The Spice of Life

Meditations in Motion

I recently had the chance to run on Cape Cod for a week.

The hubs and I traveled there with our two youngest sons and their families to visit my sister and her family for her annual 4th of July bash.

We rented a house 100 yards away from the Cape Cod Canal in Bourne, Massachusetts, about a 10-minute drive from my sister’s house on Buzzards Bay in Pocasset.

Meditations in Motion

The reason we chose this particular house was its proximity to the canal and the Cape Cod Canal Trail.

I have been visiting my sister on the Cape for years. For most of those years, I have searched for a good place to run.

My sister lives on an “island“. I put the word in quotes because the “island” hasn’t been an island for almost 100 years. A long-ago hurricane moved some sand around and turned the island into a peninsula but everyone who lives there still refers to it as an island.

There is a paved road that circles the island which is almost exactly one mile long. The road is lightly traveled and fairly flat, with beautiful water views for its entirety, but running the same one-mile loop over and over quickly gets boring.

There are many rolling country roads near Bourne that travel shaded paths through woods past picturesque ponds and bays with enough dips and turns to make them interesting running routes, but these roads have no shoulders, blind curves, and a fair amount of traffic. When I ran them in the past I felt as though I was in peril.

Meditations in Motion

A few years ago, my brother-in-law suggested we run on the Cape Cod Canal Trail, a 6.5 mile paved path that follows the banks of the Cape Cod Canal. The path is scenic, flat, and easily accessed. Best of all, there is no motorized traffic. It begins at the railroad bridge in Bourne and ends 6.5 miles away in Sagamore.

When we searched for a rental house, I was surprised and pleased to find one that suited our family’s needs within sight of the trail terminus. Bill and I planned to run five of the six full days we were on Cape Cod.

We didn’t get to run on the first morning we were on the Cape. That meant we would have to run five consecutive days to meet our goal. Challenge accepted! I was excited about living so close to a great running location.

The scenery along the canal path is beautiful. There are woods on one side of the path, and views of the water with cormorants, terns, gulls, and ducks on the other. Boats floated by and fishermen (and women) cast their lines in hopes of snagging bluefish.

We began our running week with an easy four-mile out-and-back run on the Canal Trail. We tended to sleep a little bit later on vacation than we do at home, so by the time we ran, the sun was high in the sky. Due to the orientation of the trail, we had to run slightly over a mile before we found shade. We resolved to get up earlier the next day.

Meditations in Motion

The second day we did get up earlier. Prior to traveling, we arranged our training plan so that we were not scheduled to do a long run on the Cape. We decided our longest run there would be six miles and since we got going early, this was the best day to do our six-miler.

At the end of the second run, I noticed that, in addition to the half-mile markers, there seemed to be tick marks painted on the path every quarter-mile. I said something to Bill to see if he noticed the same thing. He responded with a kinder, gentler version of “No kidding!

The third day, we saw the same woods (again), the same cormorants, terns, gulls, and ducks (again), the same boats (again) and the same fishermen/women (again). In addition, I realized I was anticipating each quarter-mile marker, not a good mindset for a run. I asked Bill if he would mind limiting our run to three miles that day and he readily agreed.

The fourth day I balked at running. The repetitive out and back route was not appealing anymore and I rolled over in bed and tried to go back to sleep. Bill, however, encouraged me to get up and put my running shoes on. I reluctantly dragged myself out of bed and trudged down to the trail.

I dreaded watching for the mile markers, but could not stop myself. “How about a tempo run? ” I suggested. I figured if we were going to run, we may as well get it over with as quickly as possible. We did a quick three-mile tempo run and called it a day.

On our final running day, we needed four miles to achieve a 20-mile week, so I suggested that distance. My legs were tired from the tempo run the day before, the quarter-mile markers still taunted me, and the sun was baking us. I needed some walk breaks just to get through the short run.

I learned that too much of a good thing can still be too much. The Canal Trail was a beautiful place to run, but the repetitive out-and-back runs meant that we saw the same scenery over and over again, twice each morning. Combined with the lack of turns or changes in elevation to break up the monotony, I began dreading our daily run. I need diversity in my running routes and workouts.

I am very happy to be back in the rolling green farmland of Pennsylvania, where I have a variety of routes to choose from, all with different scenery. As it turns out, variety really is the spice of life – running life, that is!

 

I am linking up with Running on the Fly and Confessions of a Mother Runner for their Weekly Rundown and Random-osity for The Good, The Random, The Fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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67 comments

  1. Boy, Laurie, I really admire your dedication to running like you do. I’ve never been much of a runner as my knees aren’t the best, but I do enjoy fast-walking on the treadmill at our gym. Yes, I guess that would bore you, but it works for me, and at least I know I’m doing something good for my body. Glad you’re back home and now have a choice of running routes.
    Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I used to run a lot on the Cape when my inlaws still lived there (Centerville, near Hyannis). I just ran the streets, but you’re right, not much shoulders.

    I’ve been to Falmouth a couple of times — there’s an absolutely beautiful running path there that goes on for miles. It’s called the Shining Sea Byway. Of course i only discovered this after the inlaws had moved away! Might be something you’d think about driving time for your next trip there.

    I totally get it though — I crave variety. Was just talking to a runner about that very subject this morning, LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I will check out the Shining Sea Byway. Thanks, Judy. It really depends on how much driving time it would take to get there, but I don’t think Falmouth is too far away from my sister’s house. We ran the Falmouth road race several times when we stayed there. Even if it is a little drive, it might be a good way to break up the week. I am done running on the roads on the Cape. Too dangerous!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love to vary my walks and hikes, and even throw in a backwards walk to test my limbs and brain from time to time. So although you were on one of my favorite spots in the world, I can understand the need or desire for variety and change of scenery in the daily run. At least you were willing to modify your well- mapped out plans!

    I was visiting a dear friend on Cape Cod last summer in East Falmouth and we took a little walk on the main drag that did not have a sidewalk. My petite friend was on the roadside and a delivery truck same came so close to her I could practically feel the breath of the driver. That was a bit too close for comfort so perhaps there is something to be said about the safety and sameness of a canal path !

    Cheers
    Susan Grace

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I am done running on the roads on the Cape. I am afraid of the traffic. We are not too far from Falmouth and have done the Falmouth Road Race several times. That race gets runners from all over the world. Love to visit the Cape. It is a beautiful place.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I love the Cape and feel so fortunate that an old California friend has a vacation home there. we spent a lot of time there during my 2018 visit. We usually alternate between Boston and the Cape. Life on the Cape is relaxing except when you almost get run over by a truck 🀣
        I don’t blame you for being afraid of traffic – A most legitimate fear !
        my next blog deals coincidentally with that very subject – FEAR ! πŸ˜…

        Cheers to you!
        Susan Grace

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Good for you for sticking with your goal and getting in the runs even when you didn’t want to! Out and backs can definitely be repetitive, but better than that 1 mile loop at least!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it was the lesser of 2 kind of boring choices. I am pretty stubborn. If I plan to run 5 days, it would take a lot to dissuade me from doing so! πŸ™‚

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    • With all your traveling, I can’t believe you have never been to the Cape! πŸ™‚ The Falmouth Road Race is pretty near my sister’s house and we have done that one several times. If you ever get a chance, it’s a really fun one. It draws runners from all over the globe.

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  5. Those quarter mile marks would have been good for some speedwork… of course not every day. Today, I went mountain biking with my son in an area designated for winter snowmobiling. The whole time I was riding I kept thinking “I gotta come back and run this” It’s like a playground for me. Pennsylvania really has some nice places to run.

    Liked by 1 person

    • PA certainly does have some great trails. I usually don’t do speed work when I’m running with my hubby. He doesn’t like it and doesn’t do it. I have to wait for a day when I am running by myself.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I have some favorite routes I run here at home too, but I have lots of variations for each loop and I don’t do the same loop day after day. I shouldn’t whine about boring running routes, I know. I am lucky to just be out there.

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  6. Running on vacay can definitely be a challenge. Too bad there were no other routes to enjoy. The last time I ran on Cape Cod my soon to be 14 year old was one. I ran up and down the main street through Provincetown.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t been out to Provincetown in years. The Falmouth Road Race is fairly near my sister’s house. It’s a huge race that draws lots of elite runners from all over the world. Really fun!

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  7. Oh you’ve captured some of the grandeur of the Cape, my friend! We are big fans of the Cape Cod Rail Trail which runs near where we live on the other end of the Cape. My husband bikes it often. Our grandkids love it when they’re here.

    And it’s a wonderfully peaceful, scenic route for sometime-walkers like me.

    I can’t tell you how much I loved your post! So glad you could be here …

    πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had no idea you were so close, Linda! I wanted to bike the whole length of the trail, but we never made the time for it – too many other family activities that week. You certainly do live in a beautiful location!

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  8. I totally understand your need to vary your running routes! I always mix it up. In my younger years, I always ran the same routes. One of my neighbors figured that out and started waiting for me at the end of his driveway so he could join me. I had to put a very awkward stop to that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ewww…I would not like someone figuring out my running routes. When I first started running, I always did the exact same route, but that got old pretty quickly.

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  9. I agree that some routes can be boring because of the repetitive out-and-back runs and the same scenery. It happens to me too when I go to the lake, the loop is about 20 km (12,4 ml) but only 7 km (4.3 ml) are really safe.
    However I like your attitude to look always for places to run through.

    Liked by 1 person

    • An out-and-back route has the potential to be boring, since you run the same route twice – once in each direction. It is fun to run in different places, but this was just too much of a good thing!

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  10. I’d love to run on Cape Cod.

    But like you, I like to vary things. Even when I travel I don’t run on the same route more than once.

    Congrats on getting it done.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. it is a beautiful area but I think I would also get a bit tired of the same path each time. My cousin, by the way, lives in Kingston, MA which is gorgeous too. Not super far from Cape Cod, though I haven’t made it there yet. I love when I can run new (to me) trails or paths. We have such beautiful paths around me, but I’ve run them so much that I just balk at doing yet another round over the bridge and on the dike.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love running new routes too. When we first began running on the trail, I was excited, but covering the same distance over and over again got a little boring. I just couldn’t find a safe alternative.

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  12. I feel the same way when I run in Ocean City MD. Granted we usually only go for 3-4 days and I tend to only run 2 of them but running down the boardwalk and then walking it at night is a bit monotonous. We sometimes come back up through town instead, but given I’ve been visiting there all my life there’s not a whole lot “new” to see.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The photo is really just a bike path. No motorized vehicles allowed. I like to wear bright clothing when I run too. Sometimes it doesn’t work, though. Be safe out there!

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  13. I agree with commenter Lori: you ROCK that skirt. And glad to hear you’re too smart to run on roads with no shoulder. Napa Valley, where I live, has two highways that traverse its length. One, Silverado Trail, is scenic indeed but seeing all the tourist/cyclists pedaling away on its teensy shoulders, around twists and turns and alongside traffic that’s going 55 mph and is largely composed of other tourists who are wine-tasting . . . gives me the willies!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jan. I ran on the Silverado Trail when I was in Napa. I was scared to run there too. Cars go zipping by and the shoulders are indeed small or non-existent. The thought about the wine tasters crossed my mind too. I did find a side road to turn off on as quickly as I could.

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    • I think the next time we go, it may be worth our while to drive to a different location for some of our runs. I think there are some trails near Falmouth too.

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  14. What a wonderful thing to have such new vistas to experiencing through running! That’s one thing I miss about running. Granted, I can still explore them through walking, but just not quite as much territory. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was a very pretty area to run in. When you walk you don’t cover as much territory, but you get to notice more things. Both have their benefits! πŸ™‚

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  15. I can imagine the repetitive making it hard to find the joy of running there every morning. Kudos for getting it done. One of the places I run, Lake Katherine, is a mile long too. It can get pretty boring. There are other running paths close by that I also like to run to mix it up a little bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Here I was over the long holiday thinking of you two while you were gone on your vacation and enjoying scenic runs in a different venue – hmm. The grass was greener on the other side, but you happy to be back in the rolling green farmland of Pennsylvania. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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