My mom has been living in Medford for a little over a year. She’s never been one for the holidays so when I gave her the option of visiting earlier in October or over Thanksgiving or Christmas, she opted for the earlier date. Alaska Airlines also has easy direct flights from Seattle to Philadelphia (about a 30 minute drive from her house). So, before my schedule got too crazy, I thought I would hop over to Medford and spend the weekend. I got to Medford late in the evening on Friday after flying all day, so I missed my run. Then Saturday was a busy and rain-soaked day and, with an early dinner, my seven-mile run just didn’t happen.
By Sunday, I was crawling the walls. The weather was also perfect. Temperature was around 55 degrees. Skies were cloudless. No wind. The last time I visited my mom, I ran endless circles around her development and this time I wanted to do something a little different. So I headed out and ran south through the center of historic Medford on a ten-mile out-and-back run.
Heading out, my legs were trashed. One of the tricks to managing long flights is to always get a run in shortly after the flight. I hadn’t done that—and now I was paying for it. I was still doing my run (4:30) and walk (0:30) routine and I was glad for every little break I could get. By the time, I hit Main Street and crossed over Route 70, things were finally loosening up and my stride was resembling something more human and less robotic.
Medford is a quaint little village loaded with history. As I was running south, I passed by a ton of history that would really impress my friends back in Seattle. I also had a fair amount of time to really enjoy the run and play tourist, so I was happy to snap a lot of photos. I ran by the William Dyer House, which was built in 1841 and has a Flemish brick pattern—whatever the heck that is. Just as I was leaving the village, I passed by a cemetery, which struck me for the fact that it was so darned small.
The village of Medford ended in less than a mile after it began. Continuing south, I was now in open fields. Shortly after my mom moved to New Jersey, she told me, “wow, New Jersey is FLAT” and she was right.—at times, it can be pretty (particularly on sunny autumn days) but she was right. New Jersey is flat as a pancake.
By now, my run was opening up. My running pace was quick and easy—about 8:30 to 9:00 pace—and my legs felt great. During each mini walk break, I’d do a few plyos and a deep knee bend, but these breaks weren’t nearly as critical as they are on a lot of my Seattle runs.
Unfortunately, one of the other things that New Jersey is known for is lousy roads to run on. My ex-wife grew up in northern New Jersey and every time we visited her folks, I was pretty much homebound. No sidewalks. No shoulders. Very narrow roads and fast cars. I always thought it had to do with the proximity to New York, but it’s true in Medford to. After the fields ended, so too did the decent road for running. Pretty much, Main Street (now Stokes Road) became impossible to run on.
I took a turn west on Jackson Road and told myself that I would keep running until I hit five miles and turn around. Shortly after the turn, I passed by a large Catholic church. Then, right behind a tree, I passed a headless deer on the grass median (no, I didn’t take a photo of the dead deer)—right before a sign welcoming me to Deer Brook community. Now things were getting odd and spooky. For the remainder of my outbound run, I played an uncomfortable game of dodging car on a shoulder-less road and running on short stretches of sidewalk on alternating sides of the street. Thankfully, Jackson Road wasn’t nearly as busy as Stokes Road, but it was busy nonetheless.
My Garmin 620 hit 5 miles and I turned around. Back again along Jackson Road while dodging cars. Back past the headless deer and the Catholic Church. Through the beautiful but flat fields outside the village of Medford.
Coming back into the village of Medford was a relief and I could take in a few more sights I missed the first time. This time, I ran along the west side of Main Street and I ran by some really cute tiny houses that were owned by a glassworks company and rented to workers in the 1850’s and 1860’s for $5-$6 a month. The oldest structure on my run was the Stratton-Braddock house. At first, I almost missed it—and I would have thought nothing of it were it not for the blue historic sign in front of the building. It is a nicely built white brick building that doesn’t look particularly noteworthy. It looks like a typical brick house like any other. But this one was built in 1760, which makes it far older than anything back in Seattle by at least a hundred years.
I made it back to my mom’s place just in time for a shower and a quick lunch with her and and my aunt. My mom isn’t a runner but she prides herself on her speedy walking—exactly the activity that I like to do as slow as a turtle. Whenever we walk around her community, she’s usually speeding along far out in front of me. It’s sad when my 86 year old mother has to stop and wait for me.
Then, it was off to the airport for the flight back. I fly a lot on Alaska Airlines and so I signed up for the Alaska boardroom years and years ago. This got me reciprocal privileges at the Delta room just a few yards away from my gate. As nice as my visit with my mom was, I was also missing my life back in Seattle. Then, off to the gate and, miracles of miracles, I managed to get the last first class upgrade for the flight! Maybe someone is suggesting that I visit my mom more often?
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