Running for pleasure

A fellow member of the Flying Irish, Speed Fitzhugh, recently described the long run he did. He’s not training for a marathon or any race in particular, and he’s not a high-mileage runner during the week, but he enjoys a long, easy run on the weekend that’s 20-30 miles long.

He once invited me to join him on a 30-miler. Unfortunately, I don’t have the stamina and durability to run that far, even at a slow pace without feeling wiped out for a couple days, or getting injured, or both.

But I like the concept of running purely for pleasure with no thought of maintaining a sustained brisk pace or preparing for a race.

I used to live in Ventura, California, and on Saturday mornings I’d run down to the pier near my apartment and get on a trail that ran north along the shore. It was only two miles out and two miles back, but the turnaround point overlooked a popular surfing area, and I sat on a rock and watched the surfers. Sometimes I spent more time sitting on the rock than I did running.surfing


In Spokane, there was a basalt outcropping that used to overlook downtown until it was developed into an office building. It was the turnaround point for a five-miler that also involved sitting on a rock. The tall buildings, with windows lit in the early evening, the passenger jets flying over on their final approach to the airport, and the dull roar from the bustle of an urban environment made a great scene depicting the excitement of city living.

Many times while traveling or visiting out-of-town friends or relatives, I’ve enjoyed running just to explore. Sometimes these turn into long runs because I’ll come to a neat area or road, and I want to explore more instead of turning back.

Maybe, my fellow runners, it’s the same for you – sometimes the highlight of my day is the run I did.

Lantern Tap House heads-up

Earlier this month I went to the Lantern Tap House where a running group meets every Tuesday. It was a lot of fun, however, if you ever attend, you need to be aware of the obnoxious and inappropriate amorous advances of one guy in this group.Outside Lantern Tap House

Though I’ve never run with this group before, I knew most of the members because there’s lots of intermingling among the Spokane running clubs. To call it a group or club isn’t entirely accurate. Like the other Spokane running clubs, it’s more of a gathering. Anyone can join just by showing up at 6:00 pm on Tuesday.

About sixty runners attended which is a nice change from the few hundred that typically join Flying Irish runs on Thursdays.

The Lantern Tap House is in the Perry district, a somewhat trendy area where a lot of new, locally-owned, retail businesses have opened in the last several years. It’s surrounded by an older neighborhood with lots of trees and many homes that have been renovated and updated. It makes for pretty running routes.

There’s no charge to participate, however, a post-run microbrew is a $2.50 adjustment to your financial situation. This pricing causes me to wonder about the Lantern’s owner’s business acumen.

One of the group’s organizers passed out treats. Not often do I combine beer and Snickers, but it worked out okay.Beer and SnickersI also had a few pieces of licorice, another great pairing with beer.jim eating twizzler

After several beers, I tried to initiate romantic encounters by suggesting the eating of a stick of licorice from opposite ends. My request was turned down by many.

I decided to disguise my intentions by framing it as a cutesy photo opportunity. As multiple shots are taken, I would quickly eat the licorice and attain the romantic moment I wanted.

My buddy, Kevin, agreed to be in a photo, but only if we had our own piece of licorice.jim and kevinI was able to convince Tina, a regular at the Manito Runners Club and the Flying Irish, to do it, however, she stipulated absolutely no licorice sticks be present.Jim and TinaSo I went home thwarted and unfulfilled, but I plan to join this group again soon. Hopefully, I can come up with a better strategy to lure someone into a drunken, sloppy, face-against-face romantic moment in front of dozens of Lantern customers.