So it was a miracle - we had 8 miles on tap for Saturday, and we actually ran all 8 miles for a change! Maybe it was the nicer weather, maybe it was needing to stomp out some election frustration, or maybe it was the Boom Boom Jiggy-Jag inspiration, but whatever the factor, we all had a good run.
It was 55 degrees (but 98% humidity, which made it feel warmer than it was) when we started running - Diane and I did our standard 2:45 intervals. While we run straight through when we run together during the week, we do intervals for higher mileage runs. This works pretty well for us, especially during some of the tougher parts of our route - just knowing that I only have to run for two minutes helps to keep me going when I otherwise might take an extended walking break at some spots.
Case in point: we had to run up a hill for a quarter mile, and then we turned and ran another half mile that has a subtle, yet brutal climbing grade. I don't mind the first hill so much, and as it turned out, our interval had us run the entire thing, but man oh man, the second part is hard! So getting a little 45 second walking break a few times during that half mile is huge; we both hate that section, but once we're past it, the rest of the run doesn't seem as bad.
The only strange thing about this run was that it took forever - about four miles - to finally feel like I was in the groove with running...and then, around mile 5.5, I really felt great. I didn't think I had a good explanation for the surge until I remembered it was around that point when we saw a young deer run across the street just ahead of us, followed by a bigger deer who did a spectacular leap over a huge clump of bushes; maybe seeing that helped energize me to pick up the pace. I finished the last few miles with negative splits, with mile 8 being the fastest of all, which was very unusual for me. Plus, I was just so happy to actually have run what we set out to do that I wasn't paying attention to anything except for distance on my Garmin; so seeing my splits later on was a pleasant surprise.
After we all finished running, we sat outside in the sun for quite a while - it felt so nice to cool down and warm up at the same time. Most of us had a pickle pop (Jeff and Diane can't take the sourness of them), and then we headed off to Blue Baker, where the cinnamon rolls looked especially good:
Split the cinnamon roll with Jeff; ate the entire cranberry-walnut muffin myself.
Between spending a little extra time in the sun beforehand, and enjoying the company at Blue Baker, we didn't end up back home until noon! That is my kind of Saturday...wake up super early, go for a run, and then spend the rest of the morning with people I like, along with lots of hot coffee and yummy baked goods.