I'm Not Dead Yet! (My Break Is Over, I Run Again!)

Happy 2008 everyone! In consideration of my previously discussed endocrine fatigue, I took a brief hiatus from running… and as […]

By on January 7, 2008 | Comments

Happy 2008 everyone! In consideration of my previously discussed endocrine fatigue, I took a brief hiatus from running… and as tends to be the case, I also took two full weeks off with the exception of two easy 5 mile runs while I was home in New Jersey around xmas. Regarding my endocrine fatigue, I took time off and took more iron supplements than normal. I made good use of the off time as well as my current lack of a roommate by knocking out some major interior renovation projects including ripping up the tile in my landing, sanding it and polyurethaning it; refinishing my steps; and repainting my front door.

The landing I refinished during my break.

I started running again on New Years day and have run every day since. You’d have to go back to the first half of October for the last time I did that. To be honest, most of the runs haven’t been great. I’ve struggled to keep myself going and really had to go at it a half mile at a time. I felt fat and slow on the first couple runs (more than normal that is), had one run where I had to stop and walk, and then I had the past two runs. I sure didn’t feel fast or fit, but they went by quickly. What’s the secret? Hunt for the AFS runs!

By AFS, I, of course, mean American Foursquare style homes like my own. I’ve done a ton of work renovating the interior of Red Star Farms (yes, my estatefarm … house has a name), but the outside is still in ridiculous disrepair. Everything’s got to go! As such, I’ve got lots to work with when deciding what my house will eventually look like. To get ideas, I’m looking around at other AFSs in Arlington to see how they tend to be styled around here. Unfortunately, there aren’t very many of them around here to use as examples. To be fair, there are a TON of AFSs… they just all happen to be WWII era brick buildings, that don’t serve as a good example… even though my house is “brick.” The picture below lies – my house is NOT brick, it is a wood-frame house with ugly asphalt in a brick pattern over wood clapboard. I aim to change that.

Red Star Farms with yours truly.

So back to running… I’ve come up with a game. I canvas Arlington looking for wood-framed, hip roofed AFSs. I’ll do this whenever I run during daylight (I carry my camera to take pictures) until I run long enough that this gets annoying… which will probably be when I return to the mountains for my long runs. Wanting to cover the most ground in order to see the most possible AFSs, I’ve taken to picking a given neighborhood and then running the length EVERY street in that neighborhood. Not only do I have something to look for during my runs, the route itself is a game. I have to try to cover every road in an area and do so with the least amount of back tracking. Here’s what my past two runs look like.

A foot tour of Ballston and Bluemont

In addition to looking for AFSs, I look for metal roofed houses, as I am thinking of putting a metal roof on this place. I’ve also taken to keeping an eye out for solar panels.

Fun Run 1 -7.75 miles
AFSs – 9
Metal Roofs – 1 full, 2 porch roofs (both on AFSs)
Solar Panels – 1

Fun Run 2 – 4.88 miles
AFSs – 5 (though 2 were more colonial looking)
Metal Roofs – 2
Solar Panels – 0

Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Founding Editor of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for more than 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.