10 mi. This was a run John told me about, I looked forward to the change of scenery and the opportunity to play on hills. We met at 4:45am in a park, the only two cars on the scene were ours and Mike Miller’s. I carried a Nathan bottle in a belt mounted strap. This was not an ideal situation. It worked it’s way out and flopped into my waiting hands twice before I decided to run with the bottle in my hands. We ran on a system of paths through the park, popping out right in front of McDonalds “Hamberger University” and HQ. Neat campus, what I could see of it. It was light at a bit after 5am, so the sun was going to make an appearance for sure. Not knowing the terrain, I had a visor and no glasses on in case we had to stare at it while heading back to the park in the final miles. (This didn’t happen.) At 5:30am, we ran towards an abortion clinic. Waiting in front of the building were almost a dozen men and women, Catholic right-to-lifers all standing off the sidewalk praying decades of the Rosary together. I ran through the middle, asking one guy if this was a water stop, hoping to get a laugh or a smile, no luck on this. They show up way before the clinic opens and leave as clients arrive? Doesn’t make sense to me, I’m glad I don’t get this on my weekly long runs! We went into nice neighborhoods, running hills sometimes in the street on blacktop, sometimes on the sidewalks. I remember seeing a few local small churches with very nice architecture, I was surprised these were kind of hidden away in a small suburban neighborhood. On the run, we bantered back and forth, John and Mike sharing stories of runs and races they had done, I offered similar fare about friends and events in Florida. We turned at a halfway point marked by a road with a blinking light. A few dog walkers were out, the first other runners we saw were a faster group once we started heading back towards our start point. I had to use a men’s room again like yesterday, once we got on a straightwaway that John said led me to a McDonalds, I sped up to hopefully make my stop there short and not slow the other two runners’ progress. I timed it perfectly and was back on the run without an interval missed or having them wait for me. We came back through a well shaded road, into a park by a still lake, and up through the beginning of the McDonald’s complex again. Upon finishing in the park where we started, both John and Mike said they had covered the ground perhaps 10 minutes faster than a normal week. They said I helped keep their pace up, but really I didn’t add any zip to their plan, I was a passenger that didn’t know the route and seldom led the run. I had a waiting Kirkland/Costco weightloss chocolate drink in the car, that was good to drink as a protein recovery item. Good run, good company, nice scenic route, all done before 7am. When I got back tot he hosue, I drank another chocolate canned drink for recovery. And hopefully weight gain!