Gritty's is where the merry Trail Monsters clustered yesterday for another of Scout's delightful running events, 'Til We Meet in Hell. This was my second Hell and it was wildly different than last year! Major difference: Last year there wasn't snow, and there was swordfighting with Squirrel.
This year, salient featured included everyone asking everyone else what to wear on their feet, and also, there were ducks. Ducks!
A beautiful pair of Mallards flew in, landed near me, walked over, and one started pecking at my Hoka. I am always overwhelmed with _______ when an animal chooses to come toward me. Plus groupie ducks are just simply the best kind of ducks. Scout understood that it was a good omen, and as is often the case, she was correct.
I'd had it in my mind for a while that what I really wanted to do today was run with Ann since we really haven't done enough of that sort of thing. We did 4 loops, with Chandra joining us for a bit in the middle. A treat, indeed!
We took it easy and chatted about all things while marveling at the speedy people. I liked cheering them on as they ran like mad. I hadn't run in a week and had been running around at work until after 10pm the night before... I was more interested in the holistic experience of the day than trying to go fast.
There is some pretty nasty ice outside but it's far worse up north, from what I hear from HQ. I'm here in S- with the pups curled up by the blazing fire. The new poults (Darlene, Lois, and Gertrude along with Betty from before) are all cozy in their coop. It's been chilly, dreary and drizzly, or to be more accurate, just raw and bloody uninspiring all day.
Still, after such a non-running week, (in which there were two final exams, one cold, three snowshoe excursions, double the usual days of work, and less sleep...not that we have use for excuses...!) I was stoked when Squirrel mentioned that she was thinking of doing 10 miles to Prouts Neck & back.
I hadn't run to Prouts Neck before but I knew I wanted to do it. Any run with "neck" in the name has to be good! Plus any time I think about necks, I think about George's incredible performance in the VT 100 in 2012 in which his neck was so destroyed by the finish that he could barely get his shirt off to get changed.
I hadn't run over 10 miles since Bruiser day, which was in September. On that day, I did 16 miles and then took over a month off from running. Injuries fucking suck, but one can certainly learn a lot from them - more on the second half of that, soon! Anyway, I have mentally been very ready to get my distance back for months now but it may indeed have been just as well that I didn't until now. Patience...
Prouts Neck was gray and lovely and we took it slow. It's pretty damn sweet for a road run. There are so many lovely trees out there. For some reason, many individuals really stood out at me today, leafless and shapely and reaching. Red and black berries as well were luminous against the weather, and the diverse architecture of the area was fun to critique.
A headwind pressed us on the way home, and the sharp raindrops increased in quantity. To stay warm, we theorized on the algorithm that describes the way the relationship between the morale of the runner vs. how much of the road she feels entitled to obstruct. And also soup, and woodstoves. And then, in the blink of an eye...all done. So thankful for good long runs, especially when they occur at times when they seem least likely.