ImageI had the opportunity to go running just after sunset. I had just returned home from a walk with my son. The fireflies were out in large numbers, so we wandered into the yard and took turns catching them by simply placing an open palm in their way. Once they landed briefly and flew off again they avoided you if you used the ruse again, so we got to know quite a few fireflies. I went inside, dressed for the very humid run and went back outside for a stretch. headlamp, water, gel and salt cap. My GPS kicked in and I punched it.

My route was an O&B from Brownsville to Coal Center through California. I felt fresh, if a bit heavy from an enjoyable dinner. I pegged an 8 min/mile pace on the downhills and flats, slowed to 10 min/miles on hills. I was recovering from all sorts of mayhem, as per usual. Right before I ran 40 miles with bronchitis June 14th I’d been cutting my yard and slipped down an embankment with the roaring mower, doing a kind of graceless half split that did something unrealistic to my groin or hamstring, possibly my pectineus, but maybe Dr. Google doesn’t really know. Anyways, it’s been trouble on my stride, but it seemed to be much improved. Groin area hurt no bad today.

It takes three miles to reach the CALU rec complex, another couple miles to reach Coal Center.The run is a river crossing and an assault on a giant hill that swoops back down to the river in California where I turn around at the Boat Club in Coal Center, a little borough just past it which I can access via an old, tiny 19th century iron bridge. I felt good. Instead of going back across the bridge, I laid into another hill to exit Coal Center from a 150 ft. climb, then back through California again. I ate a salt cap and a gel and re-entered California. The sky was flickering with lightning off to the West, but overhead the skies were clear and filled with stars. I took the big hill back up again, my water running low, but I didn’t stop to fill it at a park fountain because I thought I heard the low rumble of thunder. The wind was picking up, and cooler it blew with the scent of rain, still a few miles off. I descended the hill again into a wooded patch of empty road that stretched about a mile.

I kind of like this stretch because I see deer eyes reflected in my lamp often enough to know where to see them. I see a doe and a juvenile, two sets of eyes, a flash of white exclamation points as they turn and charge up a hill. Traffic is light. Actually, I should say that there’s basically no traffic. I live in the country. Traffic is a car. I can say I saw a couple of traffics tonight.

On the descent back into West Brownsville I notice the fireflies are out in swarms to beat the starry sky. The silhouette of one lone tree glimmers with dozens of flashes, a galaxy of insect life mingling against the stellar backdrop. It’s times like these I enjoy most. I drain the rest of my water and increase my cadence for the slightly arched bridge crossing over the wide, black river. A train is thundering along the tracks on the other side. I pass over a mile-long snake filled with coal, hit Market Street and make the half mile, 200 ft. climb back into my neighborhood. I sprint the last block.

A good run of 11 miles, not thinking about anything, head clear, in the moment. I go inside, strip off, shower, have a shake, listen to the rain roll in.

Juneathon 2014 Monthly Miles: 154.5