Adventures in Running with Maurine

Gerbils and Crappy Air

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Usually I do my long runs on Saturdays (because I have a lot more free time on Saturdays than workdays) but decided to do my long run on a Friday night this week since I have several things to do on Saturday.

Right now the Salt Lake valley is experiencing an inversion. The air quality is deteriorating and they declared today a “red burn” day which means we should cut down on driving and avoid burning fuels and exercising outside unless it is impossible. So – I burned lots of gas driving out to Kearns to run at the Olympic Ice Oval.

I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived to be told that on red burn days they only charge runners $1 to use the track, on yellow burn days it goes up to $2 and on green burn days it is the normal $3.

The run started at 3:30 and I had figured correctly that there would not be many other runners that early. I started out in my Vibram Five Fingers and did the first six miles in reverse direction from the way the track normally flows. The Oval was built for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake and has the speed skating track surrounded by a four lane running track and the ‘short track’ oval inside the larger oval as well as a hockey rink. The building is cool, but unless you are on the ice it is not cold, so we are always able to run in shorts and t-shirts (I usually use a long sleeved shirt). The running track is slightly less than 3.5 laps per mile. I wanted to run 16 miles, so knew I would have to run 56 laps. I have purchased a lap counter that I carry to help me keep track of where I am.

After 6 miles, I switched to the normal flow of the track. A few more runners had shown up by then. No skaters yet on the main speed skating track. The last time I had run here was prior to the Vancouver games and I was able to watch Apollo Anton Ohno and other skaters prepare for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic games. After 7 miles, I switched over from wearing the FiveFingers to Crocs and used them for the remainder of the run. It is nice to have my long run done for the week. Now – if only I was still asleep in the middle of the night.

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