The Heart of Fall

Golden leaves.

The bright golden colors of fall.

Here we are in the middle of fall, with the bright but fleeting colors of the leaves creating a beautiful backdrop for  our runs.  Right now, the weather doesn’t quite know if 75 or 45 is the correct temperature.  One day it’s tights, long sleeve shirt, and light gloves, then its back to shorts and short sleeves.  One thing is constant, though, evening runs are in the dark.  I equip myself with a headlamp and reflectors for these runs.  The headlamp is annoying, but necessary.  Some areas are well lit by streetlights, but our town is notorious for potholes, especially in areas where the streets are dark.  Potholes seem to congregate in the dark.

Spent yellow squash plant.

This yellow squash plant was very productive over the summer, providing us with a dozen or so squash, and we ate some of the blossoms, too.

Running in the dark, I feel a bit like a fugitive, darting among the shadows, and aware the drivers are not necessarily aware of me.  It is a bit of a survival game.

Stem of a zucchini plant.

The wizened stem of a zucchini plant.

Unlike the plants in these photos, I am planning to reach a peak in the next few weeks as I take on the Philly Marathon, November 18.  This will be my fifth year in a row running Philly.  If someone told me back in 2008, that by the end of 2012 I’d have seven marathons in the books, I’d have thought they were crazy.  But, as long as I finish it, this will be my seventh, with one Boston and one Steamtown in the mix.

Tomatoes still green in October.

Green tomatoes still hanging on the vine in late October.

Many of my friends, about my age of 58, are looking ahead to retirement and discussing their bucket lists.  Don’t speak to me of bucket lists.  It’s not that I believe that somehow I am less mortal than my non-running friends.  Quite the contrary.  I seem to take on some risks for which life afterwards is not a given.  I don’t think I’m adding years to my existence by running, or eating right.  But, running, and competing are a great deal of fun, an endless challenge, and a great reason to get together with like minded folks and have a good time…often with good beer involved.  The list of interesting things I would like to do keeps expanding.

Orange Peel Fungus

I believe these are Orange Peel Fungus, a type of mushroom which bloomed in our garden.

Running Philly so soon after running Steamtown is a bit of an experiment for me.  Collective wisdom says that it takes about as many days as miles in a race to recover properly.  But after the first week following Steamtown of sore quads and an awkward gate, I got back into the training process.  Last Sunday was a 22 miler.  The legs felt very tired around mile 19 and 20, and I wound up slowing considerably, only to get a second wind and run the last two miles in decent form.  Tuesday and Wednesday were good training runs at close to marathon pace.  Running in the dark slows me down a bit, as I mentioned, having to pick my way through in some areas.  After an eleven mile run last night, Steve and Tony, my friends from Steamtown, and I headed out for some good ales and dinner at a local pub called the Pour House.  The talk covered how best to run an upcoming 10K bridge run, a zombie run (lots of zombies out on the course, since Halloween is coming), the Giants and Tigers first world series game, extremely thin waitresses at the Pour House, the difference between ales and lagers, American vs India Pale Ale, and all sorts of other topics.

Poison Ivy along our fence.

Here’s the poison ivy along our fence which gets me every time I trim along the fence line.

This poison ivy gets me every time.  As I wrote in a previous entry, I got the rash everywhere my last encounter with it, and I’m glad to see it turn colors and drop it’s leaves.  It is an attractive vine.  But this winter, after Philly, and with gloves and long sleeves, I will get in to this area and dig out every bit of it.  That is, I hope I will, since finding it after the leaves are gone might be tricky.  Meanwhile, I’m heading for a 50 plus mile week, I am not particularly sore, and I hope my experiment goes well.

Leave a comment


  1. Glad to see the veggies did pretty well for you ; enjoy the up and down temps of fall:))

    • Thanks for commenting. Yes, the garden was productive, and trying the squash blossoms was an interesting treat.


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