Yesterday, my training plan called for me to run 14k. I gamely sorted out a route via Gmaps on Saturday afternoon and then watched the weather before deciding to set the alarm for 6am (have I mentioned that Sunday is my weekend day to sleep in?), to get up and out and back before the real humidity and hot weather hit (I had run on Saturday afternoon in +37C sun and had absolutely NO intentions of repeating that kind of run, especially for a LSD).
This was to be the longest distance I have ever run alone. Yes, I did race the Bread & Honey 15k road race alone, but it was a race; you're never alone during a race. I actually didn't think too much about it before the run other then calculate that it should take me no more then about 1 hour 40 minutes or so if I kept the pace easy. To be honest, I was more worried about being over-heated than being lonely.
Turns out I had no reason to worry on either account. I got out the door at 0635 and was off. I made a point of looking a the digital temperature display I pass during long runs and it said +22C. I was very happy to read that even though I was sweating buckets and it was only 2k in. It was pretty humid out, but I had come prepared with an extra 500mL of water that I carried in my hand (my hand-held is only 10oz). I didn't find carrying a water bottle too bad and I loved the idea that I could finish it by 7k.
It was around 7 or 8k that the weather changed. The sun went behind the clouds and the sky turned dark enough that I was able to take off my sunglasses. There was a breeze. A COOL breeze. It was like heaven after days of breezes that blew at you like the ones that come from the depths of your oven after you open it when the broiler has been in use. I was running along a new street for me; an old part of town. The houses were post-WWII bungalows with carports and mature trees. It was nice to zone out and enjoy the breeze, the quaint houses where the monotony was only broken by the different hostas planted in front gardens.
Before I knew it, I was close to 10k in and I decided to take a GU, least my legs give out on me in the final push. By this time, I was headed to Main Street (Milton, ON) and was able to put the empty water bottle in the garbage and run on hands free. Running up Main Street to the new end of my town was awesome. I didn't see one single soul. It was too early for church and coffee and too late for late-night barfly's. I loved the feeling of being alone. I can't accurately explain how great I felt to just run on, knowing that the run would soon come to an end.
As I headed up the final hill to the subdivision that would lead me across the major road and into my own subdivision, I passed a women who I had passed very early in my run. I took a few seconds to ask how far she was running, "I dunno... maybe 15?"
"I'm going 14" I said, "Have a good one!" And with a wave and a nod, we each ran on (me going west, her going east) happy to have shared the camaraderie of a long Sunday run and glad to be left alone with our thoughts again.
Distance: 14.5k, Time: 1:35:59, Pace: 6:37/km on average