No. None of the above...as it turns out.
I probably shouldn't be surprised that it just snuck up on me like it did.
I was on the Gloucester/Rockport, Massachusetts coast last weekend for a friend's wedding, and I had some time to kill before the late afternoon ceremony on Saturday. Late that morning, I started out on what I figured would be an average 6-miler. The Inn we were staying at was right on the coast, and there was a path between the road and the rocky coastline. I hit the road heading north out of Gloucester and toward Rockport.
The temperature was in the 50's...just cool enough to be wearing long sleeves...and the sky was a sharp blue. Even though I found myself running into a pretty stiff breeze, it didn't seem to bother me. The air was so thick with salt...much more so than what I'm used to experiencing at the beaches in Carolina...and that was the first thing that sort of made me pay attention.
The Gloucester coast is certainly rocky...but as I made my way north into Rockport hugging the coastline all the way...the scenery became much more dramatic. Actually breathtaking, in fact. I traversed the soft white sand and grass of Good Hope Beach, the hard-packed sand of Long Beach, the pebbles of a third unnamed beach and the rocks of the points in between that defined the borders of those incredible coves. They've all been pictured on postcards at some point, I'm sure. Just beautiful! Along the way...the dual lighthouses of Thatcher Island...not more than a mile off the coast...got closer and closer. It was almost as if they were teasing me to keep running...to get as close as I could. Before I knew it...that became my goal.
Three miles turned into four...which turned into five...and I felt like I could go all day!
I eventually found myself in a spot where I could no longer run...only because the terrain was so impossible. My Garmin read 5.0 exactly. There was no more coastline to see. Only a massive acre of rock and low weeds lying in front of me. I took a break...and began to climb up. I would later find out that this was the southern tip of Loblolly Cove...and when I reached the top...the scene in front of me nearly sent me into shock.
The twin lighthouses of Thatcher Island appeared to be no more than several hundred yards away...although they were probably farther...and sea gulls were perched on the rocky surface all around me. Still more were above...screeching and diving toward the Atlantic. A few small fishing boats were anchored in the water between me and those lighthouses, and waves were crashing on the coast maybe 50 feet below me.
I literally had to catch my breath...again. It was just so genuine...serene...spectacular...and completely awesome!
The run back was the easiest 5 miles of my life. The hair on the back of my neck was standing straight up all the way back to the Inn. The air was warming...but I had chills all the way home.
I don't write things like this. Ever. But I decided on the run back into Gloucester that I needed to write something about this run. Not only because of what I had experienced along the way...but because I really felt grateful.
There are moments when I thank God for these legs of mine...that they carry me well and far...and take me to places to show me extraordinary things.
This was one of those moments.