Great. Drizzle. Perfect.
The air nipped at my ears and I ran upstairs to get a jacket. Fall, quite frankly, has been a bitch this year. Saturday I ran 10 miles, a tune-up, in snow, and it was 13 degrees at the start of our day. Even today I wore what I call full combat winter gear, with running tights, a hat, fleece gloves, a long-sleeved tech-shirt and the jacket. I usually don't have to break that stuff out until the middle of November.
I put on my iPod, took out the trash and, as soon as the last bag hit the curb, I was off. I didn't want any second thoughts of running that stupid, boring treadmill entering my brain again.
My cadence was choppy, like ocean waters, but it quickly smoothed out as I approached a half-mile. I usually kick into another gear here, but I was pleasantly surprised at how effortless it was to do today. I don't think I'm feeling any effects from the half marathon more than a week ago. My hamstring didn't hurt at all. Good news.
The run goes well. I continue to float along, hovering around an 8:10-per-mile pace, which is the goal today, until I turn into the wind. Ouch. My face starts to go numb, my breath escapes me after a long hill, and I began to feel the moisture soaking my jacket.
I live for these moments. They test me. You don't need any will power to run when times are good, when you're warm and the wind in your lungs and legs that are free of pain. But when you're faced with the opposite of all that, it's hard to convince yourself to keep going. I do, though, because I know things always get better. Put your head down, work through the shit, and the bad times pass and usually you'll forget they were even that bad in the first place.
They do pass as I head for the homestretch. My face won't be warm until I go into the house, but I get my breath back and my rhythm returns, and that's enough.
I cross the finish - a fire hydrant - and walk into the house. My pace was dead on. My body feels good.
The Denver Half Marathon is this weekend. It'll be the second one I run this Fall. And I'm ready.