In my abortive attempt at doing a 2007 marathon, I couldn't get past the 8-mile point. In this round of training, I was supposed to run 8 miles last Sunday, but I ended up going only 6.8 because I was on unfamiliar ground, it was dark, my phone was dying, there were threatening signs, blah blah blah excuse-cakes. I had another 8-mile run on my schedule for today. I was nervous. I've run a lot over the last several weeks, but they've mostly been shorter runs of four miles or so. It had been a long time since I'd run 8 miles, but I couldn't put it off any longer, because next week my long run would need to be 10. So it was 8 today or never.
And then I went out and ran 10.6 miles!
Farther than I've run in a year and a half! And what a good route. It hits all four five quadrants of Portland. It crosses the river -- twice, on different bridges. It goes right by Courtney sherwooddotnu's house, Blue lovemotionstory's house, Pioneer Square, Ladd's Addition, the bar where my so-called band played in 2006, and some of my very favorite graffiti. And it ends with an awful, wonderful hill. (Clearly, it's the perfect show-Alex oniugnip-Portland route, which is a good thing because I'm bringing him with me when I run it again next weekend.)
So now I've leaped over the 8-mile barrier, which was really my own mental barrier more than anything. I know I can handle 8 and 10, and the next big challenge won't be until I do 12, three weeks hence. Even better, now I'm filled with fresh Portland-love. Guys, our city is wonderful. It's true, this route doesn't hit every neighborhood worth seeing, but it's really amazing that so many good places fit into one ten-mile loop. And a city this runnable, with multiple pleasant ways to get across the river on foot, is really special.