It was 9am. I sat down at the bar-stool seating at the front of the Blue Moose Cafe in Port Townsend, Washington. I downed my glass of water as quick as it was offered to me and awaited my next. I ordered a monster breakfast burrito, sipped my coffee and watched the cooks work their craft.
Two hours earlier I was moping about my house in my skimpy running shorts, rain jacket, New Balance 630′s, and my trusty blue bandanna; my stop watch on my wrist reading 00:00:00.oo, waiting to be initiated. I could not get out the door for some reason, some pre-runs are like this – mopey. Eventually, while folding my socks, I said aloud, “Get the hell outa here!” Not wanting to anger myself, I did as commanded.
Carrot-raisin muffin in hand, I jogged out of the front yard and clicked on my iPod Shuffle. I never even considered exercising with headphones until I upped my weakly running hours to 8, 10, sometimes 14 hours. When I first got my iPod in back in December I listened to music for about a week, then I got very annoyed by it; someone always whining, or screaming harmoniously, or overly-glorifying, or two-stepping, or raging against one of many machines – so I deleted all my music. Now I listen to books or history and science podcasts. (That day it was a WNYC’s Radiolab podcast, the topic was social relations amongst primates, specifically the great apes, humans included.)
I pitter-patted along the stoney beach then headed southeast towards a trail that winds along the other side of the peninsula. The beaches wrapping around the Quimper peninsula, home of Port Townsend, have been my close friends for the last 6 months of my training. I run on them 3-6 days a week, watching them change, witnessing the 100 foot tall bluffs erode by winter’s temper. I observe sea birds, seals, eagles, river otters, crabs, deer, and the occasional coyote. (A chimpanzee with a 650 word vocabulary who can formulate its own sentences and even make up new words – amazing!)
Last month I ran my first ultra-marathon, a 31 mile race up and down hills, through mud and creeks, and across rocks and grass. Of the 65 silly people who entered the race, I finished 10th silliest, exhausted but quite proud of myself. Last week I ran another trail race, only a 1/2 marathon this time, the Dash Point 1/2 Marathon, a part of the Evergreen Trail Running Series. I finished 2nd of 150. (A bonobo who has developed the ability to verbally articulate English words at appropriate times, albeit very roughly – albeit awesome!)
I reached the other side of the peninsula and headed south-southwest. I coasted through the soggy forest, onto a winding road, and on by the Port Townsend Paper Mill. I continued along the water past many ram-shackle and jimmy-rigged RV’s that clearly were not going anywhere anytime soon. I was craving breakfast so I cut through a cedar grove, found the trail heading back towards town and made an about-face, the light rainfall now at my front. (Chimpanzees, though about 4-6 times stronger than a human, are horribly uneconomical in their walking and running. A human of moderate fitness could easily outrun a chimp, even its prime – it’s good to be a human!)
This was a light run, a jaunt. I normally run with aggressive hills in mind, but not today, I will just relax in the rain today. The wind was picking up and the waters of Port Townsend Bay were gaining dimension. I often crave mountains, but I never fall out of attraction for salty waters. (An sign-language capable orangutan that picked a door-lock and then broke out of the zoo, then proceeded to lie to to the zoo keepers that it ever happened – that is just hilarious!)
It felt good to sit in the cafe, the Blue Moose, after my run. My burrito arrived, stuffed with bacon, cream cheese, jalapeño peppers, potatoes, and eggs. I ate it and I need on my elbows. I looked around and listened to the sounds of the greasy-spoon kitchen hustling and bustling. The place is full of craftsmen and shipbuilders. It was located in the center of Boat Haven, a large shipyard where a lot of fishermen, mariners, sports boaters and holiday boaters dry up their ships to work on them.
I took a “20″ out of my running shorts pocket, paid the bill, and slowly walked out the building, full belly in tote. The rain had stopped and started back up while I was in the café. I stretched my arms little bit, yawned, put in my earbuds back in, picked up my feet, slow first and then quickly, and begin the run back home. (A chimpanzee named Lucy developed such an affection for her keeper that she refused to be let back into the wild when the time came, Lucy died because of the separation – sad)