Yesterday, I walked out of the office at 4:30pm and was officially on vacation. Ten days off!
Looming big between the official start of vacation and the psychological start was my 28k run. Scheduled for Friday morning at 6am, I felt like, once I got that done, I was really on vacation.
We're losing a little bit of sunlight every day so, when I stepped outside at 5:45am, it was still pretty dark. The sky hadn't even started turning the lovely blue shade it turns just before the sun rises. I headed out in the dark with only my music to keep me company. I had a 28k route all mapped out that would take me out of the city and on to the country roads.
It was cool with a slight breeze. That was my first clue that this was going to be a good run.
The second clue came at 6k when a deer ran out in front of me and stopped to stare. Apparently they don't see too many runners in these parts. A second deer joined the first and together they turned and bounded into the woods.
That's when I broke into a broad grin and waved goodbye to them.
I love this! I love running as the sun is coming up and the fields are hidden in fog. I ran up Effingham and waved to the horses. A pony came to check me out and his mother neighed in greeting. I turned down Wessel and spotted two more deer through the mist. They lifted their heads and silently watched me run by. I grinned again.
A white car pulled up and Doug hopped out with water and a smile. I smiled back and went on about how much I loved running in the morning. He hung out for a bit but had to head home to get ready to leave at 9am. That left me alone for the last 12k.
I carried on and watched the sun rise above the trees.
The last 8k were going to be rough because the sun was now up, the fog was gone and the heat was rising. I ran over the bridge at the bottom of the Gregory Road hill and a heron flew beneath the bridge and right up beside me. Herons remind me of Grandpa and one always seems to appear when I need something. Thanks Grandpa! Armed with that and a little Irish tune playing in my ear, I had all the motivation I needed to bound to the top of the hill.
Seven kilometres left to go. I found the stash of OJ and water that Doug left for me and topped up. At 5k, I ran into my friend Roseanne who was out for her run so we ran a few kilometres together before we headed our separate ways.
As I approached the two kilometre mark, I was fading. That's when Doug, Dan and Tina drove by on their way to Horseshoe Valley. Lots of honking, waving and shouting gave me that last boost I needed to keep moving towards home.
I turned on to my street with one kilometre to go and I spotted a runner about halfway down the road. I rarely pass people - ever. Never mind at 27.5k. But I kept running and I kept gaining and, with 300m to go, I passed him!
What a wonderful morning.
My vacation started three hours earlier than I expected it to.