Sunday, September 1, 2013

Glamorous Rockfish!

The alarm went off at 5:10 yesterday and I jumped out of bed as quickly as I could.  I shaved and pulled on my workout clothes - no point taking a shower just yet - and wolfed down a bagel.  I left the house at 5:45 and got to training a few minutes late, but we always have a little grace period.  It would be a big day - my first "double digit" mile day (other than some hikes) since I ran the Shamrock Half Marathon in March 2012.

I decided that I was only going to walk the 11 miles and see how my knees do.  My friend Lelia came out to walk with me.  She is also training for the Crawlin' Crab, doing a run - walk combination.  We joined my teammate Nancy, who has active CLL (chronic lymphocytic leukemia).  Isn't that amazing - to be out walking a half marathon with an active cancer?  CLL is one of those slow, slow growing cancers.  It makes it good because it isn't going to end your life in a matter of months or a couple of years.  But the bad news is that it is very difficult to treat and there is no cure for it.  Nancy's counts keep going up and are now something like five times normal.  Eventually, they will give her chemo which will slow things down for a while until the counts come up and they have to repeat it.  But maybe, through our efforts and that of so many others, a cure will be found for her.  That is my fervent hope, because there has been some really great progress on CLL lately.

Our 11 mile route yesterday was like a big cross - north from the park to Monument, west to Chantilly, back to Boulevard, then north to Westwood, then turn back Monument, east to Harrison, turn around back to Boulevard, then south to park.  I liked the route because we kept encountering slower and faster teammates, and those with different distances.Yesterday, our team was doing eight to 14 miles.  My 11 was right in the middle.

It was a scenic walk in Richmond and I took a lot of photos.  My two co-walkers kept shaking their heads, and my only running was to catch them after taking pictures.  Monument Avenue is a beautiful street, with six great monuments and lovely homes and landscaping.  We passed every one of the monuments.  I am not repeating the photos of "Stonewall" Jackson and Arthur Ashe from last week, but have included the others.

A few weeks ago, I had photos of the Matthew Fontaine Maury statue, which I really like.  Here is a close up of some of the shipwreck victims, including a cow and a dog.  Maury's work as a US Naval officer made travel by sea safer, and he is known as the "Pathfinder of the Seas."

This big spider went to a lot of work to build this huge web.  It was more than a meter across.  I would guess someone will wreck it at some point, but I snapped a photo and left it be.  I am glad not to be a fly.
So now you can see where the title for the post came from.  Maybe about 8-10 years ago, Richmond put big fiberglass rockfish all over the city and artists painted them.  After the public display, I imagine they were sold to people for use in their yards.  Isn't this one cool?
Once we were back on Boulevard and heading north, we passed the Diamond, home to our local Double A baseball team, the Richmond Flying Squirrels!
Now, we are back on Monument Avenue, heading east before turning around and Harrison and heading back to Boulevard to head south to the park.  I really liked this brick portico....
.... and the flowers in front of the home next to it.
"... 'Tis the Star Spangled Banner! Oh, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!"
Wouldn't it be an amazing cow that could jump over the moon?  I loved this banner.
Confederate General James Ewell Brown "JEB" Stuart patrols the eastern end of Monument Avenue near VCU.
Two of my teammates take a quick walk break in the last few miles of their 14 miler.  Makes me glad I am not training for a full marathon again.  13.1 seems long enough, and there is no need to double it.  One of them is dealing with plantar fasciitis, which is so miserable.  How she can do 14 miles with it active is beyond me.  It took me eight months to get past mine two years ago.
Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Traveler is the tallest of the monuments.
Confederate President Jefferson Davis is the third of the six monuments when one starts at the eastern end of Monument Avenue.

Our walking pace was not really fast, maybe just over 15 minutes per mile.  But that includes stopping numerous times for a water break and a few times to wait for traffic.  Speaking of water breaks, the other day on my lunch break, a company was passing out free bottles of their energy drink, so I grabbed one, thinking it would be a nice thing to take along on the walk yesterday.  It was called "raspberry - lemonade."  One sip of it convinced me that its original flavor name had been "camel urine," but a focus group told them that wouldn't sell as well!  It was awful, and the taste stayed in my mouth for a long time.  I dumped it out.

When I got home, I stretched out, enjoyed a mug of hot tea and a couple of donuts that I bought from the Westhampton Pastry shop, and read a little of the paper.  Then I brewed another mug of tea, dumped 20 pounds of ice in a tub of cold water, and clambered in for 15 minutes.  Miserable at the time, but I am not sore at all today.

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