I got up this morning and was still going back and forth and back forth about doing my 20-miler on the treadmill or outside. I even put on my boots and coat and walked out to the main road to see how icy it looked (and to see how cold it really felt out there). The road didn't look too bad so I figured eh... screw the cold. Outside won.
I got bundled up and on my way. It was 7 degrees. The first couple of miles were so crazy stupid windy that I almost turned around and went back to my treadmill. But I am glad that I didn't because it turned out to be a nice run. I ran 10 miles out and back on our highway, and there was very, very little traffic (Sunday mornings in a small town!). The road was dry most of the time, although I ran on packed snow on and off and I had to walk over a couple of small bridges because of ice-skating-rink-like conditions. But other than that, no complaints. The sun was up and out for the second half and at my back and the sky was super blue. It was perfect! I did get a lot of uphill running done. There was over 1000 ft of climb on the 10 miles out. Between that and the wind, it felt awesome to turn around! I did manage to keep just barely over a 10 minute mile pace (and my long run pace is supposed to be 9:40-10:40).
My poor water bottle froze again, and with about five miles left to go I was digging and shaking out HEED slushy from my bottle trying to get some kind of hydration. Does anyone have a water bottle that doesn't freeze???
The craziest thing that happened is this dopey dog ran with me for over 10 miles! Last fall when Jenny and I were running a lot this same dog joined up with us a few times. He lives somewhere a few miles south of us but we don't know where because he is always just running around loose. He is some kind of shepherd mix and is very very cute, but not the smartest creature ever put on the earth. He seems quite young, although he is big. He will come close but won't get within an arm's reach no matter how much I sweet talk him (and he is not interested in my Hammer gels!) so there is no catching him. I have also tried to scare him off but he must know I am harmless because there is just no getting rid of him.
This morning he was standing in the middle of the highway as I came around a corner like he was waiting for me. He literally jumped into the air with joy, bolted at me (luckily I know he is friendly), stopped a few feet away, and then took of running again in the direction I was headed. He stayed about 20-50 feet ahead of me and was constantly looking back to make sure I was still coming. When I stopped to pee quickly at one point he sat and waited. Sheesh! The bad part is that he is SO STUPID about cars... he runs back and forth across the highway and even runs at and in front of the cars. I really think he thought he was protecting me or something. And of course, since he is running just in front of me, all these angry drivers think that he is MY DOG and that I am some dumb runner out with my dog off the leash. Today I wished I had a sign that said, "He's not my dog. He's just an escort I can't get rid of."
I ran over five miles from where he joined me, and then I was at the 10 mile mark so I turned around. When he realized I had turned around he FLEW to catch up and then get his 20 or so feet ahead of me again. Crazy dog. When we got back to the area that he had joined me (at which point he had run with me for over 10 miles) I started yelling at him to go home, and he finally took off up a small side street and didn't rejoin me. I was so afraid that he was going to get hit and I so wish I knew where he lived so I could talk to his owner (he does have a collar on but no tags and he looks very well fed.)
I don't run with a camera or my phone or else I would have taken some pictures.
Anyway, that was my first 20-miler of this marathon training. Two more to go! I got home and had hot chocolate and an ice bath. My inner ankles are a bit sore but not too bad and everything else feels good. It feels great to say I ran 30 miles this weekend. :)
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