A tiny cloud forms above with each breath, a big puff of moisture suspended in the air for a moment only to be blown by the breeze and replaced by the next one.
Feet moving over pavement in a rhythmic dance.
The warm-up is easy and relaxed, but I feel a little off.
Is my stride too long? My steps too loud?
I'm getting lazy already, I can feel it. I feel my glutes engage as I concentrate on how my feet are hitting the ground beneath me; how my hips align with my knees. Mindful running makes me feel zen-ish.
Ah, now that's more like it. Quick, syncopated steps. Now we can really move.
A song enters my head and orchestrates the symphony of my feet. It's the theme from The Office. How did that get in there?
A quick slosh from my gut tells me it's time to eat something. Glancing at my watch, I have 10 more minutes. Pulling out the chews, I hold them tightly in my warm, mitten-covered hand to start defrosting them.
It's cold again today. Eighteen degrees, cloudy, breezy. At least the ground is dry. My lips are numb, and we both comment on our eyelids feeling 'stuck'. But the schedule is in charge right now, and the schedule says 18 miles today.
I can feel that we're moving, fast. Faster than I recall. But it feels good. "How come you don't breath through your mouth?" he asks as we push up a hill, heading back. "Because it's too cold to. And it's my gage of effort." So far so good.
Wind picks up heading north. Another rumble of the gut, another defrosting of the chews to make them edible again. "Maybe we stop at the museum to get some water on the way back?" "Sure."
Museum is just ahead...but it means going off-route a bit. "I'm fine not stopping if you are." "Sounds good, let's get home."
The rhythm is taking better hold now. Checking my vitals I notice no fatigue, no hunger, no jelly legs, no thirst. I almost consider going further, but keep it to myself. The schedule is in charge today; the schedule says 18 :)
Can't believe how good that felt. We do our ritual high-five at the corner as we approach home. "Nice job, babe."
This time we grabbed an 8:10 pace for 18 miles.
I took two days off to relish that one, and nurse my now-tight calf :)
Today's run felt like cement running. That's what I get. But tomorrow's run will rock once again. Looking forward to it :)