Partial lyrics from the song, It's Now or Never, by Elvis Presley
It's now or never, come hold me tight
Kiss me my darling, be mine tonight
Tomorrow will be too late
It's now or never, my love won't wait
These lyrics, along with other random thoughts, were going through my head at various times during this morning's run. The now or neverness refers to "training" for the upcoming Buckeye Trail 50K (BT50K). Yes, "training" is in quotes for a reason. It's only three weeks away and I'd sure as heck better get moving - especially by doing 20+ mile runs, of which I've done nearly exactly zero (notwithstanding last week's 18) in the past month and a half. In a recent blog post about Critical Success Factors (CSFs), I pontificated that at least one CSF for being able to complete a 31-mile run is to be able to run at least 20-miles. Today's saga begins at 3:00 AM.
I'm awake before the 3:40 alarm. Must have had the old internal alarm at an early setting, even considering having been up late babysitting the grand-kids. I'm up drinking coffee and packing for my journey in no time at all. A CSF for long runs is providing oneself enough time to run. And for someone who does not like to be running late into the morning or worse, this means starting early.
The run has begun; I'm a few minutes into it, on the Lester Rail Trail. I am beginning to think more seriously of making this a 24-miler. 20 would be acceptable, but 24 would be that much better. And I'm on the course where it's happened in the past. It takes four six-mile loops on this trail. Sounds tedious to some, but it usually (when I'm in shape) works out for me, You can call me lots of things these days, but 'in shape' isn't one of them. Guess I will see how it goes. The moon is setting in the west, and it's very pretty.
The fireflies are making this an enchanted run. I fancy that they're blinking back at my headlamp, but it's more likely that they're just lighting up because they can. I am thoroughly enjoying myself in the dark here. I do need to be sure to save some energy for the later miles. In other words, enjoy, but not so much that I'm speeding up in an unsustainable way.
Michelle Wolff has joined me as planned. and we're beginning another 6-mile loop. We discuss our (running) plans for the day. She's considering doing two 6-milers, and I've only got three to go. I'd gotten myself some water and gel, removed the headlamp, added a hat, and doused myself with repellent. The sun isn't above the horizon yet, but there's a pretty glow to the northeast.
"What was that?" asks Michelle. We quickly turn back and retrace a few of our steps on the trail. There, crawling along, is a crayfish that Michelle had nearly stepped on. After discussing lobster dinner, I also wondered out loud if the little guy was running the entire six miles. Michelle mentioned that he may have a tough time with the couple road crossings. Not for the first, or last, time today, I swallow a small bug.
The craw-dad is still close to where we'd last seen him, but he is still on the move. The 17-Year Cicadas, asleep during my first loop, are now singing away. I also spot a few of them alongside the trail. They're a whole lot of fun.
Michelle is done. She probably ran around ten miles. I stop to talk before she drives away. I tell her how a fly bit my calf - one of the few areas that I didn't spray. I get some more gel and water before taking off for my final seven and a half.
I am back at the car once again. I could have simply run by the parking area for my final four and a half, but thought I'd better get even more gel and water. I am still not sure whether 24 is in the cards for me today. It's getting warm, and that doesn't help. At least I'm nearly to 20; I can quite soon if I want. But 24 still beckons. The fuel will help.
The fuel did indeed help; I made it the entire way. I finish up a bit slower than I started, but all in all this was a pretty good long run.
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