What is a Gump run, you might be asking? In our running group's case, it's a run modeled after Forrest Gump, who just started running one day because he felt like it. He didn't have a plan or a distance in mind - he just ran. After all of our training for Houston, we were ready for a break from our usual running routes, and since a new road just off of our main running street had recently been completed but was not yet open to traffic, we decided to incorporate it into our run on Saturday.
Our group was a little smaller than usual - Cary, Karen, Jeff, and Brian set off one direction, aiming for 5 miles, while Diane and I set off in another direction, aiming for 4 miles. She and I ran a little jig jag in the neighborhood before setting out for the new road, and we arrived at it with 1.25 miles on our Garmins. We had no idea how far we'd get to run on the new road - I thought it must intersect at some point with the shortcut road we take through the fancy neighborhood, but how soon that would happen was undetermined. No worries, we were on our Gump run!
To set the scene, it was still very dark, and while we could see streetlights lining the new road, they weren't lit. It was also a damp, misty morning, and it was super quiet - there aren't any houses built near the road yet, so it felt a little scary - as Diane kept saying, she wouldn't run this alone, and neither would I. But we had safety in numbers, plus there was nothing for the boogeyman to be hiding behind; I wasn't that worried. The road was level and smooth - we ran right down the middle of it, which was pretty freeing. It was also really nice to just run without dealing with any traffic. I'm glad we got to take advantage of this while we could...all too soon, the traffic signal will be installed, our private running area will be open to motor vehicles, and we'll be relegated to the sidewalk.
The road hit a T and we made a turn - one way was a dead end, so it was an easy decision as to which way to go. We ran down the curve a little way and then saw another road on the right, so we turned down it to see where we'd end up. Again, there were no houses around, just lots of land, trees, and some low shrubbery. Now, this part felt a little creepier than the other road, but still, there was nothing around us. Then Diane said "aren't you worried that there might be wild pigs out here?" - my reply? "well, I wasn't!" Honestly, I forget that feral pigs are a possibility...I was thinking more along the lines that we might come across some of our deer friends who we see in the area on a regular basis. Deer, I can take. Pigs? They scare me. We ran faster, needless to say.
We came to a dead end on that road and had to turn around and run past the imaginary wild pigs again. We hit the new road and turned right, running toward the light...er, lights...of the country club and multi-million dollar houses. Sure enough, we did end up at the shortcut road, but it was funny - we were a little disoriented as to where exactly we were on that road, so we paused our Garmins for a moment while we stood there and got ourselves situated. It's interesting how a somewhat familiar area can look so unfamiliar when viewed from a different direction. Once we were ready to run again, I remembered to not only restart my Garmin (that is a major victory as I'm always forgetting to do that if I pause it) but I also noted the mileage: we'd run just over a mile on the new road, and what an exhilarating mile it was! I am looking forward to running on that road again. By the time we made it back to the clubhouse, we'd hit 4 miles - perfect!
After the run, we headed over to Blue Baker, where our baker friend gave us two loaves of fresh-from-the-oven ciabatta bread:
One loaf - the other was being sliced up as I took this picture.
We had butter for the ciabatta and it was heavenly. Later on, he also presented us with a plate of brownie ends, but we decimated it too quickly for me to get a picture. Our appetites had all returned after the half marathon the week before; turns out none of us were able to eat much after the race, but we were ready for some treats on Saturday!
I'm dealing with some toe pain/toenail issues leftover from the half marathon - I ended up with a blister under the nail bed of the toe next to my big toe, which is really painful, in case you were wondering. The same toe on the other foot was hurting a lot while I was running on Saturday, but I can't see a blister there. Epsom salt foot baths are helping, however I suspect it's just going to have to play out over time. I can still run, but I'm glad that the longest I need to run over the next couple of weeks is 6 miles - my poor toes need some time to recover from what I've put them through!