In stark contrast to the 4-miler of a week ago, this was almost pure pleasure. Maybe not quite as perfect as Tuesday's 3 miles, but close. As is usually the case, the first three were harder than the last two. This might be purely subjective and even wrong... but it seems to me it takes a good three miles to get my breathing to settle into a pattern that supplies enough oxygen and not causing anymore coughing. Going up the hill during mile 4 today was difficult, of course, but not the worst I've dealt with.
I do think I need to start making sure all my runs end up somewhere positive -- a downhill if possible. After .7 or .8 miles of downhill, I ended the run at my house feeling super! Not too tired, not gasping, just pleasantly tired.
I think for Saturday's planned 8 miles I will again start with the flat 3-mile loop, then head up to the park and around. Maybe I'll even do the sidewalks outside the park, which makes the run about .15 miles more.
Tonight I'm feeling like this whole marathon thing may just actually be possible and not just some unrealistic dream.