The Wolf Moon made its appearance last night (A “wolf moon” is when the moon is at its closest point to the Earth. This happens once a year.) It was big, beautiful, spectacular… it gave me temporary amnesia.
I drove to the trailhead watching the sky. The Wolf Moon was setting over the Rocky Mountains, and it was utterly gorgeous. I was looking for a place to pull over and snap a picture when I saw that someone else had the same idea. After I turned off the main road I found a perfect place to stop and record this shot:
I arrived at the trailhead ready to run, but instead had a dream-moment, the kind where you show up to work without your pants. I was (luckily) wearing my pants, but was still wearing my fuzzy Merrell clogs, the shoes I put on when I retrieved the newspaper.
After a sixty second debate with myself over what to do, I hopped back in the car and went home for my shoes. The morning was just too perfect to let a little snafu like forgetting my running shoes ruin what could honestly be a fabulous run.
Twenty minutes later I was back in the parking lot. This was going to be a tempo run for sure. I had half a chance of catching the last people in the group if I got moving. But, I had to stop and take a picture of the sunrise. You know, priorities.
The run is approximately 6.6 miles long. Divided into two, that’s 3.3 miles each way. After the first 1.5 mile I still hadn’t seen anyone. I was running at a good 8:23 pace on a very slight uphill for the first mile, and sped up just a hair for the second mile, clocking an 8:20. At mile two I saw Amy and Marcia running back towards me; Amy looked like she was having some asthma difficulties; she only nodded to me when Marcia said they turned around early.
About five minutes later I ran into Kathy, her neighbor Wendy, and Kris. They were walking due to a week-old knee injury, and had turned around at 40 minutes. I was holding steady at my 8:20 as well, and ran into Sarah and the two Beth’s. We stopped to chat for a minute before going separate ways, but I picked up a few friends; the Beth’s decided to run with me back to the turn-around.
We ran a little further before I had to stop and take another picture. The sun was up and shining on the frost of the bridge, giving off sparkly, incandescent light that was absolutely radiant in the clear blue of the morning.
We held steady at a 8:20 pace for the fourth mile. During this mile we reached the turn-around and started back. Now that we were on the downhill side of the run, we started to pick up the pace a tad.
By mile 5 we were cruising along at 7:45. My legs and glutes were warm, blood was flowing to all extremities, and I didn’t feel the heaviness of below-freezing air rushing by.
Mile six was a little slower as we came down the north side of Bobolink Trail. We held steady at 7:58/mile, and then did a big push once we were half a mile out. Beth C. was a little behind us at this point, but still holding on. Beth LT and I let our legs run, and we cruised to the parking lot at a 6:52 pace.
All told, I paced at an 8:04 average, which is, coincidentally, the average pace of my first half-marathon! The 53 minute run was an excellent start to my day. I bade a quick adieu to the Beth’s and hit the road, ready to see what surprises were in store.