Friday, September 19, 2014

runemployed 05: Carytown & The Museum District

In which I try to turn a negative situation into a positive one and explore Richmond in the process.

I don't know what I'd do without my friends. They're the best and have been a huge help during this rough patch of mine. (Now in its 39th year!) Without the support of them - as well as my wonderful family - I don't know what I'd do. Honestly. You'd probably find me in a gutter somewhere, more pathetic than 30 Rock's Lenny Wosniak:  "I gave my gun to my pastor. You know, in case I get the ol' 'gloomies' again." (BTW that is the greatest line ever uttered by Steve Buscemi.)

I like how my car's photobombing via my sunglasses.
That's why I was delighted this morning when my friend Suzanne, a confidant and very knowledgeable resource during this blog project you're reading, asked if I wanted to get out of the house and join her for a run through Carytown and the Museum District. Of course I did.

They are Groot.
The Museum District is where you'll find not only the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Virginia Historical Society, but also a residential area with lots of wide, shady sidewalks. They are particularly great for running. I was pretty impressed with this part of our jaunt and will definitely add it to my rotation.

Shopper's paradise.
Ever since my high school years, Carytown has been my favorite place to hang out in Richmond. During those impressionable years I considered Plan 9 Music my Valhalla. These days it's Bev's Homemade Ice Cream, located a few blocks away. This section of town spans several blocks of Cary Street and features a plethora of great restaurants and interesting shops. The sidewalks there are also good for running, but I don't know how they'd hold up during peak shopping hours. Probably not ideal, what with the shoppers moving at a Southernly pace.

I'm sorry, Mr. Jackson. I am for real.
This morning's run was a great one. Beautiful, cool weather and a very scenic route. I had a good guide. Suzanne's a hardcore runner currently training for November's half marathon, so I joined her as she was already a few miles into her run. That worked out well for me because by then her pace was slower, but still a little faster than my usual one. Sometimes it's nice to be pushed like that.

The shortest point between two distances is a line.
How did I do? I have NO FREAKIN' CLUE due to my being confounded by technology. After three miles exactly we took a little breather. I thought it was the end of the run, so I went to upload it on the Strava app. It turns out that Suzanne was just assessing where to go on our last leg. So I cancelled out of that upload, which ended up discarding my whole run up to that point. ARRRGGGGHHH!!! Inadvertently doing stuff like that gets to me - like when I notice halfway through the day that my Fitbit Flex is in sleep mode - and will dampen my mood for hours. The run was wasted! There's no record of it, so it never was! (Yeah, yeah, my health... whatever.) So just look at Suzanne's Strava results on the right above and reduce it to the three miles on the bottom of the map. That's me.
It's not what you think it is. What a letdown.
As this was a social run, tuning out the world with my music wasn't an option. I'm not a jerk. It speaks volumes about how far I've come this year that I can carry on a conversation while running, albeit between loud gasps for air. But still. Anyway, my playlist song for this particular run is Placebo's "Pure Morning," the lead off single from their 1998 album Without You I'm Nothing. Strip away the seedy subtext and it's a lovely little ditty about friendship.

A friend in need's a friend indeed
A friend with weed is better
A friend with breasts and all the rest
A friend who's dressed in leather

A friend in need's a friend indeed
A friend who'll tease is better
Our thoughts compressed
Which makes us blessed
And makes for stormy weather

Window dining.
We capped off our run with a trip to Starbucks, where I finally redeemed my free birthday drink voucher for a pumpkin spice latte, natch. (Skim milk, no whip, thank you very much.) Then I dropped Suzanne off at her house and I went back to Carytown to take some pictures for this post. Normally, I take breaks during my run and snap those, but I didn't want to slow her roll. That gave me a chance to do some leisurely browsing at Road Runner Sports and grab a French toast donut from Dixie Donuts. Yeah, calorically I was back at zero, but I earned it, dammit!

This is why I run.
As much as I love getting lost in my own little world when I hit the road, it does feel great to go out with friends. They make you step up your game, strive to do better. It gives you an excuse to hang out under the ridiculous guise of "being healthy." Plus, doing so gives me the basic human contact that I need and that escapes me way down in the suburbs. Since pretty much all of my friends are located in Richmond, my desire to get out of here burns with the white hot intensity of 1,000 exploding suns. No, that is not hyperbole. I don't even know what that word means.

Seriously, what does it mean?

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