When I lived in Bagdad, I made it a habit to load up the truck and take off straight after work on Friday. My pickup would be home for the weekend. The destination would often be unknown. Common overnight rest stops would be in Prescott National Forest off Bannie Mine Road or Coconino National Forest off Forest Road 53 or up on Mingus Mountain above Jerome. I would just run all over the place twice a day both Saturday and Sunday. I would try to do my long run Saturday morning so I could mentally unwind for the rest of the weekend. A long run would look something like 2-3 hours in the mountains, say the classic 20 mile SmithRavine/Spruce Mtn Loop (Prescott) or a visit to my Firetower Lookout Buddy and Mount Union via the Yankee Doodle trail (Prescott) or the well-trodden Humphrey-Weatherford-Kachina loop with Flagstaff trail runners (a Flag Classic) or hit up the Grand Canyon (regret not running more here like Jason) or maybe even step out of my normal central Arizona territory and string together a lesser known loop with the wolves in the blue range primitive area. On Saturday afternoon, I would typically do an easy 20-40 minute run with some barefoot on grass. On Sunday mornings, I might sneak in a 10 miler and follow it up in the afternoon with an easy 5 or 6 miles before making the drive back to my apartment. But if I had to choose my favourite weekend run, it would have to be the Friday after work run. After 5 days of work and running the same few running routes it just feels good to mix it up with the cool high altitude air and the scent of pine. My Friday post work week run of choice was the first trail head I hit on the 1 hour drive towards Prescott- The Granite Mountain Wilderness. It was typically 30-40 minutes out and 30-40 minutes back. Nothing special about it, just a maintenance run but one that made me giddy with the sense of freedom and the unknown that awaited me for the weekend. The lifestyle I led then and continue now is really an exercise in all or nothing, in going big on weekends and going easy at work. Work is the recovery session; it grounds me back to life and keeps me in one spot long enough to re-charge.
Fast forward to now. I live in Australia. As with Arizona I work in a remote town and live in a mining camp. But here with the long, tiring 8 day work week, I live for the 6 days to both recover and to explore this new continent. I get half as many weekends now but they are 3 times longer (6 days vs. 2) and the workweek though not quite twice as long, feels about 3 times as long. So with that the highs get higher and the lows get lower. So the “Friday” (Tuesday now) after work run is now more special than ever before.
My new go to post work week run is Sullivan Rock which is situated on Western Australia’s Appalachian Trail, the Bibbulmun Track . Again, there is nothing particular special about the run or the distance or the scenery or the pace, it just holds personal significance to me. Here are some pictures: