I've been doing my mid-week runs in the evenings. On Tuesday, I didn't get out until after dark. It was a little breezy, and the wind picked up the leaves that were kicked up by my stride and swirled them around, filling the night air with the papery sound of autumn. For the second time, I spotted deer on the Gladstone path. This time they huddled in a dark spot near a bush, with only the tops of their heads sillhouetted against the glow of a street lamp. At first I thought they might be big loose dogs.
Coming home after a run like that, on a chilly night, is so satisfying. The house is warm and warmly lit, and Allie's filled it with the scent of spicy soup.
Yesterday, I got out a little earlier, before the sun went down, and got a fair distance up Cliff Drive before turning around. We're amidst a fabulous autumn here in KC, bright colors everywhere, and it was warm enough yesterday to go in shorts and short sleeves.
I picked up the pace a bit as I moved along. In my mind I was running much faster than I actually was. I imagined moving along at a 7:30 clip, knocking out the final miles of a marathon with strength and determination. I was mere minutes away from qualifying for the Boston Marathon, bolstered by the confident assurance of a the sports medicine doctor I'd visited a couple days earlier, who told me, without a second of hesitation, that he saw no reason why I couldn't qualify for Boston.
When I look at it objectively, it seems a real stretch. I'm running a good three minutes per mile slower than I would need to to qualify. And that's for 26.2 miles, a distance I haven't even hit yet. It's hard to fathom.
On the other hand, it's not. On a cool autumn day, when I have a beautiful road like Cliff Drive all to myself, and I'm deep in the throws of a runner's high, it feels totally possible. It feels like it's actually happening. Like I'm already there.