I woke up after a lousy night's sleep - I'll spare the details - realizing I had to go run 15 miles if I could. I dressed, ate and packed my cooler. I had reservations. Was I still sick? My nose was running. Was I still wiped out? Sure felt like it. I went out the door anyway.
I walked to the end of the street and plopped the cooler into the bushes and started to jog on down the road. Before a mile had passed I was thinking hard about the next bathroom opportunity. Park Avenue? Three miles away. Down by the lake off Pennsylvania? Maybe they're still renovating. Renovating? There's a new house going up on Spring!! Just yards away. Let's just say that was a welcome relief.
At Lake Chelton I drew on some Gatorade set up on the curb. In the pre-dawn darkness I saw a figure jogging ahead. I followed. I was gaining on him ever so slowly. When I caught up I could sense he was running long, judging by all the supplies hanging off his waist, the soaked shirt and shorts and running cap. I, of course, was shirtless and carrying nothing but a small bag of Clif Shots in my pocket.
I asked the stranger whether he was training for a marathon and the answer was Milwaukee so the next five miles turned out to be a pleasant diversion from the usual Sunday morning events. He was going the same direction we all do but not up Park Avenue. I stuck with Ryan in lieu of my regular group since we were having such a pleasant conversation.
At the "4 mile water stop" we waited for my regular crowd who had seen us ahead of them at the junction of a 1-mile loop entrance and the next leg of the course. We all indulged in Charline's refreshment cooler and Ryan went on ahead so I could go with the pals.
Two new runners had shown up. A guy from Philly and a young lady from Boston who just moved here. If Marty didn't scare her off on the last two miles alone, then Chris and Dave will have succeeded in encouraging her to come back again next week.
For the next six miles Charline, Dave and Chris kept me company. For awhile I set a rigorous pace then fell behind them for a spell towards the end. We stopped for Zippfizz and water near my house then Gatorade and water where I'd been two hours earlier on Lake Chelton.
Back at Park Avenue I said adieu to everybody and ran the last two miles home.
I was surprised by my stamina. My cold was only a factor at the very beginning. I felt strong and fit to the end. Granted there were some live-with-it walk breaks but I couldn't complain. This turned out much better than I expected. And that's why you just have to go out and do it sometimes just to get over what had been lousy before.