Two years ago I wrote about running 8 miles before work for the first time. This morning I found myself back at it, having reached the point in my schedule where my midweek runs begin creeping up in duration. I wasn't especially thrilled about the prospect of dragging myself away from my comfy bed and cuddly cats at 5:30 am, but the shit must get done! I even went to bed at 10:00 pm to ensure I was rested.
We are far enough removed from the summer solstice that leaving the house before 6:00 am means the streets are dimly lit and more than likely the streetlights are still on. Soon enough I will have to start wearing my safety vest (and let's not even get into the coming cold weather and all the equipment required to survive it) . This morning, though, I stepped out into the cool blue predawn light unencumbered and ready to run.
Things rolled along smoothly and before I knew it I was already half done. The sun was just beginning to peek above the horizon and the clouds were glowing pink and orange. Shortly after mile 6 I was forced to make a pit stop at one of my emergency port-a-potties (the one at the high school athletic fields). I took the opportunity to walk through the dew-saturated grass. There was a blanket of mist draped over the untended meadow beyond the edge of the field and somewhere beyond the trees I heard a sandhill crane send its rattling call into the quiet air. A small flock of herring gulls shuffled through the wet grass away from me (making me long to be on vacation again, where those gulls are ubiquitous). It was a lovely, perfect morning for a run.
In two weeks my Tuesday run goes up to 9 miles, and two weeks after that to 10. I am steeling myself for getting up even earlier, but the alternative-- running after work-- is even more unpleasant. This summer has not been kind (unlike last year). It has been hot and humid consistently, and the temperatures in the afternoons have been dangerous and brutal. I have abandoned my Thursday evening running group until cooler temperatures prevail. Given the choice between running at 6:00 am when the sun is not up and it is a tolerable 60 degrees or running at 6:00 pm under blazing sun and a broiling 85 degrees...Yeah. Not much to debate there. After a couple of blissful nights of sleeping with the windows open and leaving the air conditioning off during the day, tomorrow it's going to be 90 degrees again.
I'll be running my five miles at 5:45 am, thankyouverymuch.
In other news, last week I was moping heavily because I was not on vacation any more. Luckily, something happened on Friday which was the perfect way to shake me out of my funk:
The Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival! I hit the festival around 6:30 pm just as a tremendous thunderstorm crashed down upon us. It cleared up eventually and my sweetie and I spent the next two hours cruising the festival and sampling a few of Michigan's finest microbrews. My favorites of the day were Old Hat Brewery Peanut Butter Stout (the only beer I had twice) and Arbor Brewing Company's Buzzsaw Massacre multiple-dry-hopped IPA. Good Lord, that was delicious. (Other notables: Corner Brewery Demetrius Barrel Aged Sour Double IPA, Right Brain Ancho Chile Chocolate Porter, and a bourbon barrel aged stout I can't remember the name of.) After 15 3- to 4-ounce samples everything started to blur together. The festival was closing down for the evening by then so we went and ate a huge amount of sushi for dinner. Amazingly I was up at 5:15 am Saturday morning as planned for my 10-mile run with the Redhead in East Lansing. After a post-run breakfast of fried egg on toast prepared by Spike, I returned home refreshed and recharged. As if the previous evening's beerstravaganza hadn't been enough, my sweetie and I hit Original Gravity Brewing in Milan for lunch and more brews.