Okay.... I can do this. 8 miles, here we go.
It's a beautiful morning on the trail. Thanks God, for the opportunity to be out here, even if it is a bit humid.
Oh, there's one of the cross country team runners....I bet I can catch up. Oh, but watch your pace....but you're getting closer....watch out high school runner, there's a 40 year old sneaking up! Oh, dang....another cross country team person is already coming back....ugh. (put in my place)
2 miles down....feeelin' good. I think I can hold this pace....yeah, just embrace it. 6 miles to go. You've got this. You did 7 last week.
I wonder who else is doing some distance today....like preparing to walk a marathon or some other such training. Hey God, thanks for the ability to do this. I mean really, the ability to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other. It's a gift, and I'm thankful for it.
You know what? There are people I know having surgery today...shoot, I totally meant to text them this morning. Dear God, please be with the people I know having surgery today. Be with the doctors and caregivers and guide their hands as they work this day. Be with their families as they await results. Amen.
Oh....another cross country runner....this one I can definitely pass. Easy. Steady. There you go.
Thanks God for coaches....who drive to trails, who work with youth, who inspire them to run their best.
Oh hey, Deeper Shade of Soul by Urban Dance Squad. This is the perfect song for right now....not too fast....not to slow. Keep that pace steady.
Coming up behind 3 walkers, "Coming up on your left." I think the woman in the middle has the same shoes as me. Ooooh! Shoe twins! Wait, is that what the back of my shoes look like? Will I look weird trying to look at the back of my shoes? Let me just take a peak, oh just kidding that's probably not the best thing to try while moving. Keep running.
Oh....is that Darrell R.? Looks just like him. It wouldn't surprise me to see him out on the trail.
Oh, nope it's another cross country team runner...huh, I really did think it was Darrell for a moment there. "Good morning," he says. "Good morning," I reply....wondering if he's noticed the perplexed look on my face.
Smile and wave at a woman running who seems to have a similar gait to me. She's lookin' good out there.
The watch beeps. 1/2 way! Time to turn around. You've totally got this. 4 miles, no problem...and you get to turn around just before a nice short hill. (bonus)
Gurgle. Are there stones and bubbling water in the stream? Nope. Oh, that must have been my tummy. Hm....may need to think about adding to my granola before a longer run. And when we get to the 1/2 marathon race start, I'll need to go to the bathroom just before we start running.
Coming around behind that woman who I ran by a little bit earlier. Yes our paces are a little different....but we could probably do distance together. Do you ask someone like that a question while running? Hey, want to be running buddies? What pace do you usually run? Looking for company? (None of these seem to be just right.) I'll put some more thought into this at a later date. And nothing was said because I didn't want to seem creepy.
On the return trip, the watch just beeped. 3 miles to go. Just under a 5K. No worries. Still feeling good. Oh, it's the walkers. And now I'm pretty sure that woman has the same shoes as me....yes they're Saucony in the same color pattern. As I pass I say, "I like your shoes." The man says, thanks. I wanted to say, no I meant the shoes that match mine...but I've passed them at this point....and turning back to clarify the point I was trying to make seems pretty silly.
Gurgle...again? Hm....so thankful that I have a banana AND chocolate milk in the truck. I think I may be hungry...hey, it's Teri's birthday today. Oh...and we're having BBQ for dinner. I will be ready to enjoy some barnyard fries and brisket and ribs and pulled pork and ..... I am hungry.
Beep. "2 miles," I say - out loud. Only to be almost immediately passed by another cross country runner. Yup, that's me...talking to myself....out loud on the trail. Go me.
Coming down to the last few miles. Pace is still good. You can keep it at 8:30 to finish this run. You know this pace. You feel comfortable at this pace. And bonus, Don't Stop Me Now by Queen just came on. A little slow at the beginning....but here we go! Just pretend you're in the Winchester, fighting Zombies with Shaun, Liz and Ed. Oh...and I love that scene in The World's End when Andy starts fighting like the Hulk with bar stool hands. I need to watch that movie again....
Beep. One mile to go. Here we go. Passing two more cross country folks....I tell them they look good this morning. One returns a similar comment. It's good to run with other folks. I wonder how Conrad Weiser will do against Tulpy in cross country this year. I've gotten a slight glimpse of their team. Can't wait to see CW runners in meets this season. Oh, it would've been great to pass by some of those youth today. That would have made my day! Hope folks like Nick & Makayla and the other runners are doing well, wherever they are running today.
.40 to go. Okay, stay steady. Don't look at the watch until the next leaning tree.
.30 oops....looked before the tree.
Don't look at the watch. Stay steady. One foot in front of the other. Try to push....there is no extra oomph in me...I can hold this pace, but there is no extra sprint. That's good, right? That means I pushed hard the whole way.
.08 This is it. Strong finish.
Beepity beep beep. Deep breath in, deep breath out. Look at the watch. The eyes begin to water because I'm so pleased with my time. Deep breath.
Slow jog back to the truck with a prayer of thanks for a great run.