I ran 18 miles today, unassisted. I encouraged myself out the door this morning, carried all of my own water, and did not come home to a “great job” or ice cold water waiting.

I stretched in agony down to my feet to untie my shoes, made my way upstairs for a shower, and sat on the floor to blow dry my hair afterward because I was too tired to stand up.

I grabbed some almonds and waddled to my car to drive to the tree where I ditched my empty water bottle in mile 10. My hydration vest was enough to manage. I didn’t want to bother with taking it off to store the water bottle inside, but in retrospect…

Found the tree. The bottle was exactly where I left it. I saw a sign that I hadn’t noticed earlier, that the area was posted for archery deer hunting. Good thing I didn’t venture too far off the road.

By then I was starving and wanted salt. So I let my car take me to the Taco Bell drive through (which I haven’t done in ages) and brought back a binge-worthy meal as I watched my beloved Redskins lose their grip in the second half – again.

I’m wiped out.

The long run is magnificent. It’s challenging. It’s glorious. It’s brutal at times.

And the recovery isn’t always pretty.

But tomorrow, I’ll be lacing up my shoes again… because it calls to me and I welcome every lesson.

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