I ran for about a mile without seeing anyone, and then the first person I saw was not someone from our running club, but a man walking with a sweatshirt on, and the hood pulled over his face. I swear, what is it with men in hoodies, the dark, and me?? Two weeks in a row now! This was a different man, and it was cold enough to need a sweatshirt this time, but I still ran pretty fast to pass him and then kept running for a while to get some distance between us. I finally saw our runners coming back from the turn-around point; this was nice because I felt less alone. I hit the turn-around at 4.5 miles and headed back. I felt fine while I was running, but as I went on, I had to work on my mental game. Near mile 6, I was supposed to turn into the fancy neighborhood, and I didn't want to...but I did. Once there, I was supposed to run the entire perimeter, but there was a shortcut that I was approaching, and I seriously considered taking it...but I didn't. I'm telling you, these were big mental obstacles that I had to work on - my legs felt fine (and I kept having to remind myself of that), but I really wanted to get back to my group.
I kept running - I think because I wanted to get finished, I was running a little faster than I normally do on a long run. It was also much cooler - 46 degrees when we started, so that probably contributed to my increased speed. I felt pretty good, although my legs started feeling a little dead toward the end. Probably shouldn't have fueled the day before with so much Halloween candy, but what can I say - the Kit Kat bars were calling me!
I came around a bend and saw Jeff walking toward me, which didn't surprise me - he knows I don't like to run alone, so I figured he'd show up at some point once he finished his run. Just part of being married for 30 years - one partner does something like that, and the other partner knows it's going to happen. Anyway, we connected just as I hit mile 8, and he ran in the last mile with me. As it turns out, I ran this 9 miler about eight minutes faster than the last time I ran 9 miles - could have been the cooler weather, could have been a bit fear-based - who knows why, really? I will say that my quads were definitely sore the next day, which was a different feeling for me; I've felt really good after most of my long runs this season, so I guess I was putting out more of an effort with this one.
I have to tell you about one cool thing that I saw on the run: it was still very dark, but clear - I was looking at the stars and picking out the Big Dipper, and Orion's Belt, and then I saw a big orange star that was slowly moving across the sky - it had a greenish tint and was like nothing I've seen before. When I finished my run and got back to my peeps, it turns out that most of us saw it...consensus was that is was either a shooting star or possibly a comet? This was a sweet bonus to being awake, outdoors, and aware of the predawn sky.