage I turned inward and followed the main road back to Perkins Cove again, then back onto the path for my second return to Ogunquit.

By the time I made my way to the intersection with Route 1 again, I had gone about 6½ miles, which seemed far enough to stop for a latte and walk the remaining distance back to the cottage. I finished with 7½ miles, including the walking.

Morning was for running, and afternoon was for being a tourist. Which meant, today, our traditional trip to Kennebunkport.

We are quite fond of Kennebunkport. Maybe it's the white Colonial houses and inns; maybe it's cluster of touristy shops. Maybe it's the Clam Shack, maybe it's the Ben & Jerry's. (And yes, I know there are Ben & Jerry's shops everywhere, but the one in Kennebunkport is the only one I ever go to. Which means about once every couple of years.)

One thing I don't love about Kennebunkport is the traffic and parking. But amazingly I found a spot on a side street quite easily.

One of the first things I saw, not too far from Ben & Jerry's—and why I'd never seen it before I don't know—was the headquarters for the Democratic Party of Ogunquit. What a kick! I popped in and got an Obama-Biden bumper sticker. The guy who was manning the office was the unopposed Democratic candidate for Congress from Kennebunk (not Port). My dad spent quite some time chatting his ear off.

Meanwhile, we arranged to meet up outside Ben & Jerry's at 3:00.

I had one goal for my shopping tour of Kennebunkport—buy warm pajamas. I figured that should be relatively easy to accomplish in a shop-filled place like this.

I needed warmer pajamas because the night had been so cold. This is not new for Ogunquit. I remember lots of chilly nights and cold mornings. But that had been in October. For some reason, I thought it would be warmer in mid-September. In fact, I had been concerned about being too warm!

I had been so wrong. This was just like summers at my family's beach cabin when I was young. No matter how warm the weather was, by morning the cabin was always so cold that we needed a fire in the woodstove. I don't know what it is about thin-walled, underinsulated vacation shacks!

So last night I bundled up in my thin cotton PJ's, a fleece vest, socks and an extra blanket, and still huddled slightly chilled throughout the night. I would have sold my soul for a hot water bottle! It was only in the early morning hours that my body had finally managed to warm itself, allowing me to sleep soundly for a few more hours.

But I didn't want another night like that. I was determined to find myself some flannel pajamas, preferably cute ones of course. Luckily the shopping gods came through for me, and I eventually came away with a pair of “I Love Lucy” print flannel pajamas, which I am wearing now. (However, we also turned the heater on for a while tonight, so that took off some of the ambient chill, and I am not starting out nearly as cold as last night. Makes a big difference.

The main thing on my mother's agenda was a visit to the Clam Shack. So in the middle of the great PJ search, we detoured across the bridge and shared a small order of deep-fried clam strips. Tasty!

After scouting out most of the shops, making my pajama selection, and buying a fleece top in another shop (even in the sun today there was a cold wind), we returned to Ben & Jerry's for the meet-up. And the only other thing I have to say about that is... Cinnamon Buns Ice Cream. A very yummy invention.

Before we left the area, my dad wanted to drive out to see the Bush Senior compound. We are, I must admit, non-partisan stalkers. So along with all the other gawkers, we parked, looked, and photographed. And let me tell you, the others were not necessarily Bush (Jr., Sr., whatever) fans either. My dad said to one guy, “If you see Bush (unclear which one), wave to him.” And the guy said “I'll wave like this.” (What, you thought I meant this?) (Here I am with the Bush compound in the background.)

That was pretty much the end of our Kennebunkport excursion, except that, as usual, I went the wrong way leaving, thereby adding several miles to our trip. But it did give us the chance to drive through Kennebunk, which looks quite interesting in itself, if we ever had time to stop there (as usual, driving through).

Later this evening I finally made it to the Lobster Pound and had a sweet rendezvous with a 2½ pound lobster. Ain't love grand?

*And people here are not that friendly. At home I always give a little nod to people I encounter while running, and they always respond. Here my nods went pretty much unnoticed, although if I practically shouted "good morning," they would usually answer.


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