It happened around mile six.
That moment, and it doesn't happen every time, where you feel yourself drop into the rhythm. I haven't had a run like that in a long time. Of course, I haven't had ANY run that long since my last marathon, so that might have something to do with it, too.
But I felt that old, familiar feeling. I left the house planning on an 8-mile run, and between debating starting the same way I have the last few times and finishing the same way, I simply decided to do something completely different. I decided to run nine miles. Technically, the course is easier. The downs are sharper and the ups are smoother, but it was a much longer run than I've done, and almost as many miles as I've done each of the last two months.
It felt incredible. Yes, it was very hard. I was exhausted around mile five, but at six, something happened. I felt the movement on the deepest level. I dropped to the instinctual/finely tuned form that I've been working on.
And I ran an overall pace that was faster than any of the 3-milers I did this week.
Cautiously optimistic, today was a great run.