I love the smell of guano in the morning.
That's a lie. It's gross. I do, however, love crossing the Congress Ave bridge with less than 3 miles to go on a 10-mile run, especially when I'm feeling good. And it's even cooler to do as the bats are dive-bombing all around you. Okay, when I say it like that, it doesn't sound cool so much as terrifying, but believe me, it's a sight to see.
For some reason, I felt very optimistic as I went to bed last night. Something in my body told me that today's step-back week long run of 10 miles wasn't going to be so bad. I was going to to take it nice and easy, and I was going to finish without too much difficulty. The most surprising part of this was that I still felt that way when the alarm went off this morning. After an energy bar, a bit of water, and a quick check of the weather, I was underway.
Though I felt a little creaky from a weekend of performing in a high-energy comedy show, within a half mile, I had settled into a fairly relaxed pace, forcing myself not to push any kind of speed. After last week's blown tire, the last thing I wanted was to have to call in rescue again. (In fact, I left my phone at home to take away the temptation. I've been doing that more and more lately.) I still let the downhills take me a little faster, and I still leaned ever so slightly into the uphills, but I made a concentrated effort not to increase my speed, and not to check my watch.
There was one quick stop at a water fountain to rinse off my arms, which were itching like mad right around the first mile. I attributed this to my pores opening up and sweating on top of sweat that had already dried from the night before. You see, my current show is outdoors, and though it's at night, it's still over 90 degrees out there, so we're drenched by the time we're done. When I got home last night, I was so tired that I didn't rinse off (since I was already dry by this time) and I think that was a mistake. Still, I wasn't about to let a little thing like itchy arms ruin what I was convinced was going to be a good run. After a quick rinse, I was back up to pace trying not to think about anything related to pain.
Instead, I looked around at my surroundings. I enjoyed getting passed on Town Lake Trail for once, not allowing myself to compare speeds. Dogs were running along happily with their owners in varying degrees of obedience. The sun was rising slowly, and I actually got to enjoy the beauty of it without being in direct sunlight. All of the hill climbs were tough, but I never felt burned out on any of them. The only walk break I took was to have an energy gel well after my halfway point, and by the time I'd made it back to the bridge, I couldn't believe how good I felt.
I read a little graffiti ("No Warrant, No Search"), and while I appreciated that someone was breaking the law to espouse Constitutional virtues, I feel there must be better places to do this than a lonely cement wall next to Hooters. Contemplating this, I suddenly realized that I only had two miles to go. Of course, I also realized that I was starting to get tired, and yet, I did not let myself stop. I had a five second hold at the devil light, and that was pretty much it, besides being frustrated that the police officer across the street did not pull of the guy who ran the red light with uncrated dogs in the back of his pickup (two strikes). Even at the last mile, I did not let myself check the watch, preferring instead to just be happy with whatever time I had. Miles, not minutes.
So here I am, done with all my morning requirements, and it's not even 9:00am. Happy Sunday.
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