Fourteen miles through the old stomping grounds

It’s a foggy Thursday morning as I’m writing to you about Sunday’s run. One day I’ll be prompt enough to get the hang of regular blogging. Maybe. In other news, today is the first day of my little vacation! We are going on a cruise with some friends this weekend and I took an extra day off work before we leave. I went to sleep at 8:45 last night like a 70 year old, so I woke up at 6am feeling very refreshed! It’s sorta nice! I am so lame!

Sunday’s run started with two Reecy miles around the dark and sleepy neighborhood. We took it very easy so I’d have good energy for the rest of the run. 14 miles was a distance PR for me! Yay for training for a new distance, where every week brings a PR! I decided to bring Reecy around for another loop of the neighborhood because we were going so easy and I thought she could do it, but she threw up about half way around. Lol. She’s a big baby! So I cut through the neighborhood to bring her home earlier. She did about 3 miles total. More out of shape than I thought! Poor bb.

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mom lemme go.

Running from my house, down to UCF, around Gemini Drive which circles the campus, and back to my house is 10 miles, so I figured that was a nice brainless route for the day. It’s a pretty nice route and I’ve avoided it since the first time I ran it because school has started, but I was pleasantly surprised to find NOBODY on campus at all! Maybe that has something to do with it being 7am on a Sunday on a college campus, who can say. πŸ™‚

I left my neighborhood and headed south towards the Econ Greenway rather than running on University. The greenway is quieter, prettier, and has 97% less chance of cat calls. I kept a steady pace all the way down to Rouse Road, making a quick pit stop in the YMCA, and then turning north on to Rouse to get up to University. I’ve never run up Rouse before because I always thought it was a little sketchy, but it was surprisingly bright and pasture-lined! White fences, rolling green hills, you know – basically everything my dreams are made of.

Up to University, made another pit stop at a gas station to refill my water bottle. Everyone I met when I asked for water wasΒ sooooo nice to me! Usually you get some sideways glances because you’re breathing heavy and you’re dripping with sweat…it’s not cute. So I hope they all feel blessed this week because Jesus said they would be.

With a climb upΒ Orlando’s only natural hill and across the gigantic Alafaya traffic light, I was in UCF. I saw a runner here or there in the distance, briefly wondered about how fun it would be to have a running buddy, *so lonely* and marveled at a woman pushing a jogging stroller, and then I realized I had some pain in the top of my hamstring. Uh oh. I spent a few minutes being deliberate about my form and my stride hoping that the pain would shake out. It did a bit, but not as much as I’d like, so I stopped in the shade of a huge bush to stretch.

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The Reflection Pond! Many a post-exam nap was taken here.

After a few minutes I moved along, staying conscious of my form – leaning slightly forward so my foot lands underneath me rather than reaching out in front, core pulled in, shoulders relaxed, head and neck not doing anything weird – and it seemed to help my legs relax a bit. I put in my headphones at this point because I was 9 miles in and needed some musical motivation. UCF was a desert land and I didn’t see anyone until I got around to the Arena. I made another pit stop at Dunkin Donuts to refill my water, and again was met with the sweetest girl who asked if I was on a run! Maybe she’s a runner too; I should have asked her to be my best friend.

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UCF Arena on the left, Barnes and Noble to the right (obv) and pretty main street which leads down to the stadium.

Heading away from DD, I changed my plan of running around the campus to running through the campus. It’s been a while and it’s always fun to see the campus when there are no students around, plus new buildings keep popping up out of the ground, like daisies, and I like to keep up with the updates.

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Building where 87% of my classes were held.
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Boardwalk I’ve always loved. Looks creepier than it is.

Happy and full of reminisced memories, I climbed the hill out of UCF and came back down on to University Boulevard. That downhill feels nice on the legs and it’s funΒ to look fast while so many cars are passing! Jus-bein-honest. I thought my run would end up being too short, so I swung to the right and headed towards Matt’s office, which has a cute little lake-side pathway in the back. It’s covered in spongy mulch so I thought it would give my legs a break from the concrete, but it just ended up being more work. It was worth it though because I came across a cute little family going for a Sunday walk, and their little boy shouted at me “IS THIS WHERE YOU EXERCISE???” and everyone laughed. Then I told him I spotted a huge turtle a few yards behind me, and they all got very excited. I hope they found it!

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Creeper smiley eyes, sorry. V tired at this point. Too tired for appropriate smiley eyes.
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Not the same turtle, but maybe they are brothers.

I finally made my way around the lake and headed back home on University. Another water stop in a First Watch cafe, another super sweet girl who gave me a huge glass of ice water. At this point I had about a mile and a half left to run, but I was still 4 miles away from home…nooo! I called Matt twice but he was still asleep. As I kept running I thought about my options…we have some friends nearby who would surely be in church at that time, but if I needed them I would call them. Thankfully I didn’t need to, because Matt woke up and called me riiiight as I hit 14 miles. I told him “I just ran 14 miles, I don’t want to run anymore, can you come pick me up?” And he laughed and said he was on his way. πŸ™‚

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SAW THIS GATOR. ANY TIME YOU SEE A GATOR FROM FAR ABOVE IS A GOOD TIME.

I’m proud of myself for keeping a pretty steady pace throughout the run! Those treadmill miles earlier this week must have taught my legs something. Today I’m thankful for such a good long run, wonderful water angels, and a supportive husband who lets me have this very weird hobby. And I’m happy to say that we made it to church, though we hobbled in 15 minutes late, we still made it!

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