The saying goes, "if you play, you pay".
And it is true.
I feel "weak", sort of tired, stiff, and .... happy.
The happiness is drug-induced from the big shot of endorphins this morning.
All the other stuff is run-induced physical issues.
I did the six mile course again today.
It was cold - 48 degrees or so - so I had to fiddle with layers and whatnot.
I hate cold weather.
But I chose my layers carefully and they proved to be exactly appropriate to the task at hand.
The cold air was calm, so the wind chill was minimal.
As usual for this distance, I was scared and cautious.
I know I am pushing my limits.
I started out slowly, carefully, intent on getting all participants warmed up and happy for the extended journey.
And ten minutes into the party, I was daydreaming and enjoying the familiar scenery.
I felt a bit tired, for reasons I do not know.
And for this reason, my breathing - which is the element I use to pace myself - wanted to go from my comfortable rate of Level 2 to more intense Level 3, on each of the steeper portions of the course in the first three miles.
But it always settled back down.
I did not have to strain to keep my pace.
I walked The Hill at mile three, as planned.
The sky was clear and a million shades of blue as I topped The Hill at 5:50 AM or so, and bopped to the high point of the course a quarter mile away.
Then it was all down hill (well, mostly).
I crossed California Street and did not have to dodge a firetruck as I did last week.
In fact, there was very little traffic today.
This, on top of there being very little traffic at this time of day in downtown Huntsville.
Although I did not feel strong, all participants in the effort seemed reasonably happy to be part of the team.
The connective elements around my left knee, that began whining halfway through mile six last week, seemed to be content with the platter presented to them today.
As I approached the finish line (actually it is a three-inch dash of paint next to the curb with "5k" next to it), I wondered if I would have any Wheaties left to give for a final effort.
Consciously, I thought, "maybe not today".
But then I felt my tired self digging in and going marginally faster.
And for the last 100 yards or so, another Ledecky finish was in progress.
I still do not know where that comes from, but it is in me somewhere.
I was disappointed in myself that I let up my pace one full step before I passed the finish mark.
That was lazy.
And I am sure I could have given one more max step to the cause.
But, it was another wonderful experience.
Another privilege to do at my age.
The proof of the rarity of this event?
I was alone the entire way.
No one else, of any age, was out running on this course, at this time of day.