The Best Run Ever

By Megan Cox

In my last post, I related to you one of the worst training runs I’ve ever had, which was brought on by my own stupidity. The lesson I learned is that high humidity, super hot temperatures, and a belly full of grilled chicken can make a 9-mile training run pretty grueling—and potentially dangerous. That error in judgment was made 5 years ago, and I’m happy to say I would never take a risk like that again.

But since we’re on that subject, let me tell you about the best training run I ever had. Consequently, it took place in the very same park where I had my bad experience. As mentioned before, Centennial Park is a gorgeous setting in Columbia, Maryland (shown above). The park boasts a small, lovely lake, and families can rent paddle boats, hold picnics in pavilions, fish, walk their dogs, and much, much more. The best feature for me, however, is the 2.4-mile running trail that circles the lake. It boasts steep hills for training purposes and breathtaking scenery for inspiration.

The best training run I ever had took place on a brilliant but cool October day in 2008. The foliage on the East Coast is pretty stunning at this time of year, and I was fairly revved up to get started. Generally I ran most of my long runs with my husband on Saturdays, but on this particular weekend, I was headed to my sister’s place outside Philadelphia, and my 20-mile run had to be completed on Friday morning before I headed up Interstate 95.

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The Worst Run Ever

By Megan Cox
As we get ready to celebrate the birth of our nation, memories of the holiday come flooding back to me. I remember watching fireworks as a small child at our home on the hill in Los Angeles, with my sister, my brother, and I snuggled between our parents on the bench swing.

I recall eating ice cream and Ruffles potato chips next to the pool and shooting off Roman candles when we moved to Atlanta. I also remember sitting on the lawn at the United States Air Force Academy and smiling down at my engagement ring, waiting for my Air Force cadet to join me. These are fond, fond recollections.

Then there’s the not-so-fond memory, which unfortunately involves a very ill-timed training run for my first half-marathon in 2007.

It was a dreadfully hot and humid day in the suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland. My husband had to work on the Fourth of July, a travesty for him as it’s his favorite holiday (my favorite is Christmas Eve—shopping, egg nog, and candlelight services! What’s not to love?) So, after an early private barbecue, as in, just him and me and some tasty grilled chicken, he headed off to the office, and I headed to the park.

I was in good shape for my first half-marathon. It was only July, and I was already up to running nine miles pretty comfortably. The race wasn’t until October, and at this point, I was hoping to increase my speed a great deal in the next four months.

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