Mental toughness day. Showed up at Starkey just after 6:30. Just missed Keith, Jorge, and Bob, but was there just as Eric showed up. It was about 34° with a very light rain. Eric and I got going and my core felt warmed up after 2 miles. It was really pushing it today to wear shorts. Eric turned back after two and I continued on. Ran into Keith, Bob, and Jorge close to the 4 mile point. Talked to them for a few seconds. Keith asked if I had just had some dental work, no, my face was just numb, but I sure must have sounded and looked like I couldn't talk.
Took a gel at 4 miles. The cooler was out of cups so I had to improvise. Went on further and stopped briefly at the 5.5 mile stop and grabbed a paper cup and stuck it in my pocket so I'd have one.
It was quite a peaceful morning, no one else out on the trail at all after seeing my friends. I saw at least 5 deer, and they didn't just dart across the trail. They ran on the trail in front of me and zigzagged for a while. The rain never got bad enough to soak me, it didn't even penetrate my clothing. A few times I would catch the rain with my tongue, and one time I caught a piece of ice!! (that's not supposed to happen here - although I heard that less than 2 hours north of here there was some snow).
Picked it up the last 5 miles, with the final 3 miles faster than 7:00 pace.
Average pace: 7:32
I got back to the parking lot and it was completely empty. First time I have ever seen this. I missed out on the coffe and breakfast breads. After a few minutes, Joe M. pulled into the parking lot. He also had 16 miles to do but had seen no reason not to wait until 9:00 - not a bad idea.