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Saturday, September 15, 2012

17.5 miles, just for the fun of it. :)

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.

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