There is a magical place in Virginia, called Lake Anna. A couple friends of mine own a house on said lake and a third friend invited me to join her down there this weekend. It was a gorgeous, relaxing visit that involved much floating and boating and eating and, for me, running. One thing it didn't include was blogging. Sorry 'bout that, faithful readers.
I was scheduled for a 16-mile long run while away. It would have been easy enough to stay up late, enjoy the company of people I see little enough of as it is, and skip or shorten the run Sunday morning. Instead, I went to bed at 9:30, while everyone else was still enjoying themselves around the bug candles, woke up at 5:30 a.m., and pounded out 15.75 hilly miles.
Considering how horrible my last attempt at 16 miles was (75 degrees at 5:30 a.m., high humidity, no water after mile 10, fantasies about stealing bikes from passing cyclists, near delirium), this run was perfect. The cool breeze made the weather feel almost autumnal.
I started around 5:50 a.m. There wasn't a great loop, so I did a 10k out and back, stopped for more water, then finished up with a 10 mile meander. The majority of my miles were uneventful but I did have a near run-in with a skunk making his way home. I smelled that familiar scent around mile 2. When I looked up, there sat a little black and white creature, on the far side of the road, propped up on this back feet with his tail straight up in the air, just watching. If I were dumber, I might have stopped to take a photo. As it was, even at 6 a.m., I had the presence of mind to carry on down the road.
Trying to add some variety into my run around mile 10 and avoid a giant hill, I moseyed down a side road called Hickory Cut Lane. Turns out, that was a surefire way to find more, smaller but steeper hills. Even at mile 12, I was still able to chug slowly up them without stopping to walk.
When I had about a mile left, I saw my friend's car coming toward me. I'd passed my anticipated arrival time and she was coming to make sure I was alright. What a good egg. Hopping in that car would have been so simple but I knew I'd be disappointed in myself if I did it, so I told her it would be another 15 minutes. She turned around and I kept going.
As I passed the house finishing my final stretch, several people shouted for me. I shouted back, "I'm not done yet!" continued to the end of the road, where I turned around and finished my last tenth of a mile for the day. There were many congratulations and impressed exclamations that I did it. I was grateful for the accountability; I don't know if I would have finished 15.75 miles if I hadn't told eight people I would.
Then they made me cook them breakfast.
(Just kidding! I volunteered to make breakfast - banana bread French toast with peanut butter and homemade whipped cream - and they even waited for me to have a shower and a little sit-down before I made it.)