This was my first run of 4.45 miles in three weeks.
This being the case I expected the session to be a bit hard.
But not too bad.
It was about 72 at 5:53 AM and very humid (+90%?) with a sparse drizzle drifting from the low, gray clouds.
This made breathing less efficient.
Sometime in the first quarter mile the rain stopped.
It was nearly imperceptible in the humid air.
I flirted with accelerated breathing at the top of Hill One but it was not really needed.
Actually, for this entire session I seemed to be on the edge of my cardio comfort zone.
Half-way up Hill Two the level three breathing kicked in and I had to work harder for the rest of the hill and for several minutes afterward.
Eventually things settled down again, but I felt certain that the last half-mile or so of this session was going to be a challenge.
And so it was.
I cruised through mile two and three, daydreaming and looking at the clouds.
But early into mile four I began to feel tired and wanting more air than my normal running breathing rate could supply.
Enter: accelerated breathing.
For the rest of the ride.
I even heard the voice of the wimp in me suggesting that we stop and walk for a while.
Running Central issued a gag order and all further requests from The Wimp were ignored.
My whole body was whining by the time I approached the finish line/crack.
But by then, my attitude was, "we have come this far this way (running), we will continue to the official end point this way."
Sunday was a warm, humid morning with a misty, hazy, foggy yuck hanging in the air.
And the neighborhood was dead.
No people (except for the two boys talking on their bikes in the yard of one of them (I assume).
Even the usual dogs were sleeping in today.
The party started at 5:25 AM and ended at 6:15.
Nominal for this type of session (three miles).
Somewhere in mile two, my left knee started whining.
It was told to shut up and keep walking and, as is so often the case, it did.
And it healed itself, again, as is so often the case.
It was nearly dark (still) when I went out (the shorter days a harbinger of the evil Winter to come), and almost light when I returned.
The almost light of the sun shining behind a layer of clouds was similar to a lighted lamp on the far side of a bedsheet.
Lighter than dark but not sunny.
It is "nice" to get out and walk in the early morning.
I enjoy it, but it is not the same as a run.
Walking does not have the endorphin/adrenaline rush that running produces.
This is strictly a calorie burning session.
Low-level, at that.
Even though I walk as fast as I can (or nearly so), it does not feel like much of a challenge to my system, and, in fact, it may not be, because my body is used to running.
I know that my heart and breathing rates are slightly elevated when I walk, like the books say they should be to do any good.
But sometimes I wonder.
It would help if my course had more hills.
And if I wanted to burn a little more gas - along with some more calories - I could drive over to Bankhead Parkway and take on the hill there.
Two hundred or so feet in three-quarters of a mile.
That will cook my little butt.
(Campmeeting pictures coming soon)