one of those days.

Saturday morning broke beautiful.

The last remnant of chill in the air vanished with each upward inching of the rising sun.

I expected I might see a couple of members of the team that I'd assembled/conned to run the Laurel Highlands Ultra 70-mile relay in June, but the parking lot at Speedwell Forge County Park was mine all mine.

The phone rang and Kalyn was somewhere other than there but trying desperately to navigate her way there for what would be one of her first ever trail runs. A trooper, she'd signed on for the second leg at Laurel, a 13.1 mile stretch that would be more than double her longest run to date. She wasn't going to manage even a hundred yards today without some on-the-phone assistance, assistance I was more than happy to provide.

A little while later she arrived with her ever present grin and, as it seemed that no one else was going to join us, we were off on our loop.

The track at Speedwell is nice and forgiving, fairly free of rocks and roots and undulating gently with the exception of a couple of short steep sections.  In other words, it's an ideal "course" for a new trail runner to gain confidence and Kalyn made easy work out of our 2+ miles.

I was impressed.

And hungry.

I've developed an addiction to post-run breakfasts, regardless of the time of day.  Coffee, turkey sausage and scrambled eggs over rice with a dollop of soy sauce is my drug of choice and, yes, I like it served best in/on striped mugs/plates situated on birdie place mats.

Go ahead and laugh.  We all have our vices.

With Lily and Piper's birthday party happening the very next day, the rest of the morning was spent securing snacks, paper plates and other kid party essentials.  After returning home and getting Piper Bea down for a nap, Lily and I settled into building goodie bags for the party attendees to take home.

We talked about how tomorrow might turn out and, for the hundredth time, Lily had me go over the list of who might be coming.  I threw in some surprise attendees like Mickey Mouse and the Easter Bunny, but she always called my bluff.  She knew the list already by heart, but liked to hear me say all the names.  How could I not oblige?

Once we completed our task, Lily decided she wanted to watch a movie and offered no resistance when I hinted that I might go for another run.

"Do it, Dad.  Go run," she commanded and, again, how could I not oblige?

I only get so many twofers, so I pulled on shoes and made up my mind to push the pace a bit and decide, as I went, how far to go.  As I've done on the few road runs I've logged as of late, I made a conscious effort to toe-off and make my woeful arches do their part.  With a little luck and a lot more conscious effort, the day may come when those arches and toes work together without my having to specifically ask them to...that'd be a great day.

I ended up putting in a little more than 5.5 miles at somewhere right around 7 minute mile pace and, most importantly, I felt great. I'd been purposely avoiding the road as of late and hoped I didn't regret heading out the door this time.

I didn't.

I spent the afternoon playing, playing and playing some more with the girls.  We rode bikes, slid down slides, swung on the swings, ran, giggled, picked flowers, visited Piper's make believe ice cream shop where she served us grass, tracked ladybugs and played monsters, monsters, monsters!

At some point during all that play, Jefferson sent a text about running on Sunday morning.  I hinted that I was considering running Saturday night and he sent back an enthusiastic "in".  Knowing Lindsay had every intention of hitting the books after the girls went to bed in preparation for an exam on Monday night, my mind was made up.

This monster had signed on for a threefer.

Mole Hill was calling and the legs were still fresh.

The specifics of that night's run matter not at all.  Jefferson and Steve met me at Pumping Station and we tackled Mole before settling into a solid steady pace that allowed for great conversation and a string of shared minutes beneath starry skies and within the warmth of the April darkness.

I'd managed three separate runs covering something in the vicinity of 16 miles while also spending a full day with friends and family.

There are few, far too few, of these days and I'm thankful for every one of them.  May there be more to come.

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