Last summer, four of us ran together pretty often. Similar paces, similar distance goals, similar colorful vocabulary. But by the end of summer things had gone awry, injury-wise, with all of us. We hobbled through the Zilker Relays, and some combination of us met up at several races during the fall, but we hadn’t really run together in a long time. But this morning, the stars aligned for us to run together.
Rogue was hosting a picnic at the park (pancakes after your run!) so three of us met at 6:00am. That may sound ridiculously early (ok, it is), but we were not the first ones out there–a bunch of people had left at 5:30. You know it’s summer in Texas when running groups start before the sun comes up.
The route had a couple of options (and was different from what we’d seen earlier in the week) so we headed east on the trail not sure which way we’d go. The other two wanted to run eight miles, and at first I thought I could manage that. But when we reached three miles, we changed things up. The trail crossed an intersection there, then continued another .75 or so. The route followed the trail, then looped up into the neighborhood and back to the intersection. Our fourth friend was meeting us at this point to run back with us, but we were running late and didn’t have time to make the full loop and be back here to meet her. Do we text her that we’re late, do we turn back early, or what? In the end, we decided the other two would keep going around the loop. But because I was a little nervous about jumping from a long run of six to eight miles, I decided I’d go up the loop backwards for half a mile or so, meet up with her, and then all four of us would reconvene at the intersection for the return trip. That would give them their planned eight miles but would keep me at seven so I didn’t increase mileage too quickly.
By the time I got back to the intersection, A had just arrived as well. After about 15 minutes, the others came down the hill and we all headed back to the park. It’s uphill most of the way back, and the other two had run ahead a bit, so it was definitely nice to have the company. At one point A said to me, “Wait, we’re at the dam already?” Time had gone much faster while we chatted!
My pace over seven miles was no faster than I’ve been running on Saturdays, but I felt less miserable. I’d done a challenging Fitness Blender video yesterday morning (although I modified some of it, knowing I planned a long run this morning) and was kind of worried that would come back to bite me. Yeah, my quads were a little sore, but I didn’t have any real trouble running the whole seven miles. I feel like I’m getting stronger, but I can also attribute it to the four of us running together again.
My stomach growled as we ran the last half-mile, and as we got closer I could smell the pancakes and bacon. I usually don’t feel too hungry after a long run, but today I was starving.
Pancakes and bacon cooked on a griddle; another table held fruit and Nuun-flavored mimosas. This was a good day to be hungry after my run! Someone asked what made the pancakes taste so amazing, and the answer was “bacon grease.” Note to self…
I didn’t win any raffle prizes but I scored a free shirt from the New Balance people who were doing shoe wear-testing. I caught up with a few people I hadn’t seen in a few weeks, but after a while my muscles protested standing around, so I said goodbye to my friends and headed home.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.