It was like I'd stepped back in time.
In the midafternoon, I popped up from a nap, threw on my running clothes before I had the coherence to overthink my decision, and headed out for two laps around my neighborhood —
— or, I should say, my parents' neighborhood. The site of my preadulthood home, the one where I lived from age 20 to almost-26, with the exception of two semesters of college and six months' worth of an ill-advised apartment in a nearby little city.
Anyway, I headed out too briskly, carried away by the first tenths of a mile that slope down gently. But when you run loops, of course, you pay for those glorious downhills with the uphills, which are plentiful around this 'hood. So many walk breaks!
It's OK, though, because this 3.36-miler wasn't meant to be anything more than a nostalgia run that also worked out the kinks/rust/dust/mold from a day off and a 4.5-hour drive. In fact, the early rush followed by the quick fade is par for this particular course.
Also par for the course: stops for dogs. It was nice to visit with the belligerent Yorkie and his cheerful master early on; we'd always say hello and maybe comment on the weather when we bumped into each other, maybe weekly, maybe every other week.
The two dogs in a fenced-in yard who liked to run parallel to me while barking at me didn't disappoint. (My human fan, who once asked what I was training for because he always saw me running, at that house was apparently otherwise engaged, however.)
Meanwhile, their neighbors down the street — shih tzus, perhaps? — overachieved, with two dogs barking at me from behind their glass door and a third trotting down his driveway to ferociously lick my sweaty legs and try to follow me home. "Stay!" and "go home!" didn't dissuade him, so I had to walk him into his owner's safe grip.
Bargaining my way over the hills ("you can walk at the top," "if you walk to the bottom you have to run all the way up"). Dodging the handful of pavement trouble spots (one was partially patched!). Talking to dogs. Occasionally smelling roadkill. And not bothering to time myself.
Yep, that's my classic rural Rockton run.