As both of you can see, my Saturday morning runs have become the milestones of my week.
This is because my weekdays are mostly the same (get up at 5 AM, shower n shave, dress, cook breakfast, make lunch, do the dishes/pans, go to work, work, come home, change clothes, do house chores if needed, cook dinner, watch the news while eating, do the dishes/pans, check my investments/email, goof off, read my Bible, go to sleep.
Sundays are taken up with church activities which sort of mirror the weekday schedule.
So Saturdays are special to me.
And running again is really special to me.
I love running.
I am not sure why.
The exercise is good for me, but there are other ways to exercise (which I do).
The burning of calories is good for me, but there are other ways to burn calories (which I do).
The endorphin high is fun, but one has to work pretty hard to get it (no other form of exercise gives me the same rush that running produces).
[And running six miles - about an hour - produces a stronger, longer-lasting high than running three miles - about thirty minutes.]
I suspect that it is all of the above.
Anyway, this morning I was late getting to my course - 6:08 AM.
I parked even farther away from my first location a few weeks ago.
I ran all of this part of Pratt Avenue - almost 1/4 of a mile I would guess - then up Bankhead Parkway.
I was concerned that the slight incline of Pratt would cost me some strength on the steeper Bankhead.
But I was, again, cautious and did not push my pace as I started out.
To my surprise, I did not even break into my more rapid breathing as I have before going up Bankhead.
I was expecting to have to work harder on this more extended course, but the extra distance and starting incline seemed to be easily offset by my increasing endurance.
This is a surprise to me.
I did not think that I could improve this easily/quickly after not running for over a year.
Anyway, I ran all the way up Bankhead with no major problems.
The outside of my left calf did some minor whining off and on the whole run but never threatened to shut me down.
At mid-point, as I was walking up The Hill, my glutes and hammys - especially on my left side - announced their mild displeasure with the task at hand.
This was not unexpected as I treated them to two sets of twenty lunges on Thursday.
Sometimes my body takes two days to respond to an exercise session.
Two days from Thursday would be (duh) Saturday. (!)
Running down Bankhead there were only slight mumblings from some attachment where my left hamstring attaches to my hip/glute area.
Again, nothing to stop the parade.
As I was running down Bankhead, I met three or four small groups of runners coming up.
We greeted each other as we approached/passed, as is the custom with most runners in this area.
Most of them were women and all looked very nice.
Of course, as with most groups of people, they were younger than myself - young enough to be my kids, in fact.
The good news is, by this time my endorphin rush was on the rise, so it is hard to feel bad about myself (old, skinny, alone, etc.).
When I got to the bottom of Bankhead, I continued onto Pratt, which was now a nice slight downhill grade, and I enjoyed the gravity-boosted easy run down the middle of the street - a privilege of we early runners.
Near the end of the course, I was feeling so good, I increased my speed to nearly a sprint to wring out the last of my strength.
I stopped running near my car and walked for a couple of minutes to cool down and allow my heart to come off of its peak rate.
This session had taken just over thirty minutes.
It was a good run.