More of a lean than a walk, quietly slipping out of the house. A handful of tenacious stars still twinkle. The coffee pot is programmed to start percolating somewhere around mile 6.
This long hill at the beginning probably should wake me up but never does.
Settling into a stride eventually, keeping eyes and ears alert. Or trying to. Mainly enjoying the quiet of this path before it’s peppered with people. Right now it’s me, the bunny rabbits, and probably an errant deer or two.
Onward. I have songs in my head, ones that have motivated me on runs for years and more freshly-discovered ones. They help. Some thoughts about life seep in and start swirling. I slow down. So I focus on the songs instead.
I pass the turnaround point for the last two weeks and thought “!!” the way you do when testing your distance limits. It’s a good feeling.
I hit this week’s turnaround, shake my arms out, and start back. It’ll be nine miles today.
Positive vibes, negative splits.
I keep the songs in my head. Just never got into running with earbuds. I slow a little, or at least I think I do, as the gravity of this longer distance tugs at me. Ease up, it murmurs.
Instead now I focus on the woman in front of me, dark ponytail. Realistically she’s running fast enough to stay ahead, but she makes for a fine focal point. Whatever it takes.
I pass my neighbor starting his run; he’s chipper and this boosts me for about a quarter of a mile.
Less than a mile to go.
Downhill. Down down that long hill, the one from the beginning.
This isn’t a race but that doesn’t mean I can’t love it, that doesn’t mean I can’t pour myself into it. Training hasn’t been canceled; effort hasn’t been canceled.
The home stretch. My legs are finished but I haul them up the ascent of our cul-de-sac anyway.
I hold my left wrist (the watch wrist) in front of my face with my right hand. I see the results, unfeeling little numbers but results nonetheless, and take a deep breath.
Who says God doesn’t speak in mile splits?
It was a good run.