Saturday’s zeal left me a mile over the scheduled run, so I decided to give the bod a break and trim Sunday’s assigned 6-miler to a 5. I was feeling a little blue, despite the forced-smile brightness of the sun, so I figured I’d best run through the cemetery. Chances were good I’d be left alone there.
The New Calvary Cemetery is about a mile south of my place. I usually run through the smaller, northern bit but on Sunday I jogged across the BQE service road and decided to explore the larger grounds. Running through the cemetery means a lot of loop-di-loops, which is fine by me. I’ll never get lost, and there are nearly endless route variations. I was moving too quickly to browse the headstones well enough to pick up detail, so I let my senses go for the broad strokes as my legs, lungs and heart did their running thing.
The cemetery generated none of its own noise; there were no burials going on, and no one came to pay their respects during the 35 minutes I ran the grounds. The ambient noise was limited to the rubber whoosh of the elevated traffic on the BQE and LIE, which hem in the cemetery to the north and south. I ran without my iPod, so I could hear the regular slap of my feet and the even pant of my breath. The land sloped down from the service road to the back of the property, so whenever I ran south down one of the transverses I was treated to a panoramic view of the cemetery. Headstones stretched out in every direction, strange protrusions in gray and white marble, and the lawns were more carpet-like than any golf course. The sky was an uncertain blue, and the most striking element of this vista was the LIE, which rushed by above it all, elevated on brick trestles and stitched in place by the cables strung between telephone poles. I honeycombed that cemetery, tracing each road, casting my scant company like breadcrumbs for the poor souls interred beneath the frozen ground.
I never quite warmed up; I could have worn double tights, and a hat. Nevertheless. Do you think the dead minded that my body was going full throttle through their final resting place? Heart pounding, lungs heaving, blood coursing hot, skin flushed and my soul, my soul bursting with the joy of the run, of the proof of life.
5.04 miles in 49:48; average pace 9:51; fastest mile 9:31; slowest mile 10:22.