I may have bitten off more than I could chew, once again. As I started out on my long run this morning, I thought I would do a 20 miler - 10 miles out and back. I started down a road I haven't run in a while, even though it's a mostly uphill route, at least on the way out. On the way back, I get to enjoy the downhill. The weather was absolutely perfect. A little bit chilly, but not too cold. The sun was shining and it was beautiful. As soon as I started to run, I knew it was going to be a challenge for me to go that far, but I just didn't want to waste the perfect day. My legs - calves and glutes - were sore and achy from the start, never having fully recovered from my hard workouts earlier in the week. After about 4 miles of trying to keep my typical long run pace of around 10-11 min./mile, I realized it was unlikely I could maintain that for long. So I just resigned myself to the run, slowed my pace, took walking breaks every 5 minutes, and snapped lots of photos along the way to really soak in my surroundings.
At some point when I knew I was getting close to the 10 mile mark, but not quite there yet, I saw a very large, black dog darting across and alongside the street ahead of me about 1/4 mile. Since I was out on a rural, secluded country road without my pepper spray, I decided it would be wise to just turn around before the dog noticed me. Anyone else read the article in this month's Runner's World about the dog attack? (Shiver). Anyway, I turned around and started the return trip. I can't say I wasn't kind of glad to have an excuse to do so a little sooner than I had originally planned. My legs were feeling extremely fatigued. By then it was warm enough that I was able to take off my jacket and just absorb the sun's rays. I tried to focus on that and on the fact that I am just grateful that I can run. There was also a bike race going on apparently and I suddenly found myself going head-on into bicycle traffic. I said "Good morning!" to every passing cyclist and enjoyed myself all the way ~ 17.5 miles.