The Universe created the weather today with runners in mind. It was ideal, with overcast skies, a coolish breeze and “just right” temperatures.

I had 10 on my schedule, so I tweaked a 5-miler by adding a new loop and set off, armed with diluted Gatorade and organic energy chews. I got so lost in the run, I hardly noticed the extra baggage.

The first 3, which are usually tough on me, flew by without much to-do. My body seemed to settle in quickly to a comfortable pace and just stayed there. Miles 4 and 5 took me through new territory, so that distracted me for awhile. Tiny white butterflies at the edge of the field played tag with each other alongside me, teasing and encouraging. I smiled a big smile to myself that came up from my feet.

I had company for mile 6 – a shirtless blonde who seemed to know what he was doing and gave me shit for my bright neon pink shirt. “You need a brighter shirt!” he shouted as he passed (with a smile). I chased him as the distance between us grew for about a mile – up two hills – and finally lost him as he turned off in the opposite direction at the top.

I happily set off towards home, feeling energized and confident in the final stretch.

And then…

The ecstasy of mile 8.

I’m in love with the eighth mile. If I could just spend my whole life there, I would surely live happily ever after. The kinks have been worked out, the stresses have melted away, and my body stops working hard and just glides forward and does what it needs to do. My legs are sturdy and strong and ache-free. The eighth mile is to my run what the 40’s are to my Self. I’m more present. I’m focused. I’m done hurting myself. I know I can do it, and I feel GOOD!

I know the short runs serve their purpose, but oh god, the long runs are where my love lies. Especially that mile 8. It charms me every time.

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